Food news: Hot stuff in the food world
Cooking with fire is still hot, hot, hot. Argentinian chef and Chef's Table star Francis Mallman's 12-hour demonstration was the hands-down highlight of last month's Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest love-in. Meanwhile, John Relihan of Cork's pit-smoked barbecue restaurant, Holy Smoke (right), is one of Fáilte Ireland's latest Food Champions - joining an eclectic bunch that includes Gabriel Faherty of Inis Mór's Aran Islands Goat's Cheese and Niall Sabongi of Temple Bar's Klaw.
If you missed the chance to brush up on your barbecue skills with Kevin Dundon at last weekend's Taste of Dublin, you could check out grillacademy.ie to catch a Weber barbecue class near you, or get hands on at Dublin Cookery School with their upcoming barbecue class on July 9 (dublincookeryschool.ie). Or, to really take it to the next level, you could invest in your very own wood-fired oven: the importers of the 'Baby Valoriani' are promising that it is well able for the Irish weather. Check it out on the shop floor at Avoca Kilmacanogue and Rathcoole or online at woodfireland.ie.
Earlier this month, the cream of Irish chefs were back at Ballymaloe House for the 12th annual Euro-Toques EirGrid Food Awards which celebrate the best of Ireland's unique food producers (euro-toques.ie). Special attention was given to the struggling category of free range pork, with both Pigs on the Green, Co Offaly, and Andarl Farm, Co Mayo, being honoured. Raw milk cheese was also highlighted with an award to Cloonconra Cheese, Co Roscommon, and the emerging category of Irish Sheep's Milk was recognised with an award to Mayo's Velvet Cloud Cheese.
Meanwhile, the ever-influential if increasingly controversial World's 50 Best Restaurants list was recently announced (theworlds50best.com). The awards have become something of a pass-the-parcel between Noma in Copenhagen and El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, so it was refreshing to see dynamic Italian chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana claim the top spot. Another familiar face to Chef's Table fans, Bottura has also won respect for his recently launched Food for Soul project, which aims to repeat the success of the Refettorio Ambrosiano soup kitchen he ran at last year's Milan Expo where he transformed food waste into a nourishing and delicious feed for the needy.
Dungarvan Brewing Company's limited edition Seaweed Saison is a thrill-seeker's treat, running the gamut from baked banana aromas to crisp and dry hoppiness to its distinctive salty finish (that'd be the dillisk). Perfect with salt and pepper calamari. 6.5pc ABV, €4.50 for 500ml.
If you love a good G&T, today is your day - literally, being the last day of the Irish Gin & Tonic Fest. Check out greatirishbeverages.com to see what clever take on this classic tipple is being served at over 100 participating bars nationwide.
No Ordinary Cookbook
It's hard to conceive an original idea for the over-saturated cookbook market so kudos to Sharon Hearne-Smith for her No-Cook Cookbook (Quercus, £20), a new-born sibling to 2014's No-Bake Baking. Deliciously original and not a gas mark in sight.