If you've ever stared at a beautiful food image and wondered how that perfect composition was created, you can learn some of the tricks of the food photography and food styling craft at Lens & Larder, a two-day, three-night residential course at Ballynahinch Castle (above) from October 21st to 24th. Beth Kirby, a Tennessee photographer and writer and creator of the blog, Local Milk, and Susan Spungen a US food stylist for print (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine among others) and film (including Julie & Julia and Labor Day) will teach the course, which is being arranged by food writer and filmmaker Imen McDonnell. The fee of €1,470 (sharing) includes a welcome reception, full board and drinks, and personalised instruction and workshops on photography and styling. For more details and to book, see farmette.ie
A culinary pentathlon will get the Dingle Peninsula Food Festival, October 3rd to 5th, off to a spirited start. Students from professional culinary schools all over Ireland will test their athletic and kitchen skills in a mad dash through Dingle, culminating in a cook-off with a basket of mystery ingredients. There are 80 businesses taking part in The Taste Trail, a unique merging of commerce and gastronomy which runs throughout the three-day festival. There will be cookery demonstrations in St James's Church, all-day street markets throughout the town, and the final judging of the Blas na hÉireann food awards. Student chef Liadan Sheehy (below) was at the festival launch. See dinglefood.com
The Lynch family has been farming at Intack, on the banks of the Hell's Kettle River, near Donard, Co Wicklow since the 1800s. Gavin Lynch, seen here with his father, Pat, is the latest generation to continue the family business, along with his partner, Linda. The family is known for rearing free-range bronze turkeys, and last year they set up a butchery – Pat is a qualified butcher – selling their own organic meat at the farm gate and online for delivery in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare. Mixed cut boxes start at €35 – for which you'll receive two striploin or ribeye steaks, two rump or featherblade steaks, five burgers and half a kilo of beef strips for stir-frying – and go up to €150.
The farm also has four acres given over to growing hazelnuts, which will be harvested in October and can be shipped anywhere in Ireland. With severe frost having damaged crops in Turkey, which produces 70 per cent of the world’s hazelnut harvest, the nuts will be scarce, and expensive, this year. See hellskettle.ie or tel: 087-990 1104 to order.