Food news with Aoife Carrigy
Litfest Fringe events announced
This year's Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine takes place a fortnight from now. While lots of the big-name cooking demos and exclusive suppers are long booked out, there is a host of smaller and fringe events taking place through the action-packed weekend, many of them free and many family-friendly, making it a great option for a follow-your-nose mosy of a Saturday or Sunday.
First stop should be the Big Shed where speciality coffee and food stalls will sustain you through a day of free talks and demos and well into a long night's dancing. The Kerrygold Corner will host cookery demos with Sophie Morris and Imen McDonnell as well as face painting, screen printing and butter making. There's garden and craft stalls too, and free talks on The Big Shed Stage covering everything from food waste stories to the most loved (and hated) cookbooks.
The Garden Tent also has a busy schedule of free talks. Banter is back with a panel discussion on Fire and Smoke (Francis Mallman of Netflix fame will make an appearance) while Jess Murphy (Kai, Galway) and John Farrell, pictured (Luna, 777, etc, Dublin) reveal what it takes to open a restaurant and Seamus Sheridan (Sheridans Cheesemongers), Hilary Quinn (Dublin Doughnut Company) and Sally McKenna (McKenna Guides) predict what's next in food trends after kale and doughnuts.
Broadcaster John Bowman presents a food-focussed Questions and Answers, members of the Irish Food Writers' Guild discuss what they're writing about and why, and there's a panel discussion with members of the Real Bread movement.
The Family Area includes a Food Cycle ExPEArience with Cully & Sully and GIY celebrating the great food cycle from plot to plate and back again, as well as games and craft activities, walks and tours of the gorgeous Ballymaloe gardens.
Bottle of the week
The Liberties Dublin Ale from Five Lamps Brewery, €2.49, 220ml, 4.7pc
As an accessible introduction into hoppy ale styles, this amber ale makes a good start. With its slightly sweet toffee notes on the nose, mild floral hops and crisp character, this offers more balance than edge. A versatile food match from fish and chips to bangers and mash or barbecues.
Klaw's Killer Oysters
It's not everywhere that your waitress arrives table-side brandishing a blow-torch. But at Dublin's Klaw it's de rigueur, at least if you order your oysters torched. As its name and self-described offer of 'crabshack dining' suggests, Klaw do crustaceans such as crab, lobster and crayfish very well indeed. But it's their molluscs that win - and not just in the high drama stakes - with choices of oysters from Galway Bay, Waterford or Dooncastle served naked, dressed or torched. Opt for at least one torched, and choose from killers (Kilpatrick style with bacon) or rockers (Rockefeller style with spinach).
The Happy Pear brothers David and Stephen Flynn have a second cookbook on the way and is now available to pre-order. The World of the Happy Pear is inspired by the Flynn twins' family, friends and the international team at their meat-free, whole-food Greystones café, and will include recipes like Grilled Halloumi Burger with Sweet Chilli Ketchup and a Garlic Tahini Mayo. If you can't wait until it hits the bookshelves on June 2, you can catch the cheery chaps themselves at their upcoming Healthy Eating demo at Cooks Academy, Dublin 2 on May 17. See thehappypear.ie and cooksacademy.com for more info.
The Place to Meet
The buzz around Dublin's Camden Street continues to grow, with a hot new daytime café (Tue-Sat) on Pleasants Street. Meet Me in the Morning is owned by barista Brian O Caoimh, winner of the Irish Brewers' Cup 2015. Brian recently relocated from Paris to open the café, and works closely with local farmers such as Jenny McNally of north county Dublin. The daily menu is designed and cooked by Fiona 'Fink' Hallinan. Breakfast at Meet Me in the Morning might include blood orange granola (pictured left), lunch could be mushroom broth with Portrane kombu, Toonsbridge mozzarella, pea shoots and shallot butter toast, coffee is from roasters such as Hexagon in Paris. What's not to love?