The Restaurants Association has changed the name of their former Foodie Town destination initiative, now calling it Foodie Destination 2016.

And while I could survive quite easily without the ‘foodie’ epithet, I greatly appreciate any endeavour that further illustrates the flourishing of food in all its myriad forms across our fair island and further promote food tourism.

Applications are now being accepted until August 11 and must be submitted by a minimum of three organisations (restaurants, businesses or other interested groups) from the town or destination in question along with a €150 application fee.

Following a review of all applications by a panel of experts, 10 finalists will be announced and subsequently visited by Irish food critics, with online voting by the general public also contributing 50% of the overall score before the winner is announced (September 29) in last year’s winning destination, the very wonderful Burren, in Co Clare. www.foodiedestinations.ie 

SAY CHEESE

Cheesemaker Gaby Wieland brings her magic to the Big Smoke with a Make Your Own Fresh Cheese, Yoghurt and Kefir Course (July 23), at Airfield Urban Farm.

Beginning with an explanation of the processes of making your own soft cheeses (quark, cheese in oil, paneer), yoghurt and milk kefir, covering all the techniques and equipment required to make them in your own home, a most wonderful party piece indeed and so very straightforward to boot.

The workshop will then move on to practical sessions allowing all participants to make a herb quark of their own to take home ( www.airfield.ie ).

GUERILLA FARE

Citizens of Leeside seeking a swift libation after work on a Friday could do infinitely worse than pop along to L’Atitude 51 on any Friday during the month of July, between 6-7pm, for their new Guerilla Tastings cocktail hour ( www.latitude51.ie ) and though it is a very casual affair, booking may well be the prudent course (Tel: 021-2390219).

LOBSTER FEST

Suesy Street Restaurant, in Dublin, currently overseen by John Healy, Ireland’s foremost maître d’ and host of TV3’s The Restaurant, are currently in the midst of a splendid inner-city Lobster Fest (until July 23) with four new lobster dishes on offer and being very partial to a spot of the old crustacean, I can think of few finer venues than their outdoor terrace on Fitzwilliam Place, in which to consume the aforementioned along with a glass of prosecco while chef Graeme Dodrill offers a masterclass (today from 12.30-2pm) in the preparation and cooking of fresh Irish lobster ( www.sueseystreet.ie ).

AFTERNOON OFFERINGS

Always fond of a cuppa, ideally made with leaves and served from a good bone china teapot, I notice there are two new afternoon tea offerings with a difference. 

Dublin’s Westbury Hotel are celebrating a creative collaboration with the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) by offering an NCAD-Inspired Afternoon Tea with sumptuous desserts inspired by the creations of some of Ireland’s emerging young fashion designers, studying at the college, with an upgrade to a Dom Perignon Champagne Afternoon Tea also available (www.doylecollection.com/hotels/the-westbury-hotel) and should a body overindulge in the latter then there is always the healing properties of Cork’s Hayfield Manor Hotel Detox Afternoon Tea package to put matters right, Matcha Green Tea, Fresh Fruit Smoothies and Cucumber and Mint Juice ( www.hayfieldmanor.ie ).

TODAY’S SPECIAL

In need of a swift yet substantial snack, I recently happened upon Toons Bridge Dairy Halloumi, made from cow’s milk, and most impressive it was too. 

Sliced into little slabs and dusted in plain flour lightly seasoned with paprika, I sautéed same in butter, the lovely carmelised exterior giving way to a molten lava of melting salty cheese from within, delicious with a fresh green salad and some homemade redcurrant sauce; www.therealoliveco.com 


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