The Menu: Asparagus feast in Pilgrim's Restaurant, Cork

The Menu wrestled with his conscience as he was dearly tempted not to advertise at all a Slow food West Cork dinner (April 27) in Pilgrim’s Restaurant, in Rosscarbery, and instead snaffle up the tickets himself, for it is an asparagus feast, a tasting menu based around the sublime green spear, which is just now coming into season.

Furthermore, the asparagus for this dinner is the produce of one of Ireland’s best growers, Tim York, of Lisheen Organics and, when you place Tim’s exquisite produce in the hands of Pilgrims’ chef Mark Jennings, The Menu anticipates one of the most wondrous eating experiences to be had this year or any other, as Jennings and his partner Sarah-Jane Pearce run a superb establishment and it took only a single meal for it to be installed as one of The Menu’s favourite new restaurants. (Booking essential: 023-8831796 or contact.pilgrims@gmail.com )

STREET FOOD FEST

The lovely seaside town of Kinsale is a most pleasant place to be, but this weekend is an especially good time to visit as the Taste the Wild Atlantic Way Street Food Festival (April 23-24) sees the town’s streets and quays transformed into a bustling food market with live music. Local businesses are also getting in on the act, offering samples and food to take home for under €5. 

Sunday (April 24) sees the 6th running of the All-Ireland Chowder Cook Off, hosted by the town’s Good Food Circle, an association of local restaurants and features professional chefs from 30 restaurants around Ireland and the eventual winner will represent the country as guest chef in Newport, Rhode Island. A €15 ticket entitles punters to sample each entry and then vote for the winner.

( www.kinsalerestaurants.com )

BEST IN SHOW

The call has gone out across the land for food producers to submit their entries for the 2016 Blás na hÉireann Irish Food Awards, with the awards ceremony itself to take place at the very splendid Dingle Food Festival, in October. 

Now in its ninth year, the ever-expanding festival received more than 2,500 entries last year and this year entries will be received until June 17 (early bird entries close on April 30). www.irishfoodawards.com 

DOUBLE HELPING

News from two of The Menu’s most favourite local independent food and wine retailers: O’Driscolls’, in Ballinlough, are hosting Taste of Summer (April 30), between 1-4pm, offering tastings of BBQ meats prepared by their in-house butchers, Wexford strawberries and cream, wines from their very commendable selection and gardening expert Pat Tuite will also be available to answer horticultural queries. 

Bradley’s, on Cork’s North Main Street, are in the throes of promoting their Real Wine (organic, biodynamic and with minimal interference during production) Month, with over 30 wines on offer. ( www.bradleysofflicence.ie )

TODAY’S SPECIAL

The latest brilliant star in The Menu’s culinary firmament is Cavanbert, a raw milk cheese.

Created by the incomparable Silke Cropp, of Corleggy Cheeses, a legend in the Irish cheese world, an element of tongue may be lurking in the cheek region when it comes to the naming, but the cheese itself knocks the socks off pretty much most of the commercial camemberts and, while the little wheel The Menu picked up in Dungarvan recently was perhaps a tad too young to collapse into the class of primordial ooze that causes him to swoon in ecstasy, the grace notes were all present and correct: A salty sweetness and a high, sharp lactic bite that had him, well, to be perfectly honest, swooning in ecstasy. ( www.corleggycheeses.ie )


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