This year’s Macroom Food Festival (Sept 23-25) sets out under the thematic heading of ‘Blás na hÁite’, which is as it should be for the lovely Cork town and its glorious hinterland, heaving with some very fine producers, farmers, and growers, many of them great favourites of The Menu.
Events include a Real Bread Ireland demo of the ongoing Sourdough September campaign with chef/baker Eoin Jenkinson of Left Bank, in Kilkenny; Jack Buckley, of The Castle in Macroom; and The Menu there to chivvy things along and hoover up any spare crusts.
A trio of superb Cork roasters — Golden Bean, Badger & Dodo, and West Cork Coffee, gather for a cupping session, and a local cheese expo features the legendary Coolea Cheese, Sunview Goat’s Cheese, and Toonsbridge Dairy.
The Menu will also be hosting what promises to be a lively panel discussion with Cafe Paradiso chef/proprietor Denis Cotter, renowned North Cork butcher Jack McCarthy, independent dairy farmer and market stalwart Ned McCarthy, and one of Ireland’s very finest growers and backbone of Cork city’s Coal Quay market, Caroline Robinson, all taking place in the Food Producer Expo in the Town Hall (Sept 25). www.macroomfoodfestival.com
The prospect of once more traversing the Conor Pass may have the Bould Neidín shuddering in the stable but his rewards will be manifold if he again delivers The Menu to the Dingle Food Festival (Sept 30-Oct 2), one of his essential annual outings and more of which he shall cover in coming weeks. But he felt it incumbent on him to give his readers fair warning of one exceptional event bound to sell out in jig time.
Kevin Murphy, chef/proprietor of Idá’s, one of The Menu’s most favourite restaurants, is putting together a special event as part of the festival, a tasting menu where each course is not only paired with a wine from the splendid Le Caveau wines in Kilkenny, but is further enhanced with specially chosen music selected by Dublin DJ John Casey of Near FM.
Pop up to Belfast
If Neidín is fretting about his trip to Dingle, then he’ll surely succumb to an attack of the vapours on learning of a trip North to the very tippy-top of this wonderful green island to yet another wonderful establishment.
This time it’s to Ox Belfast for a collaborative pop-up (Sept 27-28) with The Dead Rabbit, fellow Belfast boys based in New York and winner of World’s Best Bar at the 2015 Tales of the Cocktail. The two nights offer a not remotely dry run for the real thing in New York city later this year. www.oxbelfast.com
Steven Lamb and Tim Maddams from Channel 4’s hit series River Cottage host a residential cookery course (Sept 24-25) at Croan Cottages culinary in south Kilkenny, a series of hands-on workshops covering the use of local seasonal produce, with full board all part of the package. www.croancottages.com
At the tail end of a recent and rather enormous multi-course meal, even The Menu himself blanched at further consumption, spurning all offers.
Digestifs, coffees, a thimbleful of oxygen? No, he was having none until persuaded to take a single sip of Mint & Bladderwrack Tea, from Zita Dennehy’s Wild Atlantic Way Products.
Now, The Menu is all about the vegetal ‘fruits of the sea’ but nothing prepared him for a sip of this cooling, enervating nectar, deliciously fresh high notes of mint, and a mere suggestion of bladderwrack to add discreet body.
Before he knew it, the entire pot was gone and he was up dancing on the tables once more, working off a little of that dinner the better to perhaps revisit the cheese board later on in the evening. facebook.com/ WildAtlanticWayProducts
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