FOODFILE:Kilkenny city and county celebrates its rich food heritage with a three-day festival of food – Savour Kilkenny – next Friday to Monday.
There is a new festival manager at the helm, Claire Daly, and she has returned to the city where she grew up. Daly comes to Savour Kilkenny from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she has worked for the past five years.
New to the programme this year is Friday’s FoodCamp, admission to which requires only that you have something lively to say about the business of food, and that you bring something to contribute to the communal lunch table. You can register to take part at www.savourkilkenny.com. Food professionals, journalists, bloggers, consumers and agency heads (from Bord Bia and Bord Iascaigh Mhara) will participate, and there will be a group discussion, “Digging Ireland out of the recession – Artisan produce, food innovation and guerrilla marketing”, led by writer and consultant John McKenna, who will be joined on the panel by Dr Susan Steele of BIM; Helen Finnegan, Knockdrinna Cheese; Una Fitzgibbon, Bord Bia; Margaret Jeffers, Good Food Ireland; and Donal Skehan, food writer and blogger.
This is the fourth Savour Kilkenny festival, and this year it benefits from a new civic space in the city centre, Parade Plaza, which will be home to a tented food village, where you will be able to buy tasting plates of food, browse through artisan products for sale, watch cookery demonstrations and participate in workshops.
On Sunday night there will be two long-table banquets that will feature only food produced within a 50-mile radius of the city. There is a family friendly session running from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, and at 8.30pm the Smithwicks Oktoberfeast will kick off. Both are ticketed events.
The fun is not confined to the city – there will be events running concurrently in Thomastown and Castlecomer. See the full programme at www.savourkilkenny.com.
Slices of life
Josceline Dimbleby has written 24 books, not all of them food-related, but none so compelling as Orchards in the Oasis(Quadrille, £25), her recently published memoir. Recipes, Travels and Memoriesis the sub-title, and it’s a fascinating read from someone who obviously relishes living in far-off places, in sometimes challenging conditions.
Food is the thread of her narrative, and there are also 70 diverse recipes inspired by her world-wide travels. It’s a great read, and a beautiful production.
For those plastic ‘corks’
Say goodbye to broken bottle openers with this sturdy new Screwpull wine opener specifically designed to cope with plastic corks. It’s a lovely piece of engineering and delightful to handle, as well as doing its job efficiently, which is just as well as it carries a €130 price tag. From Screwpull stockists nationwide.
Time for tea
Even if the cakes are shop-bought and the tea comes in bags, they’re going to look much more appealing served on this pretty china from the Provence Rose collection at Cath Kidston. The three-tier cake stand costs €22 and the delicate china cups cost €26 for a set of four. Affordable indulgence. There is a Cath Kidston shop at the Dundrum Shopping Centre in Dublin 14 and you can also buy online at www.cathkidston.com, but you’ll pay delivery charges from the UK of £10 for orders up to £50.
Taste and travel
If you’re still looking for a bank-holiday weekend escape, Lough Erne Resort and Belle Isle School of Cookery are teaming up to offer a “Travelling Gourmet” package that includes a two-night stay at Lough Erne Resort and a one-day hands-on cooking course (€325pp). Chef Noel McMeel, pictured above with Belle Isle tutor Liz Moore, is creating a special dinner menu for the occasion, and transfers between the two venues is included. See www.lougherneresort.com or www.irish-cookery-school.com.