July 26, 2012

Dining in Galway - Rouge, Cupán Tae and Eat@Massimo

A couple of weekends ago I got to spend a few nights in the beautiful city of Galway. The weekend passed in a blur of working, eating and socialising both with work colleagues, friends and family. It seemed everyone was attending the Volvo Ocean Race 2012 which you can read a bit about here. It was a brilliant weekend and even though the Volvo Ocean Race is over there is still loads happening in Galway. At the moment the Galway Arts Festival is in full swing and the Galway Races will be hot on its heels.

Anyway back to the main reason for this post ... food!! I had heard many wonderful things about Galway restaurants so the list of places I wanted to eat in was fairly long. Even with this list though the first place I ate in I hadn't actually even heard of! My colleague Katie had seen the wonderful Cupán Tae and being a girl after my own heart, who loves baking and tea in china cups, she insisted we go and try it. 

For my lunch I had a Rosemary Scone Sandwich filled with ham and cheese. This may sound ordinary enough but it was anything but and was one of those great sandwiches that makes me wish I lived closer! Katie decided on a Pear, Ham and Cheese sandwich which was accompanied by a carrot and mint soup which she deemed delicious.

Rosemary Scone Sandwich
Pear, Ham & Cheese Sandwich with Mint & Carrot Soup
What's that there in the back?? Is it The Chef and I!!

We didn't have time for cake but we left happy, so happy in fact that on Sunday morning Ms J and I wandered up there for breakfast/a cure after a long fun night out that only Galway knows how to put on!  For my brekkie I had the smoked salmon with eggs while Ms J got herself a full Irish which was so large I had to help her finish it. We finished off our breakfast meal with cake (how could we not!!) and this was actually the only thing we were disappointed in. We opted for a Victoria Sponge but for us the jam was overly sweet though of course in the purpose of research we finished it completely!! Later that day my mother brought us down a slice of their lime and courgette cake which was moist and reminded me a little of carrot cake. I definitely want to see if I can make it myself and it more than made up for the earlier Victoria sponge minor disappointment.


On the Saturday night five of us headed to Rouge. We found this place by complete accident after having tried to book a few of the more well known restaurants and practically being laughed at so we went wandering instead. Rouge was buzzing but welcomed us in to its warm and cosy restaurant. Rouge is unusual in Ireland as it offers a starter and main course for €15 all night where the starter is an amuse bouche and the main is a choice of only three dishes. This is something I have only ever come across in France and I actually felt like I was transported back there for an evening while we were in there.  

The amuse-bouche is a collection of bite-sized appetisers shared between everyone. On our visit it consisted of Fennel soup, Beetroot and Balsamic bites, Tuna and Tomato Tart and Celeriac wrapped in bacon. I am not a huge fan of fennel but I would have eaten a gallon of the soup.

For my main I ordered the Entrecote Steak with blue cheese while Ms J got the mushroom sauce. The mother ordered the vegetarian dish which was butternut squash lasagne while her two friends ordered the fish dish which was hake on this occasion. You get to choose a side with your main course from either French fries, gratin dauphinois, steamed potatoes, chefs potatoes, side salad or ratatouille. Lets just saw there were a lot of potatoes on the table!! The gratin dauphinois was sublime, creamy and very moreish.

Entrecote Steak
Butternut Squash Lasagne
One of the mother's friends got herself a very lovely looking Cafe Gourmand which is something I have always loved about France as it means you get to try a variety of desserts and have a coffee - no having to choose between that almond macaroon and the chocolate tart!!


This was all washed down with a Muscadet sur Lie chosen from an extensive wine list with something on it to suit everyone's budget. We could have stayed there all night but as it was Galway it was time to hit the town though we did leave the mother and her friends looking well fed and comfortable in La Rouge and with the wine list in hand!

On Sunday, once the fullness of An Cupán Tae had worn off, and before myself and Ms J headed back on our return journeys we decided to have our last Galway meal in Eat@Massimo.


This gastro pub offers a varied menu of delicious sounding meals and I was very tempted by the sound of the cider battered ling but instead was sold by the special Sunday offer of Pig on a Spit. For ten euros we got a plate load of food consisting of barbecued pork, a pile of tasty chips, salads and two types of sauce - apple and beetroot.


Galway is a great city it is well worth a visit not only for it's eclectic nightlife, it's range of events (there always seems to be something on) and of course its food. The only problem with Galway is that I may never get through my eating wish list as it just seems to keep getting longer!! 

EAT Gastro Pub @ Massimo on UrbanspoonCupán Tae on Urbanspoon

July 17, 2012

July Foodie Festivals & Events: 16th - 31st

This festival takes place on the beautiful Achill Island in Co. Mayo from the 19th - 22nd July.  Highlights of the event will include a Gala Seafood Buffet, an 'Achill's Got Talent' contest, Cailín óg & Buachaill óg Competition, seaweed safaris, lots of cookery demonstrations, a  fresh fish markets and much, much more.

The Ardmore Pattern Festival Food and Craft Fair aims to bring alive the old traditions alongside a fun-filled festival. There will be music, fun and food in Ardmore, Co Waterford from the 27th - 29th July.  Kevin Dundon will be cooking 'Supper by the Sea' in St Declan's Hall on the Thursday evening.

This year's SummerFest will take place over 5 weekends from 6th July to the 6th August. There will be over 60 free events covering music, kids workshops, sport, the airshow and of course food. For the foodies the Bia Galore section of the festival will give visitors the opportunity to take part in workshops, attend demonstrations, visit the continental market and perhaps get a free ticket to the Bia Galore Chef's Theatre.

The very first Cork Food Week will take place from 28th July to the 4th August. It is a celebration of Cork food and the great Cork Culture. Each day has a theme such as Food and Kids or Food and the Arts with different events happening on each day. The week is being kicked off in Cobh as part of the Titanic Ball.

dlr Fusion takes place on Saturday July 28th and Sunday July 29th 2012 from 11am to 6pm in the People’s Park, Dún Laoghaire. The weekend aims to promote diversity and be a vibrant, fun-filled weekend for all the family. Events such as ultimate frisbee, circus workshops and street theatre are all part of the line up.

This festival reflects the great local fishing tradition and the emphasis on seafood in the local restaurants in the Doonbeg area. It takes place from the 20th to the 22nd July and it will have something for everyone. Events include Curragh racing, Duck Race, Farmers Market and a Vintage Rally and will feature cooking demonstrations from both local and national chefs such as Wade Murphy, Adrian Medvec and Odran Lucey.

This two day event will take place in the beautiful surroundings of Newbridge House, Donabate, Co. Dublin on the 21st and 22nd July. The Flavours of Fingal Show will combine the sights and sounds of an agricultural show with an unforgettable farm, food and family fun experience. The programme is packed full of fun events such as cooking demos, workshops, dog competitions and of course a food fayre. Tickets are 12e and each ticket allows two children under 16 in free.

The Irish Examiner Food Festival will be held in Fitzgerald’s Park from July 19th until July 22nd. There are over 15 restaurants taking part where visitors can sample a range of delicious food along with a plethora of other exhibitors. There will also be demonstrations by Rachel Allen, Paulo Tullio, Andrew Rudd and the Queen of Cooking, Darina Allen. Tickets are €12 and children under 12 get in free.

The 9th annual Sneem Family Festival takes place from the 18th - 22nd July. Activities include wife carrying, crab fishing & lake fishing, sheep shearing, traditional music and set dancing, a craft and country market and Street entertainment.

N.B Even though the events section is updated weekly, dates and times are liable to change so please do check the websites yourself as well.
If you would like to have your foodie event added please contact Kat at thepurplepageireland (at) gmail.com

July 03, 2012

July Foodie Festivals & Events: 3rd - 15th July

This year Dublin City of Science is hosting the ESOF 2012. To celebrate this Teagasc, in partnership with UCD, Bord Bia and DIT will host a Harvest of Irish Food: Tradition, Technology, Trends and Taste. This event will allow the participant to experience the best of Irish food and current food science and technology research. It is open to registered ESOF delegates, International food researchers, International food writers/journalists, International food company executives, International agencies and will take place in
Dublin on Tuesday, July 10th 

This year's SummerFest will take place over 5 weekends from 6th July to the  6th August. There will be over 60 free events covering music, kids workshops, sport, the airshow and of course food. For the foodies the Bia Galore section of the festival will give visitors the opportunity to take part in workshops, attend demonstrations, visit the continental market and perhaps get a free ticket to the Bia Galore Chef's Theatre.

Cork Week 2012 see the return of 10 high octane races spread over 5 days. There will also be free event-related marina berthing and a 7-day entertainment spectacular from 7th - 13th July.

The 27th Annual Kilmore Quay Seafood Festival takes place in Kilmore Quay from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th July 2012. With exhibitions, music, a market, fishing and a festival grand parade all on offer there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Taking place in Kinsale Co. Cork from 7th - 15th July, this festival has a huge range of events on offer. Visual Art, Theatre, Music, Literature, Film, Dance, Architecture, Family Entertainment and Food are all covered. With events such as The Geometry of Milk, The Culture of Taste and Taste and Aroma: Deconstructing Food this sounds like a really intriguing and creative festival.

Kenmare Food Carnival 
Kenmare Food Carnival in Co. Kerry  aims to showcase all of it's wonderful food from award winning restaurants, to local producers, 5 star dining, charming cafes, bustling bakeries and delicious delis all done in a 'Carnival' style atmosphere. The festival takes place from 13th -15th July.  

Flavour of Killorglin  
This one day special event takes place in Killorgan, Co. Kerry on Saturday 7th July. It will feature lots of events for both young and old, one of which is a giant Treasure Hunt! There will also be a Heritage Trail and a Food Fair and Culinary Display.

The inaugural Lobsters & Lettuce Festival takes place in Bundoran from 6th – 8th July. There will be cooking demos, guided walks, music and a Lobsters and Lettuce Parade, the title of which really makes me want to go and see it!!
The 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race will end in Galway after completing an around-the-world journey which kicked  off in Alicante. The six yachts will sail into port around the 2th July but the party kicks off on 30th June with a massive agenda of events. Most of the events will take place in the Global Village which is a huge 17 acre site with sporting, lifestyle, cultural and entertainment events on offer. For all the foodies out there there will be cooking demos, an artisan food market, a global garden and much more. I went for the first weekend of the event and had a ball! Read about it here. 

N.B Even though the events section is updated weekly, dates and times are liable to change so please do check the websites yourself as well.
If you would like to have your foodie event added please contact Kat at thepurplepageireland (at) gmail.com

July 02, 2012

Volvo Ocean Race Galway 2012

Last weekend I got to head down to Galway for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race Galway 2012 celebrations. Sent down by work I decided to take advantage and stay a few extra days as I hadn't been there in ages. Despite the torrential and persistent rain, lugging boxes through fields of mud and having to resign a pair of my runners to the bin it was worth it. Once the work event was over I had a few days to get reacquainted with Galway and discover what the Volvo Ocean Race had to offer. 

The Galway Volvo Ocean Race is divided into two areas - the Global Village and the Race Village. The Global Village offers a food pavilion, a fun fair, a craft quarter, an innovation hub and lots, lots more. There are loads of activities happening for both adults and kids from cooking demonstrations to exploring life under the sea. The Race Village is where all gigs are happening and a huge stage has been purpose built for this. Lots of the events are entirely free.There is a bridge which connects the two sections so accessing both areas is fairly manageable. The Food Pavilion and craft area is where I spent a lot of my time tasting cheese, drinking craft beer and helping my mother with her art stand (blatant plug for the mammy!). The Food Pavilion was filled with Irish Food producers including some of my favourites such as Glenilen Farm, Just Food and The Foods of Athenry and new ones such as McGeough's, who do amazing smoked sausages, and Roscommon Chocolate Company.

Even with the rain Galway City was packed and the atmosphere was magic. I also managed to get to a few of the restaurants I have wanted to try for ages but that is another post entirely! If you can manage it, get yourself to Galway for even a day as the event has so much to offer. Unfortunately I couldn't stay longer but if I was there tonight I would be staying up late and helping to celebrate the arrival of the boats who are due in around 1am. The way into Galway harbour will be lit with bonfires from Eeragh on the northern tip of Inishmore and at the Black Fort and the Point. The arrival of the boats will be a sight to behold. The Volvo Ocean Race Galway continues until Sunday 8th July. As the tagline goes 'The race started in Alicante but the party starts in Galway' - it's already well underway!

Transformer's Roadshow: Impressive models

Just Food makers of one of my favourite soups!
Lots of Craft Beer on offer
Edible Garden
Urban Arks: I want this preferably with the chickens!