Events & Festivals

Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

Reminder: Meet The Cheesemakers

A wee reminder that the second Biabeag: Meet The Makers event, this time with a focus on cheese, takes place this coming Saturday from 6pm at Highbank Orchards in Kilkenny. Tickets, available online in advance are only a fiver and if the first event was anything to go by, this should be a cracker.*

On the night you’ll hear from Kilkenny’s Helen Finnegan of Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese along with Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith of St. Tola, who produces an Irish Organic Goat Cheese in Co. Clare. They’ll be joined by Tom Burgess of Coolattin Cheddar, Tom producing a raw milk cheddar in Co. Wicklow.

Stories, samples and real artisan insights await. Book here and have tickets sent to your phone.

*cheese, crackers, get it? I’m here all week…

Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

Blessed Are The Cheese Makers

Blessed are the cheesemakers, or at least they will be come Saturday 5 April for the next installment of Biabeag’s Real Food series of events at Highbank Orchard in Kilkenny. Kick off is 6pm and the event runs around 2 hours or so.

Last time out the focus was on real bread and the night proved a roaring success. You can catch my own post on it here. So who’s involved this time?

St. Tola, Irish Organic Goat Cheese, Co. Clare

This time around, it’s all about cheese. Present on the night will be Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith of St Tola: Irish Organic Goat Cheese in Co. Clare. There’s a lovely writeup in the McKenna’s Guides which goes like ““The West Clare land is reflected in the cheeses,” she said, but it would be more accurate to say that she is able to get the cheeses to reflect the West Clare land, that rainy, boggy, beautiful part of the country. With every piece of St Tola you get stored-up sunshine, and stored-up rainfall, and stored-up nature. The cheeses can seem to taste entirely elemental, for Ms ni Ghairbhith uses organic methods, and doesn’t pasteurise her milk. Nothing gets in the way of bringing grass and nature and naturalness into the cheeses.”

Coolattin Cheddar, Co. Wicklow

Tom Burgess of Coolattin Cheddar (mature raw milk cheddar), Co. Wicklow joins the fold as a producer of mature raw milk cheddar. Tom’s route is ‘pasture to cheddar the same day’ and has been producing top quality milk from his pasture fed cows in Tullow for twenty years. Read more about Tom’s process here.

Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese, Co. Kilkenny

Completing the trio on stage will be Knockdrinna’s Helen Finnegan, based in Stoneyford, Co. Kilkenny. If you’ve never tried any of the Knockdrinna range, start with the Snow and work your way out from there, it’s an ever-present in the fridge at Chez McGuire.

What Happens On The Night

What happens on the night will be anyone’s guess, but you’re going to get to hear the stories behind three passionate food producers and likely get to sample their goods. There’s also a chance to stock up on supplies too, both from the producers and from Highbank who have some kick ass syrups and ciders.

The first night brought such a good buzz about the room at Highbank, the producers lively, engaging and honest in sharing the stories that have got them to where they are today.

If you want to be in the audience for the night, grab a ticket here. They’re only a fiver, are *very* limited, so don’t go leaving things to the last minute to grab a ticket.

In a nutshell: a night of stories and sampling with some of Ireland’s leading cheesemakers, in Kilkenny, for a fiver, on Saturday 5 April. Job done.

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Real Bread In Review: A Real Treat

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HIghbank Organic Orchard Shop

HIghbank Organic Orchard Shop. Highbank Farm was the location for the #realbread event

Saturday night marked the first in a series of Biabeag events, lead by Keith Bohanna, introducing makers from various food production backgrounds. While the likes of icecream, cider, coffee, chocolate and more are planned for the months ahead, the first event was focused entirely on bread, #realbread at that. Continue Reading

Ballymaloe Litfest

Tickets on Sale for Ballymaloe Litfest

TICKETS HAVE started selling for this year’s Ballymaloe Litfest and, if the Twitter is to be believed, they’re flying out the door already.

If that is the case, I’m not surprised. Having gone on sale around 3pm today, the whole event sees Ballymaloe House (and the cookery school) effectively become Ireland’s capital of food for three days with a stellar lineup of speakers, talks, demos, tastings, discussions, fringe events and much more.

The one thing I said I would do more of in 2014 is get out and about to more events and Ballymaloe Litfest was always going to be on the cards.

Last year was the first year of the festival and in scorching sunshine, myself and Mycrofilms‘ Alan Slattery had hit the road for a day’s filming around the grounds of the house, the gardens and The Big Shed, picking up a host of interviews and chats for GIY Ireland, some of which you’ll find in their GrowHQ video below.

I’ve nabbed tickets to one of the Saturday afternoon sessions on food and wine blogging, so far, but there’s so much going on around the aforementioned house, gardens and shed that you could make a day of it no problem, not see an event and still have a blast. Better still if the weather that was there for it last year makes a return this year.

You can check out the full programme here, which includes demos from Ross Lewis, Rachel Allen, Diana Kennedy along with speakers including Colm McCann, Tim Hayward, Daniel Klein, Sally & John McKenna, Nick Strangeway, Leslie Williams, Tomas Clancy, Alys Fowler, Martin Shanahan, Catherine Fulvio, Donal Skehan, Nessa Robbins, Imen McDonnel, Lily Higgins, Darina Allen, Telmo Rodriguez, Tom Doorley and Noma’s René Redzepi.

All the details you’ll need, including ticket sales, can be found at

Missed it last year? Here’s a few photos from The Big Shed at Ballymaloe House that I picked up on the day over last year’s May Bank Holiday weekend. You’ll also find details on more Irish food events and festivals here.

Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair

The Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair Returns

What’s set to be Ireland’s largest celebration of craft beer,  Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair returns to the Convention Centre Dublin on 7-8 February with over 50 breweries from around the world alongside some of Ireland’s best loved artisan food producers. The weekend allows people learn, discover, sample and taste various craft beers, buy up some artisan food products and meet the brewers behind some of your favourite craft tipples.

The Dublin Craft Beer Cup returns as well, the 2013 cup awarded to Lisburn’s Hilden Brewing Company for their Twisted Hop brew, with some 69 medals also awarded to breweries and beers from across the globe. There are also conference sessions planned including one on the pub game which looks at integrating craft beer into your pub, developing a pub audience, solutions to revive the Irish rural pub and more.

There’s also some entertainment planned for the two days with Paddy Casey taking to the stage on the Friday evening.

With craft beer production in Ireland set for a serious rise in 2014, I’d say making way to the CCD for the 7/8 of February should make for a pretty solid night and day out. I’m aiming for the Saturday myself. Anyone else in?

Tickets and Times

Tickets are currently on sale, priced €15 and available from Each ticket includes four free drinks. The Friday session runs from 5pm to 9pm with Saturday open at the CCD from midday to 9pm.

Find more details at or follow @alltechbrews on Twitter and Facebook.

You’ll find more events taking place around the country here too. Don’t forget to submit yours today.

January Food Events

Events: Up To Anything In January?

Christmas looks set to pass me by this year as preparations for the wedding continue (I’m due to be married on 4 January) and as such, I’ve got my eye on set on a few things for the new year. The diaries for 2014 are already getting filled with launches, meetings, interviews and the rest.

The 2014 Events Guide

So, what I want to know is, have you anything planned for 2014 and more pressing, are you up to anything in January? I’m currently compiling the Any Given Food events guide and I’m looking for events, demos, tastings and launches taking place in January.

If you’ve got something to share and would like to be included in the listings, drop me a line here or leave your details in the comments below.

Ready To Submit An Event?

Want to skip emails and comments and get to submitting? Submit your event details here.

Real Bread Makers Ireland

Blessed Are The Breadmakers #realbread

Biabeag (or small food to those of you without the native Irish tongue) is back in business and in January, its author, Keith Bohanna, kicks off a new series of events in Kilkenny based around real food and exploring the stories of passionate makers. It might sound like a mouthful, but Keith and a few others in the wings have assembled an interesting lineup for the first event which takes place on Saturday 25 January, 6pm at Highbank Orchards in Kilkenny.

What Happens On The Night?

Well, you’re going to meet three breadmakers from different parts of the country, each with a story to tell. They’ll share their story in their own words, then a discussion will likely kick off with everyone involved. Oh, and there will be tastings. Sure it wouldn’t be a food event without tastings so you’ll get to sample the produce from each of the makers below.

Meet The Breadmakers

Who’s going to be doing the talking on the night? Here’s who.

Joe Fitzmaurice, Cloughjordan Wood Fired Bakery

Joe comes from the family behind Blazing Salads in Dublin and these days can be found in the Cloughjordan eco-village where he happily shares pictures of his wood fired oven across Twitter.

Declan Ryan, Arbutus Bread

Declan moved from the hotel business into the bread making business in 1999, converting a small two-car garage at the front of his house into a tiny bakery. Drawing heavily from French baking techniques and styles of equipment, Arbutus employs five fulltime bakers and now distributes nationwide.

Josephine Plettenberg, Speltbakers

Jospephine runs Speltbakers, a small bakery producing spelt baquettes, rolls and soda loaves, scones and biscuits out of Gowran, Co. Kilkenny

There’s a small charge of €5 for the event which should run from 6-8pm anyway, again, on Saturday 25 January 2014. Places will be limited and can be booked online here.

Want To Share Your Own Event?

If you’re running your own event in the New Year, I’d love to hear about it. Click here to send in your event details for inclusion in the new food events guide kicking off in 2014.

Cork Christmas Market

Cork Christmas Market 2013

Around this time of year, one of the biggest search terms drawing people to Any Given Food is the Cork Christmas Market. This year, the markets on Grand Parade are part of Glow, A Cork Christmas Celebration.

Market Days

This year the markets run cross four weekends, running 10am to 8pm each day.

  • Thursday 29 November – Sunday 1 December
  • Friday 6 December – Sunday 8 December
  • Friday 13 December – Sunday 15 December
  • Friday 20 December – Monday 23 December

Who’s Going To Be There?

The first year I went down for the Cork Christmas Markets, I must have spent 4 or 5 hours on Grand Parade alone, and it’s very easy to do. There’s plenty of traders around, it’s design and layout works a treat, everyone is up for the conversation and there’s so much to eat, drink, see and sample.

  • Cork Coffee Roasters (Hot Chocolates/Organic & Traditional Teas/Mulled apple Juice)
  • The Crepe Man (Sweet/Savory Crepes & Belgian Waffles)
  • Wok ‘n’ Roll (Currys/Noodles)
  • Hans Frankenfurter (Bratwurst (German Sausage)/Pulled Pork/Currywurst)
  • Pompeii Pizza (Wood fired Pizza)
  • Hammami Kebab Catering (Lebanese Food, Fresh Herb & Spices)
  • Glanmire Ices (Fresh Fish & Chunky Chips)
  • 360 Catering – The Rebel Burger Co (Gourmet Beef Burgers)
  • Bad Boys BBQ (BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich/Hot Dogs/BBQ Beef Burger)
  • Barracuda Barbeque Company (BBQ Local Produce & Roast Herb Potatoes)
  • O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausage Co. (Gourmet Sausage Sandwiches)
  • Choc Amore (Various Chocolate Products)
  • Candy Rock Lane (Traditional Irish Sweets/Jellies/Fudge)
  • Rainbow Delights (Nuts/Fudge/Turkish Delights/Baklava/Pick & Mix/Lollipop)

You’ve got a whole heap of activities taking place as well. This year there’s a ferris wheel, carol singers along with Tír na Nollag taking place in Bishop Lucey Park just up from the parade, transforming into ‘a magical faery village’, open free of charge each weekend from 4 to 8pm. For full details check out

Image credit.

Food Events In December

Food Events This December

December is here. I don’t abide in any way talking about Christmas in November, but once December hits, I’m all over it. Mind you, I’m still not playing any Christmas music on the radio for a few weeks yet.

December brings with it a whole heap of events and mini festivals and if you’ve got anything coming up that you would like to share, pop an email to with your details for an inclusion in the listings.

Here’s some of the events happening this month.

  • 4-8 December: National Craft & Design Fair, RDS, Dublin
  • 5-8 December: A Taste of Roscrea
  • 7-23 December: Christmas Market at Wells House & Gardens, Gorey, Co. Wexford
  • 8 December: Duckett’s Grove Christmas Craft & Food Fair
  • 8-24 December: Christmas at Huntington Castle, Co. Carlow
  • 12-23 December: Dublin Docklands Christmas Festival 2013
  • 13 December: Gorey Christmas Market, Co. Wexford
  • Ongoing: A Very Kilkenny Christmas
  • Ongoing: Winterval
  • Ongoing: Glow, A Cork Christmas Celebration
  • Ongoing to 22 December: Galway Christmas Markets
  • Ongoing:

Selected Food Events & Festivals This November

November Food Events

FOR SOME, the countdown to Christmas is just beginning, but for others, it’s been in the planning since this time last year. While there’s plenty happening around the country in terms of food events and festivals, a lot of the activity sent in so far is coming towards the end of the month as Christmas markets and fairs begin to get underway.

Food Events & Festivals In November

  • 1-30 November: Irish Craft Beer & Food Month at Cornstore Restaurants
  • 9-10 November: A Taste of Louth
  • 16 November: Wicklow Wild Foods Day, Macreddin Village, Aughrim
  • 19 November: Good Food Ireland Annual Conference, Dublin
  • 19 November: 7th Annual Good Food Ireland Awards, post-conference, Dublin
  • 21-24 November: Listowel Food Fair
  • 21-23 November: Belfast Beer & Cider Festival
  • 22-24 November: Christmas Georgian Market at No. 1 Pery Square
  • 22-24 November: Food & Wine Magazine Christmas Show
  • 23-24 November: Food & Design Winter Fair, Belvedere House, Mullingar
  • 22 November – 22 December: Galway Continental Christmas Market at Eyre Square
  • 28 November – 24 December: Christmas at the Milk Market, Limerick
  • 29 November – 1 December: The Lodge at Doonbeg’s Christmas Markets, Co. Clare
  • 29 November – 31 December: Winterval, Ireland’s Christmas Festival, Waterford
  • 30 November – 1 December: A Taste of Carlow at Christmas
  • 30 November: Castlebar Christmas Market
  • Submit your November events here

This event list, along with the master food events list will be updated as more come in so if you’ve got any food events taking place this month that you would like included, pop them into the comments below or drop an email to