Kilkenny food festival shaping up to be one to savour
Food File: Mushroom hunts, Irish Cocktail Month and Chinnery Spirits releases new gin
The Happy Pear brothers and Edward Hayden launching Savour Kilkenny
Taking place from Thursday, October 25th, through to the bank holiday Monday of October 29th, Savour Kilkenny is a free food festival which invites chefs and food experts from all around the country to Kilkenny for a five-day celebration of Irish food.
Rosanna Davison, The Happy Pear and Edward Hayden launched the festival, and the line-up also features events hosted by Derval O’Rourke, Rory O’Connell, Domini And Peaches Kemp, JP McMahon, Finn Ní Fhaoláin and many more.
As well as the return of the two-day food market on the city centre’s parade, new additions to this year’s programme are the tours, trails and workshops. This programme includes an introduction to beekeeping, the inaugural Savour Kilkenny by Bicycle tour, an introduction to butchery workshop and an organic orchard distillery taste tour.
Being Kilkenny, perhaps it’s inevitable that hurling would make its mark on the programme, too, in the form of The Kitchen Clash of the Ash, with chef Edward Hayden and former Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell going head to head in a cook-off against chef Anne Neary of Ryeland House and Kilkenny hurler Paul Murphy. www.savourkilkenny.com
George Chinnery was a renowned portrait artist, known for his paintings as well as his personality, who moved to Dublin from London in 1796, and did rather well in capturing the gentry of the city. In 1802, he jumped ship and moved to India where he established himself as the leading artist of India; The Duke of Wellington and William Thackery were among his subjects.
Before he died in 1852, he lived in southern China, Macau, and Hong Kong, capturing portraits of European, American and Chinese traders, leaving behind him a legacy of portrait documentation of 19th century trade in China.
Next week sees the launch of an Irish gin named in honour of this artist and adventurer. Chinnery Spirits, set up by David Havelin and Marie Byrne in 2015, have created Chinnery Gin in their small Dublin distillery using 10 botanicals inspired by the Old China Trade routes, including the flavours of osmanthus flower and oolong tea. Even the bottle’s design boasts a callback to the grandeur of the townhouses of Georgian Dublin. www.chinnerygin.com
Autumn is a great time for food lovers, especially for those who love cozying up around a pot of simmering comfort food. Think apples, root vegetables, earthy colours and earthy flavours.
Perhaps one of the most delectable bounties of autumn is the humble mushroom. Bill O’Dea is one of Ireland’s leading mycologists and his annual mushroom hunts are the quintessential autumnal retreat for funghi fans.
O’Dea will host mushroom hunts at Killruddery in Co Wicklow on Sunday October 7th and Sunday, October 14th.
Tickets are €80 per person and include an introduction to mushroom collecting, a mushroom hunt and lunch featuring edible wild mushrooms. www.mushroomstuff.com
Irish Cocktail Month
Irish Cocktail Month is kind of like the All-Ireland, but for cocktails. It’s an island-wide celebration of cocktails made with Irish spirits, and bars and pubs in all 32 counties can register for free on www.greatirishbeverages.com.
Expect tastings, classes, distillery tours, food pairings and parties featuring Irish whiskey, gin, vodka and poitin, paired with Irish mixers such as Poacher’s Wild Irish Tonic.
There’s also a public vote for #BestIrishCocktail. Last year’s winner was The Lodge at Ashford Castle for their Wilde’s Atlantic Way cocktail made with Connemara peated whiskey and wild dillisk seaweed. Follow the Great Irish Beverages on Facebook for updates on events taking place as part of this year’s Irish Cocktail Month. www.facebook.com/greatirishbeverages.
Marie Claire Digby returns next week