Food file: the hunt for the producer of the best steak and Easter treats

Marie-Claire Digby with this week's food news


Who produces the best steaks – Ireland, the US, Spain, Hungary or Australia? The Butcher Grill is putting them all to the test in a beef world cup on their premises in Ranelagh, Dublin 6, between March 2nd and May 4th. The head chef at Butcher Grill is Atish Bhuruth.

The steaks being put to the test by diners will be Irish grass-fed Hereford; US grain-fed Black Angus; Spanish mature Galician beef from retired dairy cows (popularised by Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken in Sweden and more recently drawing diners to Kitty Fisher's in London); Hungarian grass-fed Holstein, and Australian grain-fed Black Angus.

The dates are March 2nd (Ireland vs US), April 6th (Spain vs Hungary), May 4th (Ireland vs Australia). Tickets at €69 will include starters, side dishes, desserts, as well as a main course including cuts of both beef choices. Reservations are being taken by email at or by phone on 01-4981805



Arun Kapil of Green Saffron (above) is on a mission to convert the French to the spicier side of life. Last year his Indian sauces and spice mixes went on sale in 127 Monoprix stores, and in May they launch in Carrefour.

From his base in Midleton, Co Cork, he also supplies spices to several restaurants in Paris. One of these, Alcazar in St Germain des Près, will host a three-week Green Saffron pop-up, from April 26th to May 14th. Kapil has created the menu – “a list of plates I’ve devised celebrating my Indian heritage, British roots and Irish home” – and it will be offered Tuesday to Saturday evening on each of the three weeks of the pop-up. The cocktail list will also be given a spice makeover..


The Food52 website's prestigious Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks 2016 got under way this week, with the first two of 16 cookbooks selected for the knockout-style competition – The Violet Bakery Cookbook (Claire Ptak) and A Girl and Her Greens (April Bloomfield and JJ Goode) – pitted against each other. Subsequent brackets include last year's big hit, Mamushka by Olia Hercules, versus Modern Jewish Cooking by Leah Koenig.

This year's judges, including Yotam Ottolenghi, road-test the books and write highly entertaining reviews. Follow the action at


Simnel cake is all very well, but with Easter coming early this year, it’s a bit too soon for all that marzipan, again. So, for something different, you could try a Colomba, the traditional Italian Easter dove cake than resembles pannettone, but with candied orange peel instead of raisins.

Del Gusto Italian imports has sourced Columba (below) made by the Loison family bakery near Venice. The dove-shaped cakes have the same light texture as pannettone and are made with flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, cream and butter, along with candied orange peel, and a topping of almonds and crunchy sugar. The packaging is designed by Sonia Loison, wife of Dario the baker, and is a thing of beauty. They are on sale in Avoca, Dunnes Stores, Caviston's in Glasthule and Mortons in Galway. Prices range from €7 to €25.