April 30, 2013

May Food Festivals & Events: 1 - 12 May

The inaugural Ballymaloe festival will be held at Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School this May bank holiday weekend. In addition to the usual festival activities (readings, talks, panel discussions) they are planning to hold demonstrations, tastings, producer visits, foraging expeditions, lunches and dinners.

The Ballyhoura Food Festival will take place on the May Bank Holiday Weekend in Kilmallock and all local artisan food suppliers will participate so there will be over 50 delicious food stalls to choose from. There will be a display of Irish, Slovenian, Croatian, French & Austrian traditional national foods with Chefs and community members representing their  participating country.

The 8th Connemara Mussels Festival takes place on the glorious Renvyle Peninsula in North Connemara from the 3 –5 May 2013. The celebrations will include music, craic, mussel cooking competitions, walks, talks, theatre and children's activities. There will also be a country market, local art exhibition and mussel cooking competitions to name but a few.

The Drogheda Fringe will celebrate Music, Poetry, Art, Comedy and Theatre for 13 Days from May Day to Sunday 12th May 2013. There will also be a Food & Craft market on the weekends of the the Festival with local artisan producers and crafts people in attendance

Ireland’s oldest, most spectacular and hottest festival will once again ignite the summer festival season when it is rekindled on the historic Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath on Bealtaine, Saturday May 4th. Festival of Fires will set the ancient seat of the High Kings alight with the very best in arts, culture, ceremony, history and heritage, crafts, debate, artisan food and drink, ancient Celtic sports, re-enactments, ancient agricultural rituals and music.

A celebration of local foods, cookery demos and workshops in Greystones, Co. Wicklow on Sunday 5th May. A lovely range of events on offer including urban foraging with Paul Quinn and Niall O’Sullivan, hands on pork curing with Ed Hicks and black pudding presentations with the McCarthys.

Letterkenny will host it's first Letterkenny Festival on May Bank Holiday weekend from 3rd to the 6th of May 2013.This festival of food, gardening, vintage and entertainment is designed to attract large audience from throughout the North-West. Their main attraction this year will be the famous 'Cookery School Live' with celebrity chef - Brian McDermott.

Riverfest 2013 from 3 - 6 May  will showcase and celebrate all that’s great about Limerick City. Riverfest is a city wide series of events including: a huge BBQ Competition, a riverside Continental Fair, Fireworks, Fashion Events, River Fun and lots more including the Great Limerick Run!

Roscommon Lamb Festival 2013 runs from the 1 - 6 May.  It celebrates all aspects of County Roscommon’s food, farming, heritage, craft  and most importantly – family, in a range of events designed to suit everyone’s tastes.  The majority of the events are free and the festival itself is a non profit event.

The 2013 Só Sligo Food and Culture Festival programme takes place from the 1 – 6 May. There will be Amateur, Professional and Student Chef Cookery Competitions including Sligo Signature Dish, Sligo Mystery Basket, the Connacht Gold Junior Chef and the Great Family Cook off competitions! Alongside all these competitions there are lots of outdoor and cultural events taking place over the six days. 

If you would like to have your food event or festival added please contact Kat at thepurplepageireland (at) gmail.com. Dates are always subject to change so please check the event website before getting all geared up to go out!

April 23, 2013

Campo Viejo Tapas Trail 2013: 'Discover a Life Uncorked'

For the third year running, the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail is back! It is without fail one of the highlights of the summer for me. Throughout the months of May to July, food and wine enthusiasts can join the culinary culture of Spanish tapas and discover the true passion, vitality and vibrancy of Spain on the Tapas Trail which will run from 8th May to 5th June in Cork City and from 9th June to 17th July in Dublin. 

Inspired by the Spanish way of life and Campo Viejo’s mantra of ‘stimulating a more expressive world’, the Tapas Trail will this year bring Spain’s expressiveness and vibrancy to the streets of Dublin and Cork through urban art.   In an exciting new collaboration with renowned Irish urban artists, Psyconautes and Fatti Burke, Campo Viejo will capture Spain’s colourful culture and passion for living through bespoke installations which can be seen and enjoyed during the Tapas Trail.   

Patatas Bravas at the Market Bar
From May 8th to the 1st June lucky participants in Dublin and Cork will get to discover ‘tapeo’, the art of enjoying tapas with friends and family at four of the very best tapas restaurants their city has to offer. At each location, you’ll get the opportunity to sample Spanish cuisine that’s simply bursting with flavour, all brought to life with a glass of Campo Viejo Reserva. Between restaurants, the guides will help you explore the streets of colour, an urban art installation in collaboration with renowned Irish urban artists, Psychonautes and Fatti Burk. In Cork you will get to visit Electric, Arthur Maynes, Oysters and The Cornstore, while in Dublin participants will visit Salamanca, Havana Tapas Bar, the Market Bar and for the first time this year, Bagots Hutton.

I have gone on the Tapas Trail for the last two years and it is without doubt one of the best value and fun nights out there. You can read all about The Purple Page's experience here. One of the things I really loved about last year was how the last restaurant provided dessert tapas. so fingers crossed for those again this year!!

Dessert at Salamanca Fusion

Tickets are 20e per person, plus a new (but nominal) booking fee of €1.10 participants. The trail takes place each Wednesday between 6.30pm and 9.00pm and each Sunday between 2.00pm and 4.30pm in participating restaurants in Dublin and Cork with 80 people attending each session. For further information and to purchase tickets log onto www.facebook.com/campoviejoireland 
or www.campoviejotapastrail.ie, but be quick they won't last very long!!

April 11, 2013

The Old Schoolhouse Market

  Last weekend saw the first ever Old Schoolhouse Market take place in Drogheda. The Indoor Market is held in what was once the old Methodist Church & schoolhouse and which is now part of the Laurence Town Centre. It is a beautiful old building with fabulous church style windows which create a lovely atmosphere in the market. The whole thing is offset by the fairy lights which hang from the railings above. This is going to be a monthly artisan food and craft fair and will have an emphasis on producers local to the North East of Ireland. It will also aim to feature a wide range of high quality food and crafts that available in Ireland today. 


The market had a range of stalls which included food, crafts and plants. Some of the stalls included Ferdia Artisan Chocolates, Terry O'Brien Crafts, Lily's Tea Shop and my favourite cake makers - The Brown Hound Bakery. We couldn't walk away from that one without buying a box of cakes!!


There is also a communal seating area where people can sit down and enjoy cake, a cuppa and a chat. The market is small at the moment but it has huge potential to grow and it is meant to have double the amount of stalls for the next one which will make a big difference. It is a gorgeous venue and is a great addition to the town. The next market takes place on the 4th and 5th May and is one I will definitely be putting in my diary. For more information visit www.oldschoolhousemarket.com or visit their Facebook page. 

April 10, 2013

Honest2Goodness Market

I have been living out in the sticks of Meath for just over a year now. It has been a huge challenge to adjust to country life – the quietness, the daily commute and not being able to just pop out to the shops for a quick bit of clothes shopping!! One of the things that has helped make this change easier has been the Irish Food Bloggers Association and the sheer wealth of knowledge that is passed on through it and Twitter. Through Twitter and the IFBA I have come to know a lot more about the area I live in, been given information on what places to visit that are close by and what I shouldn’t be missing. One of these not to miss places is the Honest2Goodness Market in Glasnevin. Before my move to Meath I had a vague idea of where Glasnevin was, now it’s part of my daily commute into town!

I had visited the market a few times previously but generally in a rush after work on a Wednesday evening where I just grabbed a few bits. So when the IFBA announced a blogger food tour I was all up for it. A Saturday filled with food and chats how could I pass that up! The Honest2Goodness Market is easy to find as it is very near to Glasnevin Cemetery and only a few yards from the local Woodies in the Dublin Industrial Estate. The smell of pizza wafting from The Gourmet Street Pizza van will also signal the way!!

We started off the tour with a lunch in the Market Café.  This is a lovely bright space with a range of lunch options to choose from. All the food used comes from the market and it is a really good showcase of what people can make with the produce they buy. Spoilt with choice I eventually went for the Turkish Meatballs in a Pitta Pocket which was full of flavour and which was fun to eat too!


We also got to sample some of the pizza from Gourmet Street Pizza which was done just how I like it – thin and crispy.

After filling up on a great lunchtime feed we started our tour. The market houses 20 stalls all filled with an abundance of gorgeous looking food.  The idea behind the market is that you could do your weekly shop here instead of at the local supermarket. You could buy your bread from Arun Bakery who are sourdough specialists, get your jams from the Big Red Kitchen and choose from a huge range of fresh fruit and veg.

The Big Red Kitchen
Some beautiful purple garlic

Sourdough from Arun Bakery
I would love to talk about all the stalls but am going to stick to the ones that I bought produce off and which has now been throughly sampled (read devoured!!)

The Whole Hoggs make and sell all their own traditional pork products. Their range of sausages are delicious and their pork and leek ones are a firm favourite in our house. I also sampled what I think was a sundried tomato one, which was subtly sweet. It would make a great lunchtime feed and I will be back to buy more. They are also in the process of making their own chorizo so that will be one to watch out for.

Blas na Talún make a whole range of delicious goodies such as marshmallows, traybakes and tarts. Their pear tartlet, was one of the best I have ever had and I eat a lot of tarts! They don't have a website or Facebook page so you will just have to go to the market and meet Sheila and her husband yourself.


The Pieman sells a range of savoury pies which cater for vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters. I bought the Rabbit pie which was filled with rabbit, carrots, lemon and tarragon and encased in a shortcrust pastry. It got me serious brownie points when I bought it home to the boyfriend. 


Sticky Fingers Bakery believes that everyone can enjoy scrumptious food regardless of their gluten tolerance and so none of our products contain gluten, wheat or yeast. I have had gluten free cakes before but haven’t been impressed as they always taste bland or are too heavy. Both the breakfast muffin and the baked jam doughnut were light and full of flavour! Therese has a special touch with these cakes and you would never know they were gluten free unless you were told.

I also just want to give a quick shout out to The Purple Pantry a brand new business which had their first day at the market. They produce a range of preserves, spice blends and squashes. I am waiting to get my hands on their plum squash next week!


I will now leave you with some cake shots from the Wildflour Bakery whose cakes are as beautiful to look at as they are to eat!! I have three words for you: roasted white chocolate!

Honest 2 Goodness Market: http://www.honest2goodness.ie
136A Slaney Close, Dublin Industrial Estate, Glasnevin, Dublin 11
Every Saturday 9.30am-4pm. It's not running on Wednesday until further notice.

There are lots more pictures from the market over on the Facebook page if you want to check them out.