There is activity in abundance in the sunny south-east, beginning with the Waterford Harvest Festival (Sept 11-13, www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie ).
The packed and family-friendly programme includes: the annual festival market and Viking Rocks Craft Beerfest along with all the usual culinary demos and talks, but in addition The Menu is greatly taken with an event celebrating Waterford’s medieval history as the wine capital of Ireland.
This Franco-Hibernian link continues to the present day with three locally-based French chefs all featuring in the splendid Eat Waterford collaboration, celebrating the produce of the area.
Eric Theze (La Boheme), Arnaud Mary (L’Atmosphere), and Jean Bapiste Dubois (Athenaeum House Hotel), will be joined by Paul Power (Bellissimo) and Daithi Larkin (Loko) to provide a fine five-courser.
GIY GROW FEST
Very closely aligned with the Harvest festival is GIY Grow Fest 2015 (Sept 11-13, www.giyinternational.org/grow_fest ). Guests include investigative food journalist/writer Joanna Blythman, as well as gardening writer/broadcaster Alys Fowler. Topical debates include the issue of hospital food and a Lovely Vegetable Competition.
The GROW HQ kitchen features siblings Darina Allen and Rory O’Connell and Lilly Higgins, while a very special GIY Market Feast is a collaboration between one of Ireland’s finest growers, Dermot Carey, and local restaurant MOMO.
The Menu will then head for Carlow for an especially soil-focussed Blackstairs Eco Trails’ Wild Food Summer School (Sept 11-13), particularly appropriate in this International Year of the Soil.
A very child-friendly programme of events includes foraging, cookery events, talks, workshops and a wild foods and craft beer pairing with Seamus O’Hara (Carlow Brewing Company).
FLAVOUR OF KILLORGLIN
The very lovely town of Killorglin, in Co Kerry, hosts Flavour of Killorglin (Sept 11-13) with the wide-ranging programme including an intriguing event that sees local chefs partnered with non-professional partners including TD Michael Healy Rae and Radio Kerry broadcaster Weeshie Fogerty ( www.flavourofkillorglin.com ).
Two of Ireland’s finest chefs, Waterford men, Paul Flynn and Michael Quinn, pool 50 years of combined culinary expertise for an intensive three-day course (Sept 14-16) at the Tannery Cookery School aimed at proficient cooks aiming for the next level or those contemplating entering the professional arena. www.tannery.ie
With dairy farmers encountering plummeting market prices for their milk, any example of a value-added product, thereby further benefitting the more usually shortchanged primary producer —the farmer — has to be celebrated.
So it was that The Menu found himself slathering great dollops of Cuinneog’s Fermented Double Cream, rich, thick and sweet with a lilting lactic kick, on to a simple oatcake with homemade blackberry and apple jam, creating a stunning dessert fit for the most elevated palate in the land.
Fear not, The Menu shall not dedicate next week’s column to hymning the praises of Cuinneog natural buttermilk, though he well could! www.cuinneog.com
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