Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Food Festival Dingle

Marc Kingston talking coffee
Wow - what a great food festival. I have been to a few now in the last few months (it seems every weekend there is one on) but I have to admit that Dingle Food Festival is one of the better ones (next to Kenmare Food Carnival). The whole town is included, the taste trail is amazing, the events are well laid out and the market is buzzing - what more does one want.

Unfortunately, I missed the seaforaging walk with Oliver Moore but went to a talk about the mackerel industry in Dingle instead (no comparison of course but was too late for the seaweed walk).
Jack McCarthy Curing Workshop

Crab Cake in Ship Yard
We arrived on Saturday morning and just had a snoop around - it was hard to ignore the festival - the town was buzzing already. The market was already set up and the air started to smell of BBQs, Curries and more. Shop windows had food themes and had programmes of the festival handy for everyone looking for one. Street musicians started to warm their voices, restaurants preparing their tasting trail offerings and one was wondering if it was really too early for a glass of bubbles.

Display of local seafood
Smoke Salmon Tart
Ling Pie with white sauce
The focus of the tasting trail was of course seafood - the quality was just amazing. I think we keep forgetting how blessed we are being surrounded by the sea and the fantastic fish & seafood it offers. Some restaurants made a bit more of an effort with displaying the food than others but no one could argue with the amazing taste and quality that was on offer. There were too many taste trail restaurants to try - we opted for Out of the Blue and their 'Taste of the Sea' tasting plate which included a lovely creamy prawn bisque, salmon with poppy seeds and hake with a pesto topping. It was beautiful to look at and even more beautiful to eat. The Boat Yard offered crab cakes with sweet chilli sauce. It wasn't the prettiest to look at (it came in a take away box too big which didn't add much appeal) but the taste was outstanding. The Dingle Bay Hotel offered breadrolls with crab filling - it was a massive portion and so delicious that we understood the queue leading to it.

Blueberry Ice Cream
Danno's Bar offered the most amazing ling pie with a lovely white sauce - although ling wouldn't be my favourite fish, this pie was just to die for. Danno's also offered salmon tart which didn't need to hide behind the pie.

But it wasn't just restaurants who offered wonderful food - The Dingle Framer offered mussels and cockles which Mr T enjoyed immensely.

Oliver Moore sharing his memories
One of the highlights for me was the Blue Bus where Food Memories were shared. Aoife Carrigy of Holy Mackerel hosted the short interviews where well known bloggers & food producers shared their early food memories. Benoit Lorge, Jack McCarthy, The Modern Farmerette and Oliver Moore were just a few of many who shared their love with the public.

Aoife Carrigy hosting Food Memories

The workshops were offering something for every taste - food preserving, bee keeping, Curing your own bacon, herb gardening and how to make the perfect cup of coffee. Mr T who loves his coffee was all ears at the coffee morning and we learned a few new things about coffee. Marc Kingston of The Golden Bean was sharing his passion and knowledge with us and was able to answer all questions put to him.

The highlight of the event was of course the Blas na hEireann Awards. I am a big fan of Avril Allshire-Howe - not only because she and her husband make the most amazing Black Pudding but because she is the most amazing woman you can come across. Her passion for what she does is second to none and she is still so grounded..... so I was delighted that she won the Gold Award for her Black Pudding - Congrats Avril

I think you can guess that I really enjoyed myself - and I am already looking forward to next year's Dingle Food Festival.

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