The Menu: Taste of West Cork

Before the begrudgers let rip with a broadside, implying The Menu’s life is one long holiday, The Menu would like to point out his current sojourn in West Cork is strictly research — for his return in September to one of the nation’s longest running food festivals, A Taste of West Cork, Sept 10-16.

While The Menu believes West Cork to be a permanent festival, most especially of food, on any given day of the year, he will be making every effort to return for the Skibbereen-based smorgasbord of events and activities designed to showcase some of the most magnificent produce available anywhere on the planet.

Along with several events taking place at the beautiful Liss Ard Estate just outside town (including a Forage and Find Your Own Dinner workshop), an Orchard Picnic with music at the Gortnaclohy Community Orchard sounds like a lovely way to celebrate our splendid native fruits (another crop to have taken a hammering during this monsoon of a summer and needing all the support the Irish consumer can manage).

But The Menu will have ringside seats and his custom-designed, over-sized Greedy Plate© to hand for the Celtic Cook-Off in which star chefs from the Celtic Nations compete against each other for top prize with The Menu on hand to snaffle up a sample of each dish.

There was much mourning Chez Menu on hearing Irish entrant and Menu favourite Paul Flynn had to drop out but tears were swiftly mopped up on hearing his replacement is to be the much-renowned Gary O’Hanlon of Viewmount House, in Co Longford, a venue long targeted by The Menu as a potential culinary conquest.

Wine tasting

A great man for the vino with his vittles, The Menu eagerly anticipates an upcoming wine tasting at L’Atitude 51, in Cork, on Aug 22 at 6pm, when Yves Orliac, of Domaine de L’Hortus, will be pairing excellent wines with delightful bites from the wine bar’s Franco/Italo/Hiberno-influenced menu. 021-2390219, or email

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The Menu was most intrigued by the arrival of a parcel from the esteemed Flahavans, purveyors of fine oats and directly responsible for the evolution of The Menu into the fine broth of a boy he is today, their renowned and iconic product producing the porridge that sustained our hero through many a long morning.

The Menu was further intrigued to learn the boys in the Kilmacthomas lab in West Waterford had been up to all sorts of oat-related shenanigans, producing flapjacks and a range of oats designed to be cooked in some class of device known as a microwave, apparently all the rage these days but as yet unfamiliar to The Menu.

But when all was said and done, The Menu had eyes only for the organic porridge oats for in some things he remains an arch-traditionalist.

Nutty oat flakes yielding a rich, creamy porridge yet retaining a most toothsome bite, Goldilocks would have battered the bears senseless for a bowl of the same fine foodstuff.

Contact Joe McNamee at


St Peter’s Honey Porter 4.5%abv €3.49

It’s great fun to compare alternative versions of a beer style — in this instance, stouts and porters in their handsome retro-style bottles made by St Peter’s which was founded in Bungay, Suffolk in 1996 by marketing genius John Matthew Murphy.

When they say honey they mean it: the crisp refreshing ale is choc-a-bloc with musky dark honeycomb.

Not for everyone, but I love it as a one-off.

You might prefer the light Old Style Porter or, better again, strong (6.5%) but beautifully-balanced Cream Stout which boasts the finest, most sustained tawny head of all.

They’re three for €10 at Galvins, Bandon Road, Cork, and other good beer retailers also stock the range. Blake Creedon


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