June 19, 2013

Meath Food Series

The Meath Food Series is an innovative food adventure! Its aim is to highlight Meath's rich selection of Artisan Producers, small food businesses and restaurants during the summer and autumn months.  This will be done through a series of events that will take place from June right on up to September. 

Map from www.meathfoodseries.ie

There are loads of events happening including food trails, farmers markets, cookery demos and food safaris. One event that has taken my fancy is the Oldcastle Gourmet Cycle, a 25 mile route that takes in Loughcrew Gardens, Jim Ryan’s Farm, Sheridan’s Cheesemongers and Gilsenan’s Ice-cream. A lot of the events have a cost attached to them but some are free such as the Slow Food Forum on Maperath Farm in Kells. This event will see speakers debate, discuss and digest subjects such as self sufficiency, organics, traceability and slow food production. Also if you are a big fan of the Great British Bake Off, Brendan Lynch himself will be giving a demo in the Headfort Arms Hotel on June 30th. 
The Meath Food Series kicks off today, June 19th, with a seafood festival at the Bective Restaurant in Kells. For more information check their website here, Facebook here and Twitter here. 

June 18, 2013

Campo Viejo Tapas Trail 2013

Last week, for the third year running, I took part in the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail. Like previous years it was wonderful value with a wide variety of food and a lot of wine on offer for the bargain price of €20. Old favourites such as Salamanca, Havana and The Market Bar were still on the trail with the new addition of Bagots Hutton as one of the four venues. Our tour guide Paul, was the same one as we had last year and he treated us to titbits of information as we walked our trail. Either I don't remember what he told us last year, had too much wine or else he has a lot of information about Dublin in his head! He also had such a talent for remembering everyone's name and he really helped to make the night.

In our first three venues, Salamanca, Bagots Hutton and the Market Bar we were treated to an array of food including patatas bravas, feta and chorizo salad, seafood paella, fried potatoes with chorizo and spinach and ricotta croquettes. 


For me this year, the real standout was Bagots Hutton. I had never been before and they set out a veritable feast for us including big plates of cheeses, meats, olives and a whole host of other tasty treats. It was perfect sharing food and everyone just got stuck in, handing the wooden platters around and sampling all the wonderful food. It is a lovely, comfortable venue and one that I will definitely return to alongside The Market Bar which has been a favourite of mine for years. One thing that also really impressed me this year was that the organisers enquired as to whether anyone in my party had food intolerances or preferences. One of the party did not eat meat and she was very well looked after at each venue with fish alternatives presented instead.

Our last venue was Havana and this meant dessert! I think this is a great concept and really helps to round out the night. We were so full by the end of the trail that one Crema Catalan got left behind and there were four boys in the group too!!

The trail ended there but our night did not and there were a few delicious pitchers of mojitos bought in Havana!

The only thing that did disappoint me was that I only came across one piece of art by Irish urban artists, Psyconautes and Fatti Burke. This was a huge colourful piece of work depicting Spanish wine in the Market Bar. If this is a runner for next year I would love to see more pieces like this. 

I don't think there are many tickets left for this year's trail but keep an eye out for next year as it really is one of the highlights of the summer. For more information you will find Campo Viejo on Facebook here, on Twitter here and their website is here.

Finally here is one of the lads summing up how we all felt about the night!!

June 13, 2013

Damascus Gate

I used to regularly buy those Groupon, Grabone, Dealrush vouchers. At the beginning they were a bargain nowadays, the choice is just too wide and after too many bad experiences I have stopped buying them. Really it's my own fault I think I have loads of time to use them and then bang, the time is up!! Recently I made an exception to my rule in the form of a Menupages voucher for Damascus Gate. I had read a lot of great reviews about it so thought why not give it a go. The voucher was €35 for three courses and turned out to be a bargain in the end!

Damascus Gate specializes in Syrian and Lebanese food and is run by the same people who manage Little Jerusalem in Rathmines. The interior is bright and airy with rich red walls and the owners are going for a typical Middle Eastern vibe. I was convinced by the decor but I have never been to the Middle East so who am I to judge! Personally the tables were too close together for me and weren't the most comfortable either.

The voucher allowed us to choose anything we wanted off the menu so for starters I went for the Arays Tadmor which was a pitta bread filled with minced beef, onion and tomato sauce. I love pittas and they are a lunch staple so this was a nice change to how I usually eat them. It wasn’t as heavy as it looks and it made for a delicious starter. Maya went for the Falafel and Hummus purely on the basis that she had never had them before. She found them a bit tasteless and dry but enjoyed the accompanying hummus.

Arays Tadmor

Falafel and Hummus

For our mains I went for the Moussakaat Batenjan Bealmeh. This was baked and seasoned aubergine and lamb pieces slow cooked with tomato and chickpea. The lamb and aubergine worked well together though the sauce itself was a little thin. I loved the rice though which was subtly flavoured Maya chose the Mansaf Dajaj which was chicken served with yogurt, fresh pomegranate seeds and nuts and served with saffron rice. While the dish looked great the sauce was flavourless and was basically just a juicy chicken fillet. 

Moussakaat Batenjan Bealmeh
Mansaf Dajaj
For dessert I opted for the Baklava which came with four different versions all of which were flaky, full of honey goodness and delicious. Maya went for a fig type dessert which tasted grand but was nothing special even though it looked lovely. 


Overall the food here is just ok apart from my starter which I would eat again in a heartbeat and would happily substitute my chicken and lettuce filled lunch pittas for! Our meal was paid for by the voucher which was bought for €35 otherwise I think the pricing of the menu would have been on the high side. It is also a BYOB which does help to offset the cost of the meal. Will I be back? I’m not sure, though if I am my meal will consist of that pitta and baklava!

Damascus Gate: 10 Upper Camden Street, Dublin 2 
Telephone: 01 4752000

 Damascus Gate on Urbanspoon

June 08, 2013

June Food Festivals & Events: 8 - 30 June

This event is taking place in Curraheen, Co.Cork on Sat 15 & 16 June. There will be a huge range of things to see and do including Arts & Crafts, Cookery Demos, Martial Arts and a Gardening Advice section. There is also a Charity BBQ on the Saturday in aid of Cork City’s Hospital Childrens Club

This Festival features artists from the coastal and Celtic regions of Spain, England, & Scotland whose traditions are linked by the voyage of the Spanish Armada, three of whose ships foundered on Streedagh Beach near Grange, Co. Sligo over 400 years ago. It takes place from 18  - 23  June in Grange, Co. Sligo with music, drama and a lot of BBQ's happening.

Cloughjordan Festival
This festival brings 5 fun filled days to North Tipperary. With a range of events on offer including music, food, sports, arts & crafts there is something for everyone at Cloughjordan Festival. The festival runs from the 26 – 30 June.

The Comber Potato Festival will be held on 29th June in and around the Comber Square in Co. Down. This special event is held to celebrate one of Comber's most famous exports: its potatoes! The festival will be a fun and educational event, with great food, and entertainment. 

County Wexford Strawberry Festival
This is predominantly a music festival which runs from the 28 - 30 June but lots of events are taking place in Enniscorthy town. Events such as the Chalkboard Buskers & Art Trail, The Strawberry Princess, The Strawberry Ball and The Teddys Bear Picnic. There are also lots of fringe events one being the 6th Annual All Ireland Farmers Market Competition.

Dunmore East Festival of Food, Fish & Fun
This festival will take place in Co. Waterford from the 21 - 23 June. There is great lineup of events over the three days such as an Arts and Craft Fair, a guided foraging & farm walk, cookery demos and lots of competitions including a sand castle making one, floral displays and the best seafood pie!

Love Gourmet Week
For Love Gourmet Week 2013, twenty of the best restaurants in Limerick and the Shannon region will offer a dining experience priced at €25/€35/€45 per person. The ethos of the event will be a celebration of local produce, great Irish food and organic produce. As part of Love Gourmet Week, midweek promotions will take place in all participating restaurants with wine deals, cocktail specials and unique seasonal menus on offer to celebrate the event. This event runs from the 1 – 9 June.

Shandon Street Festival Food Fair
Shandon Street Festival takes place on the 22 June in Co. Cork. Everyone, whether long-time local or first -time visitor, is invited to join in Church Street, Bob & Joan's Walk and Exchange Street are decorated by local youth groups and create a colourful setting for family fun. Face-painting, clowns, and music from local bands add to the atmosphere. Try a tango or Salsa in the street or sample a tasty snack from the food fair. Sit back and enjoy performances from local schools and community groups,with historical re-enactments of local characters and stories.

Street Feast:
See separate post for more information. Taking place nationwide on Sunday 23 June. 

Taste of Dublin
The Iveagh Gardens will once again play host to the Taste of Dublin from the 13 -16 June. Twenty of the city’s best restaurants will there for you to sample your way through and over 100 producers will be in attendance to fulfill any foodie fancies you might have. Tickets are €20 plus a booking fee of €3.50. You will also need to buy florins in there as they do not accept euros.

Westport Festival of Music & Food:
The Westport Festival of Music and Food 29-30 June 2013 is a family friendly festival, set amidst the picturesque 400-acre grounds of Westport House.  There will be lots of entertainment with music from international and Irish musical acts, comedy, amazing food village, quality on-site camping, beer tents and wine bars. If I wasn’t off on my holliers I would definitely be checking this one out!

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

June 01, 2013

June Food Festivals & Events: 30 May - 7 June

Ballyhaunis Summer Festival 
A 6-day Festival in Co. Mayo with quizzes, a family fun day, an open fishing competition and a traditional fair with lots more taking happening. Taking place from the 30 May – 3 June.

Blue Jean Country Queen Festival
Based in Athboy, Co Meath, this Macra na Feirme event has been running for 26 years. There will be a street carnival, a farmer's market, a CeilĂ­ and of course the Blue Jean Country Queen competition.  It runs from the 31 May – 3 June.  

Bloom In The Park
Bloom, Ireland's largest gardening, food and family event, will take place in the Phoenix Park Dublin during the June bank holiday weekend for 5 days from 30 May – 3 June. There will be something for everyone with cookery and craft demonstrations, free gardening advice from the experts, Irish food produce, live entertainment and gardening workshops. 

Dublin Port Riverfest
This June Bank Holiday, North Wall Quay will play host to the Dublin Port’s Riverfest. A huge array of activities are planned over the course of the weekend,  including the arrival of 6 tall ships, curragh racing on the Liffey, tug boat demonstrations and much more. There will also be street performers, music, bars, face painting, and carnival attractions from the new Samuel Beckett Bridge to East Link Bridge. For food lovers the Markets will have a huge range of quality fresh and exciting food.

Irish Coffee Festival
Taking place in Foynes, Co. Limerick from the 31 May - 2 June, this festival has a varied range of events including Irish coffee making demonstrations, a food and Irish craft fair, workshops and lots of music. 

Love Gourmet Week 
For Love Gourmet Week 2013, twenty of the best restaurants in Limerick and the Shannon region will offer a dining experience priced at €25/€35/€45 per person. The ethos of the event will be a celebration of local produce, great Irish food and organic produce. As part of Love Gourmet Week, midweek promotions will take place in all participating restaurants with wine deals, cocktail specials and unique seasonal menus on offer to celebrate the event. This event runs from the 1 – 9 June.