Food news: A west cork welcome
The Taste of West Cork food festival runs from September 9-18 and the organisers have put together an array of 170 events to entice visitors to the region. Thirty-two towns and villages and eight islands from Cork to Castletownbere are participating in the festival, which features a slew of local chefs as well as those from further afield.
The hottest ticket of all is Takashi Miyazaki's dinner at the Riverside Café in Skibbereen on Monday, September 12 - act quickly to see if there are any tickets left. Miyazaki's eponymous restaurant in Cork City serves what is regarded by many (me included) as the best and most authentic Japanese food in Ireland, but its tiny size and counter-seating only means that it's a place from which most customers have to take away.
Other star turns include Derry Clark of L'Ecrivain barbecuing at The Islanders restaurant on Sherkin Island on September 10, followed by a special tasting menu and Irish beverage showcase at The Mews restaurant in Baltimore that evening. Ireland's only Michelin-starred female chef, Danni Barry (above), usually to be found in the kitchen at the glamorous Deane's in Belfast, is at Glebe Gardens in Baltimore on September 13, while Rob Krawczyk of Tankardstown House will be cooking at Levis Corner House in Ballydehob on the 17th.
As well as the feasting, there are talks, seminars, and cookery demonstrations by the likes of Rachel Allen and John Desmond of the Island Cottage on Heir Island. The pot luck Barn Banquet hosted by Brown Envelope Seeds at Turk Head Skibbereen on the 10th is a free event followed by music and dancing, to which those of a musical bent are encouraged to bring their instruments. The festival concludes with a large scale street market in Skibbereen on the 18th.
The Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa located close to Clonakilty is a perfect base from which to explore all that the festival has to offer. The spectacular setting overlooks two Blue Flag beaches and the hotel is offering a two-night stay with a West Cork breakfast each morning and a special 'Taste of West Cork' tasting menu from chef Adam Medcalf in the hotel's Gulfstream Restaurant on Saturday September 10 and 17. The menu will feature the finest ingredients from local producers including Ummera Smokehouse, Clonakilty Black Pudding, Coolcower Meats, and the Real Olive Company. The package costs from €245 per person sharing, with access to the heated seawater therapy pool included. For further details see atasteofwestcork.com, inchydoney island.com
James Whelan Butchers is now stocking Great Taste Award-winning free-range, acorn-fed pork from black Iberico pigs native to Spain and Portugal. The marbling in the meat gives it flavour and tenderness, and both chops and racks are available online. jameswhelanbutchers.com
A winning brew from Eight Degrees
Eight Degrees' Full Irish Single Malt IPA and Knockmealdown Irish Stout have been named the best in Ireland in their categories at the World Beer Awards. They are now shortlisted for the final, with results to be announced on September 23.
River Cottage reading
Gill Meller is the head chef at River Cottage, and publishes his first solo cookbook next month. Gather comprises 120 seasonal recipes - simple, honest dishes made from natural, abundant foods. Meller's food comes with the endorsement of luminaries such as Rene Redzepi, Diana Henry and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Quadrille, £25.