Posts Tagged‘festival’

Toasted Special and a Bowl of Soup in Cleere's

3rd Annual Soup And Sandwich Festival

Toasted Special and a Bowl of Soup in Cleere's

Toasted Special and a Bowl of Soup in Cleere’s, Kilkenny.

OK, so it’s not really a festival (though, I wouldn’t argue against it appearing on the calendar). But, if I’m right, this is the third year that Cleere‘s in Kilkenny will be rocking their awesome soups and sandwiches for the Kilkenny Arts Festival.

It was originally intended as a short-term affair, maybe for a summer. Then it continued through the winter, now three years later, there’s five or six daily soups or stewps (you just have to ask), your choice of any sandwich combination on fresh cut brown or white local breads and now the recent addition of a raw energy salad with chicken for the meat eaters or halloumi for the vegetarians.

No word of a lie, it’s one of my favourite places in town (if not favourite) for the soup and sandwich combo. I may just have to run a tab for the next fortnight.

A sandwich (any bread, any amount of toppings) runs €3.95; similar for the soup, or get the full combo for around €9 with a tea or coffee in the mix as well. Hearty, wholesome, and with the free wifi it’s a grand place to get some afternoon work done at the same time.

If you’re hitting Kilkenny for the Kilkenny Arts Festival, which runs between August 9th and 18th, or if you’re hitting Kilkenny at any time and in the mood for a sandwich, soup or salad and a dose of good pub atmosphere, then make your way to Parliament Street and drop into no. 28. If you’re passing by in the evening, you’ve also the possibility of nabbing a pizza when the sandwiches are off the menu.

Odds are you’ll find me having lunch there most days next week.

Cod on the pan at Taste of Dublin 2013's Electrolux Chefs' Secrets session

13 Photos From Taste Of Dublin

Cod on the pan at Taste of Dublin 2013's Electrolux Chefs' Secrets session

Taste of Dublin 2013 got underway on Thursday at the Iveagh Gardens and myself and Mrs. Any Given Food-to-be had a chance to drop in for the evening session yesterday. I got to cook, we both got soaked, almost lost an umbrella, sampled a variety of dishes, picked up some chocolates, coffees, pastries, an awesome vegetarian dish from Jaipur and generally spent three hours walking around the Iveagh Gardens having a good time of this year’s festival.

The rain didn’t really help the flow of things on the evening, but at least we came prepared for it. It certainly made for easy passage around the tracks in the Iveagh Gardens but meant that any tents with shelter room, particularly around the restaurants area, were jammers.

It was also my first time at the event and, weather aside, it made for a really enjoyable evening. Producers and reps on stands were lovely to talk to, the atmosphere was very much “it’s Friday, let’s party” but if we had stayed any longer, we were in danger of spending a fortune in the place and not getting out of Dublin at all. Here’s a look at some of the evening in photo form… Continue Reading

Taste Of Dublin

Taste Of Dublin Kicks Off Today

Taste Of Dublin

Taste Of Dublin gets underway this evening from 6pm at the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin for four days of food, restaurants, expert demos, cookalongs, tutorials, tastings and the rest.

I’ll be hitting the evening session tomorrow taking in, amongst other things, the Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets area where you’ve got a chance to cook along with difference chefs across the weekend and get one-on-one advice from the experts.

Some of Ireland’s top chefs including Rachel Allen, Derry Clarke, Clodagh McKenna, Kevin Dundon, Nevin Maguire, Ross Lewis and Catherine Fulvio will be taking a leading role on the Electrolux Taste Theatre, giving visitors the chance to garner top hints and tips for the summer season. Patricipating restaurants this year also include Bon Appetit, The Green Hen, Chop House, Pichet, Jaipur, Aniar, Icehouse, Ely, The Hot Stove and more.

Tickets this year are from €23.50 in advance and €28.50 on the door with sessions lasting four hours each (12pm to 4pm in daytime and 5.30pm to 9.30pm in the evening).

While you can pay for your tickets on the door, don’t forget that Taste doesn’t use cash on site, but instead operates on its own currency called Florins. Florins are required to purchase signature dishes from the restaurants, drinks from bars and products from exhibitors. Florins can be purchased online when booking your tickets or at any Florin Banks spread across the Iveagh Gardens. 1 Euro gets you 1 Florin and the average dish at Taste will set you back 5 Florins, or 5 Euro. Servings are tapas sized – enough for you to try more than a few dishes and for chefs to show off their skills.

Taste of Dublin is located in the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin city centre. Access to the gardens is via Clonmel Street just off Harcourt Street. The gardens are a short walk from both Harcourt Street and St Stephens Green Luas stations.

If you spot me pottering around tomorrow evening with the camera, do say hi!

Ballymaloe LitFest

The First Ballymaloe LitFest This Weekend

Ballymaloe LitFest

The first ever literary festival dedicated to the celebration of food and wine, the Ballymaloe LitFest gets itself underway this evening with a whole world of talks, tastings and demos taking place across Saturday, Sunday and Monday in the surrounds of Ballymaloe House.

While I’ve yet to step foot in the place, I managed to cylce past the front door last June Bank Holiday weekend as part of a charity cycle. This weekend, two of us that were on the cycle are heading down, video cameras in tow to catch up with some of the GIY crew and take in some of the inaugural festival.

On that note, if you spot me on Sunday, don’t be afraid to come up and say hello – the cameras won’t be rolling the whole time :)

Speakers across the weekend include the likes of Alys Fowler, Caroline Hennesy, Claus Meyer, Darina Allen, Donal Skehan, Ella McSweeney, John Bowman, John McKenna, Neven Maguire, Suzanne Campbell, Tom Doorley that’s only for starters.

When it comes to the talks, which kick off tomorrow, you can look forward to (grab a printable programme here) sessions on the Nordic Food Revolution, Food Writing For The Digital Generation, Modern Dessert Making, a workshop on self-publishing, Modern Irish Cuisine and more besides.

There’s also cookery events, wine events, workshops and more to look forward to.

The Big Shed too has a host of free events, with a chance to meet and chat to food producers, try wines, craft beers, whiskeys, walks, games and, the more you read, there’s pretty much something for everyone.

So, if you’re down Cork way for the weekend, consider popping along to LitFest, taking in some of the scenery around Shanagarry and soaking up the bank holiday in the People’s Republic.#

Get all the details and directions you need over at

All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off

All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off Beckons This Weekend

All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off

This Sunday in Acton’s Hotel in Kinsale will see Ireland’s top chowder chef crowned as part of the 2013 All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off. The Cook-Off itself brings together 32 chefs, fishermen and some commercial chowder producers together to wear their county colours, represent their own county and bid for the title of Ireland’s best chowder chef.

Chowder dishes are only something I’ve recently warmed too (and if memory serves me right, Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout in Kilkenny brought a cracking chowder dish to FoodCamp in Kilkenny last year) but if you’re a hardcore chowder fan then Kinsale is the place to be this coming weekend.

Last year’s winners – The West Bar in Westport (Co. Mayo) take off this summer to represent Ireland at the Newport, Rhode Island Great Chowder Cook-Off. That same prize is on offer for this year’s winner along with a few other goodies.

The Cook-Off is part of a wider weekend Family Festival running in Kinsale on Saturday and Sunday which sees the town turned into a huge open air market with plenty of activities and food stalls from local businesses and restaurants.

Entry to the Cook-Off itself costs €10 with your ticket getting you samples of all chowders cooked on the Sunday (presuming that’s going to be 32 different chowder dishes to sample). Seen as you’re getting to sample so many, your ticket also makes you a judge for the event with everyone getting a voting card on the way in to score their favourite chowders over the course of two hours. You can grab tickets on the door on the day or in advance from Acton’s Hotel directly.

All the information you’ll need you’ll also find on

Derek Davis at Kinsale Gourmet Festival

Kinsale Prepping For 36th Gourmet Festival

One of my favourite places in Ireland to visit, Kinsale is gearing up to celebrate its 36th Gourmet Festival, which this year will take place from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th October in association with the Kinsale Good Food Circle. The Kinsale Gourmet Festival has established a well-earned reputation over the years for its delicious food and fine wines, and this year promises to once again deliver the finest in food, wines and fun-filled entertainment.

The festival officially kicks off on Friday 12th at 6.30pm at the Trident Hotel, where guests will enjoy a sumptuous West Cork dining experience and Black Tie ball, with popular radio and TV personality Derek Davis acting as Master of Ceremonies. Patrons will be treated to the finest foods from West Cork throughout an eight-course dinner. The food will be accompanied by champagne, and fine wines from the event sponsor Laurent Perrier. Once palates have been satisfied, guests are invited to dance into the small hours.

Tickets for the Festival are now available at varying prices; for the complete line-up and ticket information, visit, or call 021 4773571. Read on for more… Continue Reading

A Taste Of West Cork

Get Ready For A Taste Of West Cork

Summer may be almost over and we may have missed the sun but Skibbereen is beginning to heat up for its premier festival, A Taste of West Cork. Ireland’s longest established food festival which is now in its ninth year runs from September 9-16 with a host of events to suit every taste and budget.

A Taste of West Cork is the best opportunity hundreds of local producers have to get in front of people who are passionate about food. This year’s festival is set to be bigger and better with a real focus on Ireland’s food heritage. Special homage will be paid to the humble spud as the nation’s favourite tuber takes centre stage with a variety of events looking at the importance of the potato in Ireland including a special workshop by Eanna Ni Lamhna.

The ever popular Schools Cookery Competition will see students challenged to create unique dishes centred on the potato while restaurants around Skibbereen also create their own unique ‘spudcentric’ dishes. There will also be numerous workshops, tastings and demonstrations on all elements of international cuisine with the full calendar of events aiding the extension of West Cork’s tourist season.

Among the list of other standout events will be the traditional open air food and craft market with over 100 exhibitors, themed nights in restaurants in Skibbereen and beyond, nutritional workshops, appearances from a host of celebrity chefs, including UK Masterchef winner Tim Anderson, traditional music nights and a special performance from one of Ireland’s best singer/ songwriters, Declan O’Rourke.

This year will also see the return of the very popular Celtic Cook Off at the West Cork Hotel which will see chefs from the six Celtic territories (Scotland, Isle of Man, Ireland, Cornwall, Wales and Brittany) participate in a ‘cook off’ event in front of a live audience, whilst also aiming to impress a panel of judges.

From seminars on food heritage, to food demonstrations and tastings, competitions between the best chefs in Europe and West Cork, and the grand finale of the biggest harvest food and craft market staged in the Fairfield, there will be something to tempt every palette at A Taste of West Cork.

Many events throughout the week are free or minimum charges apply. To view the entire list of events, times and prices check out

Dalkey Lobster Fest

Lobster, Crab And All That Jazz

I seem to have let this one escape me and if it wasn’t for a weekend of theatre ahead, I’d be hopping in the car to Dalkey to check out the inaugural Dalkey Lobster Fest which runs this weekend from Friday through Sunday. I’m a big fan of multidisciplinary and multisensory festivals so the combination of sea food and jazz as an interesting one to me. They’re a full programme of events on the go with a celebrity MasterChef competition whose contestants will face a judging panel o Tom Doorley, Lucinda O’Sullivan and RTE’s Evelyn Cusack. There’s also cookery displays by the town’s chefs alng with music from The Discovery Gospel Choir, Camembert Quartet, Drazan Derk of The Cafe Orchestra, The Guinness Jazz band and more.

BIM will have a lobster educational stand running all weekend while for those entering the sea, the RNLI will also have an education presence at the festival.

“A fusion of local seafood and the best of current global jazz musicans with lots of fun events for all the family to enjoy” is what awaits if you’re up for the spin to Dalkey. We’ve been relatively blessed with the weather the past few days so hopefully it stays just as clear for them.

Find out more on Facebook.

Catherina Fulvio, Derry Clarke, Kevin Dundon and Jamie Oliver

Taste Of Dublin Off And Running

Catherina Fulvio, Derry Clarke, Kevin Dundon and Jamie Oliver

Catherina Fulvio, Derry Clarke, Kevin Dundon and Jamie Oliver pictured at the opening day of Taste Of Dublin 2012 in Iveagh Gardens yesterday.

Yesterday, Taste of Dublin sponsored by Electrolux, Ireland’s most prominent and prestigious food and drink event, kicked off in style at the stunning Iveagh Gardens with the arrival of world-renowned chef Jamie Oliver, who officially launched the four day festival.

Taking to the stage, Jamie wowed the audience as he showcased his culinary talents with a 45 minute live cooking demonstration which also happened to be his first on Irish soil.

Today, Jean Christophe Novelli will perform a cooking demonstration at the Electrolux Taste Theatre. Jean Christophe is a 5 out of 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award-winning chef, who is also dubbed “the nation’s favourite French Chef”. Celebrity chef Valentine Warner will also perform a cooking demonstration today and both chefs will participate at the Chef’s Table, where visitors will have a chance to get up close and personal with the chefs, asking these culinary experts everything from how to ‘grow your own’, how to ‘host the perfect dinner party’, and also discuss new business ideas in the foodie world.

Food fanatics will be blown away from the moment they step into the food and drink haven over the weekend. Visitors can look forward to delightful dining opportunities from some of Ireland’s leading restaurants, enjoy high calibre wine and beer tastings, learn from the best home grown and international talents at live chef demonstrations, take part in interactive masterclasses and meet with over 100 industry experts and Taste exhibitors. Each attraction will showcase the stars of the Irish food industry who will be championing the very best of locally sourced Irish produce and building on Ireland’s strong reputation amongst the international culinary scene.

Tickets for the weekend are available at the box office at the front entrance to Taste, advance booking is available from or by calling 0818 300030 up to 5pm the day before.

Love Gourmet Week 2012 Launched

Limerick’s phenomenally successful, ‘Love Gourmet Week’ celebrating local produce and organic food will take place between June 1st – June 10th 2012 it was announced last Friday evening at an exclusive pop-up restaurant event at the Hunt Museum.

Love Gourmet Week 2012 was launched at Limerick’s iconic Hunt Museum at an exclusive gourmet evening which was jointly catered by the best restaurants in the region, and supported by our leading producers and suppliers in the Mid-West.

Guests could explore the Hunt Collection and the current Ranks Flour Mill exhibition for a fascinating insight into the mills and silos that dominated the local skyline for over fifty years, before ascending to The Captain’s Room for a gourmet feast which was jointly catered by the participating ten restaurants in Love Gourmet Week in ‘pop-up’ restaurant style at this very grand venue.
The launch was a tribute to the many producers and suppliers in the region whose hard work and dedication raises the bar of the local dining experience helping to promote Limerick and the Shannon Region as a culinary destination.

Following the first course, guests were treated to a surprise performance by actor John Anthony Murphy who plays the lead role in the Belltable’s upcoming production of the widely acclaimed ‘Pigtown’ by Limerick playwright Mike Finn which opens on June 7th during Love Gourmet Week 2012. Limerick’s historic great bacon factories of the 19th century and early 20th century were also referenced in the table names for the launch event, which were named after each of Matterson, Shaw, Denny and O’Mara.

For LGW2012, eleven of the best restaurants in Limerick and the Shannon region will offer an outstanding dining experience at exceptional prices. The ethos of the event will again be a celebration of local produce, great Irish food and organic produce.

Superb menus priced from €35 per person will offer outstanding value for unique culinary specials with locally sourced produce during the ten day event. As part of Love Gourmet Week, midweek promotions will take place in all participating restaurants with wine deals, cocktail specials and unique seasonal menus on offer to celebrate the event.

Every evening, diners will be presented with a special “Love Gourmet Week” menu featuring locally produced top quality gourmet specials to choose from.

Padraic Frawley, chairperson of Love Gourmet Week said the event will once again raise the food profile of the Mid-West, local producers and enhance Limerick’s reputation as a “foodie hub”.

“Limerick and the Shannon Region have some fantastic restaurants with quality food, wine and great dining options to choose from so we’re hoping to attract new visitors and foodies through Love Gourmet Week again this year, following on from last’s year’s success,” said Padraic. “We’re very excited about this initiative as it’s a chance for diners to get a wonderful fine dining experience at an incredible price and it helps promote Limerick and the Shannon Region as a culinary destination.”

Hotelier Patricia Roberts, Love Gourmet Week 2012 participant, explained that restaurants will use fresh local and organic food wherever possible in menus throughout the June event.

“We have some fantastic suppliers in the Mid-West and we are blessed that we can offer such high quality locally reared foods, we’ll be using what’s grown in our own kitchen garden in No1 Pery Square,” she said. “We’re delighted to be taking part in Love Gourmet Week 2012 and we would encourage the public to support and enjoy the superb local fare that will be offer throughout the Mid-West during the week.”

Restaurants taking part in Love Gourmet Week include: The Carriagehouse at Adare Manor, Azur; The Cornstore; Hamptons; Market Square Brasserie at The Savoy; The Mustard Seed, The River Bistro; The Cherry Tree; Brasserie One at No1 Pery Square; The River Restaurant at the Strand Hotel; and the Absolute Bar & Grill at the Absolute Hotel.

Irish Rail is also running a Love Gourmet Week special extending its current online seat sale of one way fares between Dublin and Limerick from €14.99 on all train services between Limerick and Dublin in both directions during the event. Customers need to book at least 3 days in advance of travel. This is exceptional value for people who want to sample the culinary delights of Limerick and overnight in any of the excellent city centre hotels during Love Gourmet Week. Train tickets can be booked up to 28 days in advance of travel.

Pre-booking is advisable in all restaurants and full details are available on