Freshly Blogged

Real Wine Month kicks off in shops and restaurants around Ireland

Real Wine Month celebrates the best of organic and biodynamic wine across the month of May
Real Wine Month celebrates the best of organic and biodynamic wine across the month of May

Spearheaded by Kilkenny’s artisan wine importers Le Caveau, Real Wine Month is bringing together restaurants, wine bars, shops and off licenses around the country in a celebration of all things real wine. Last year’s initiative ran for the month of April and brought together over 50 outlets, the hope for 2015 being that more will be involved by the end of the month.

Officially getting underway today, Real Wine Month runs until 31 May. Those involved this year so far include Ballymaloe House (Cork), Chapter One (Dublin), China Sichuan (Dublin), Whitefriar Grill (Dublin), Cliff House Hotel (Waterford), World Wide Wines (Waterford), La Touche Wines (Wicklow) and more.

Locally to me in Kilkenny, Le Caveau are on board along with Zuni, Anocht at Kilkenny Design, Campagne and The Grapvevine on Rose Inn Street.

Along with outlets promoting wines to their diners and customers, there are demos, tastings and interviews planned with more details going live on realwinemonth.com later today.

What is real wine?

Ask the experts behind the initiative and you’ll be told that real wine is “wine that has been made organically or biodynamically and with minimal intervention in the winery”. We’re talking no chemicals, no secret ingredients, just pure fermented grape juice, lovingly crafted into something beautiful. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

The Kilkenny Roots Festival Breakfast

The 'Brunch' at Matt The Millers in Kilkenny is the perfect tonic for those looking for an all day breakfast at festival time. It's available until 3pm.
The ‘Brunch’ at Matt The Millers in Kilkenny is the perfect tonic for those looking for an all day breakfast at festival time.

There’s a few of us each year that invest time heavily into the Kilkenny Roots Festival programme. For four days over the May Bank Holiday weekend (it concludes tonight, or likely some point very early tomorrow morning) the creme of roots, Americana, country, rockabilly and more descend on Kilkenny where it’s wall-to-wall music from Friday to Monday.

So when you regard breakfast as being the most important meal of the day and you’re facing into four or five gigs as you traverse the Marble City, it stands to reason that you should be aiming high in terms of what you can eat – or how much you can eat. [Read More…]

Good news for The Burren Food Trail

John Sheedy-Sheedy's Restaurant, Birgitta Hedin Curtin-Burren Smokehouse, Jason Horner-Leen Organics and Gerry Sweeney-Burren Seafoods. Photograph by Yvonne Vaughan
John Sheedy-Sheedy’s Restaurant, Birgitta Hedin Curtin-Burren Smokehouse, Jason Horner-Leen Organics and Gerry Sweeney-Burren Seafoods.
Photograph by Yvonne Vaughan

The Burren Food Trail, along with the Wild Atlantic Way So Sligo Food Trail, Cong Food Village and West Waterford have been named as the four Irish finalists for this year’s European Destination of Excellence (EDEN for short) competition. After a period of judging in the next week or so, the overall winner will be announced on Friday 22 May.

It all makes developments happening in the West and North West of the country very exciting.

Launched by the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Burren Ecotourism Network as the Mid West’s first food trail in 2013, the Burren Food Trail is supported by an innovative schedule of food events taking place every Monday from May to October.

Cathleen Connole, owner/ Manager of "Burren Fine Wine and Food". Photo Nic Mac Innes
Cathleen Connole, owner/ Manager of “Burren Fine Wine and Food”. Photo Nic Mac Innes

The events showcase the regions cuisine and provide a unique food experience in the amazing landscape that is the Burren. Members of the Food Trail place an emphasis on the use of local ingredients and are committed to building a sustainable future for the region through food.

Held every two years, EDEN focuses on a different aspect of tourism each time with the winning destination to receive a promotional photo shoot to market itself as well as €5,000 towards highlighting its attractions. The winning entry will also represent Ireland at a ceremony/exhibition in Brussels later this year.

Best of luck to all those behind each of the initiatives in the west, mid-west, north-west and West Waterford.

Superior Then, Superior Now: Smithwick’s Launch Blonde Beer

Enjoying a pint of Smithwick's Blonde at the Kilkenny Roots Festival
Enjoying a pint of Smithwick’s Blonde at the Kilkenny Roots Festival

Just in time for the Kilkenny Roots Festival, Smithwick’s this weekend announced the launch of Smithwick’s Blonde on tap, with bottles also available in select off licenses. The beer is getting its national push through Smithwick’s new Superior Then, Superior Now ad campaign.

Having had a chance to sample it in Kilkenny, I’ve got to say that it’s impressive stuff. As a long time ale drinker and a lover of all things craft beer, the Smithwick’s Blonde is a great marriage of the two.

Like all good speciality beers these days, it comes with its own glass, was served very chilled and it packs a punch in the flavour deparatment, helped on by its Polaris hops.

It’s being pitched as a summer drink so it will be interesting to see if it follows beyond festival season and into the winter.

Smithwick’s Blonde is available on tap and in bottle in selected pubs and off licences (500ml bottles priced at €2.59 RRP. ABV: 4.1%

Update 4 May: Speaking to one publican at the weekend, 3-4 kegs of Blonde were shifted in its first three days. Granted, Smithwick’s sponsor the Roots festival but that’s pretty good going for one local bar in a weekend.

On another note, the odd hosting predicament I put myself in over the last two weeks (with the site being sluggish, missing styles) has been resolved. If there was ever a case for the “shoe makers kids going shoeless” for web developers and bloggers, it’s this.

Tayto Shop Pop Up in Dublin: Tayto Sandwiches To Go

Tayto pop up shop on Wicklow Street, Dublin. Photo: Ken McGuire
Tayto pop up shop on Wicklow Street, Dublin. Photo: Ken McGuire

How this passed me by, I’ll never know, though then again I don’t live in Dublin. If you do, however, get yourself to Wicklow Street and to the Tayto pop up shop that’s open from today for ten days.

We’d just left Cornucopia after breakfast, musing about getting some early Murphy’s Icecream when we happened upon the Tayto shop, not quite open but the doors do open today and will run for the next ten days, ending (for now anyway) on 15 March. Following the opening of a crisp shop in Belfast, I wouldn’t be surprised if it stuck around beyond the 15th. [Read More…]

About Any Given Food

This is an Irish food blog, written by Ken McGuire. I'm a designer, developer, theatremaker, radio presenter, podcaster and more but I absolutey love food - cooking, restaurants, getting out to food events, discovering new food products, meeting food producers, trying new food gadgets and all the rest.

Any Given Food is the chronicle of all of the above. Got something to share? Drop me a line or find me on Twitter.