News: Foodie & soul
The Body & Soul festival - which celebrates the summer solstice and takes place at Ballinlough Castle in Clonmellon, Co Westmeath, over the weekend of June 22-24 - is known for having a food offering that's a cut above some other festivals.
This year, the focus is on artisan producers, creating social change around sustainability and offering festival-goers something different.
The idea for the 'Food on Board' area comes the chef-owner of Cork-based Rocket Man Food Co, Jack Crotty. He aims to use the festival's food area to highlight food waste at festivals, while at the same time providing beautifully produced organic fare.
Each vendor brings their own unique style of cooking to the space, providing high-quality food made with organically sourced ingredients and zero packaging. All the food is served on 800 handmade wooden boards, which will be washed and recycled throughout the weekend, and single-use plastics are banned. There is also a biodigester (supported by Harp Renewables) which chews up any food waste and converts it into compost.
Among the vendors taking part this year are Katie Jane Sanderson of White Mausu, Root & Branch Coffee Roasters, My Goodness, The Market Kitchen, Broughgammon Farm, Scéal Bakery and Julia's Lobster Truck. The 'Food on Board' area is designed to be an aesthetically pleasing space where people can congregate to break bread.
Jack Crotty says that he got involved with Body & Soul because he felt that its standard of food offering outweighed any other festival he had ever worked at.
"I have served properly sourced, good-quality fast food for years, and many times at festivals," he says. "It boggled me how poor the quality was and how inconsiderate it can be in relation to its ecological footprint."
At the festival's core is the message of sustainability, and 'Food on Board' is one way it demonstrates its commitment to raising awareness among festival-goers and workers to create social change.
Outside of the 'Food on Board' area, all other food traders have been specially selected to provide food that is good for body and soul, in keeping with the ethos of the festival. The focus is on artisan producers, and the food errs on the healthy side, with traders asked to commit to practices of sustainability when they work at the festival. See bodyandsoul.ie
WEST CORK GOES NUTS
Robbie Krawczyk's long-awaited return to West Cork was realised with the opening of his Restaurant Chestnut in Ballydehob this month, serving dinner Wednesday to Saturday, and Sunday lunch. Walk-ins are welcome at the bar for small plates and a glass of wine; restaurantchestnutwestcork.ie
Two layers of almond shortbread biscuit filled and topped with either marshmallow or cream cheese filling and decorated with fresh fruit, flowers, marshmallows and meringue kisses… If you have a celebration coming up these lovely-looking cakes might be just the ticket. See delishmelish.com
Green & Black's new bitesize offering, Velvet Fruit, offers a bite of real fruit - raspberry, orange or blueberry - coated in dark chocolate. Made with ethically sourced cocoa, the 120g bags are priced at €4 and met with an 'outstanding' consumer response in testing, according to the brand.