Instead of making do with a quick trip to the garden centre next weekend, The Menu has his heart set on a visit to Bloom (June 2-6), in the Phoenix Park, the country’s largest garden, food and family festival.
Now in its 10th year, the Bord Bia-organised event is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors and the Food Village will host over 100 food and beverage producers, a BBQ area, the GIY zone, and a kitchen stage, and the Bloom Inn will offer a huge range of Irish craft beers and spirits.
The stars will be out in force, including Rory O’Connell and Paul Flynn, while Neven Maguire hosts a five-course dinner on Saturday night. ( www.bloominthepark.com ).
Sheridans Cheesemongers hosts its seventh Irish food festival tomorrow (May 29) at its Virginia Rd HQ, in Meath, also a celebration of the esteemed company’s 21st birthday.
It expects upwards of 80 of Ireland’s finest food and drinks producers along with 7,000-plus visitors to join them to blow out the candles.
Along with a wealth of eating opportunities, there is plenty of family-friendly fun including the chance for children to work with producers making cheese, sausages, chocolate, and butter, as well as meeting some of the animals with a stake in the process, with all proceeds from the workshops going to the BUMBLEance children’s charity ( www.sheridanscheesemongers.com ).
Rod Calder-Potts of Highbank Orchards in Kilkenny leads a guided Blossom Walk (June 4) through the apple trees in aid of Kilkenny/Carlow Home Care Team ( www.highbankorchards.com ), while Ruth Healy hosts a highly practical Beginners Guide to Working with Food, Coffee, and customers course running over three evenings (May 31-June 2) in her wonderful Bandon-based culinary store, Urru.
Many years ago, for some highly convoluted reason, the singer Rebecca Storm wound up with The Menu’s first born adorning her lap for an afternoon so feels compelled to make mention of a dinner-concert option (June 4) at Limerick’s Strand Hotel, with a three-course pre-show dinner and concert with full band coming in at a very tidy €50 pp ( www.strandhotellimerick.ie ).
Finally, garlic-loving gourmands should keep eyes peeled around West Cork for the first of Bryn Perrin’s West Cork garlic scapes, the shoots of the soon-to-be harvested bulbs, for they are most exquisite indeed ( www.westcorkgarlic.com ).
The splendid Heir Island Cottage Restaurant celebrates its 27th year by opening ahead of schedule to offer late lunch on Saturday and Sunday, with the ferry to the island departing Cunnamore Pier at 2pm and lunch itself costing a mere €20, rather a steal for a chance to experience one of Ireland’s great dining experiences.
Then walk it all off traipsing the backroads of this little off-shore heaven in West Cork ( www.islandcottage.com ).
East Cork’s hidden treasure, Ballycotton, hosts another Seafood & Shanty Festival (June 5) including cookery demos, the Wibbly Wobbly circus and other child-friendly entertainment, live music, and boat trips.
The Menu will be hitting his secret stash for a few shells to back his favourite at the Crab Derby ( www.facebook.com/BallycottonSeafoodShantyFestival ).
La Boheme restaurant in Waterford hosts a Rhone Wine Dinner (June 2) in conjunction with Blackwater Gin and Tindal Wine Merchants, with The Menu’s most excellent friend, winemaker and Rhone specialist Simon Tyrrell, introducing a range of Rhone wines to be paired with a menu from chef/proprietor Eric Theze. ( www.labohemerestaurant.ie )
On foot of a wonderful Real Bread Ireland talk in the Garden Tent at last weekend’s Ballymaloe Litfest, The Menu crawled out from the throng, emerging with one of Seagull Bakery supremo Sarah Richards’ Three-Seed Sourdoughs hidden beneath his beard.
That evening he ate it for tea, chewing on toasty crust, savouring nutty seeds and utterly relishing the lightly fermented ‘sourness’ that paired so deliciously with Cuinneog country butter. www.seagullbakery.ie
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