The promotion of local maritime activity as part of the Ocean to City: Cork Harbour Festival (May 30-June 6) is heartening, with one event especially catching The Menu’s attention, Boats & Bites: Boating & Seafood Tasters (June 3, 6pm-8.30pm).
Taking place within the fabulous Port of Cork HQ, there will be an opportunity to take a short, supervised trip onto the water, but of equal appeal to The Menu is the Bites Sea Food Market, a truly excellent offering of superb Irish seafood, with McNamara’s grilled lobster, Ballycotton grilled mackerel, La Cocina paella, Harty’s Dungarvan Bay oysters, Rocketman’s salad and ceviche bar, Silver Darlings marinated and pickled herrings, and Volcano Pizza’s seafood specials. The Menu shall be dining thusly. www.oceantocity.com
Festival fever is underway and this weekend it’s the turn of the sixth annual Sheridans’ Irish Food Festival (May 24), tomorrow, at the renowned cheesemonger’s, Virginia Road Station HQ, in Co Meath, as part of the summer-long Boyne Valley Food Series. A celebration of Irish food, there will be 90 stalls, all manned by the producers, so it’s a chance to get up close and personal with some of Ireland’s true food stars. There will be a mighty range of produce, including: farmhouse cheeses, home-baked desserts, wild food preserves, locally milled flours, cured meats and local vegetables.
A family-friendly event, there will be free children’s entertainment, and workshops, talks and demos to occupy adult minds, including the popular Wild & Foraged Food Walk, hosted by Loam chef/proprietor Enda McEvoy, a wine-tasting with Enrico Fantasia, while RTÉ’s Ella McSweeney and Chapter One chef, Cathal Leonard, judge the National Irish Brown Bread Competition in the Brown Bread Tent. New this year is Guth Gafa Bites, three short film programmes in the Cinemobile, and A Celebration of Irish Dairy workshop tent, covering cow, goat and sheep milk, and including cheese-making workshops for adults and children, butter and yoghurt making and raw-milk tastings. Entry is €5 per car, but free to those arriving on bike or foot. Ticketed events: €5. Children’s workshop: free www.sheridanscheesemongers.com
Also taking place in the Phoenix Park (until Monday, June 1) this weekend is Bord Bia’s Bloom, the humongous family-friendly gardening event with a strong food presence, including 120 Irish food producers and 30 show gardens (www.bloominthepark.com). Finally, a quick mention for The Art of Food (until May 30), a lovely little food-themed exhibition of paintings and drawings in Cork’s Lavit Gallery, including some enticing jams as painted by one of The Menu’s favourite artists, Katherine Boucher Beug. www.lavitgallery.com
The Menu returned from yet another magnificent Ballymaloe Litfest, intellectually invigorated, but a tad chastened around the innards and, so, the following morning, feared consumption of anything stronger than an infant’s teardrop would likely see him off altogether. Thankfully, a single origin Brazil Ipanema Catuai, from Waterford company Ponticelli’s Coffee House Lane range, did the trick: a gentle, mellow roast with a mild acidity, malty, ever so slightly burnt chocolate and caramel notes and a lovely, full mouth-feel proving a most splendid, yet soothing, restorative www.ponticelli.ie
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