West Waterford Festival of Food

It’s that time of year again: the kids are begging me to take them to the West Waterford Festival of Food, which is gearing up for its 2024 edition (19-21 April). I don’t blame them – West Waterford might just be the most family-friendly and inclusive food festival in Ireland; catering to all families, including those with children living with disabilities.

The festival has a full schedule of children’s events for Saturday and Sunday, including sensory-friendly sessions.

I plan on leaving the littles behind with my other half and heading out to dinner at Lismore Castle. Prepared by chefs and storytellers Anthony O’Toole, Santina Kennedy and Seaneen O’Sullivan, this dinner – entitled A Celebration of Ireland’s Vibrant Culinary Heritage – looks to our gastronomic past while making use of locally-sourced ingredients (20 April, tickets €130). This is just one of many dinners, demos, talks and events to take place over the weekend.

West Waterford Festival of Food CEO, Eunice Power, says this year’s festival is all about reconnecting people with food and local food producers.

“With this theme in mind, we’ve mapped out a very diverse programme,” she tells the Maître D’, “and the binding thread is the hardworking people in our own food arena.”

“We took photographs of our many local producers, shopkeepers, foragers and farmers and we’re going to have an art exhibition during the festival. The message we want to get across is: spending your money locally has a far greater reach than just these people, because they in turn support other local businesses, hire local people and support the local economy.”

• Visit westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com

Student-led solution to food poverty

Team members (L-R) Seán Breen, Tom McGuinness and Keith Gore at the launch of Cangarú's first food truck, located at TU Dublin Grangegorman.

I may not be the springiest of chickens, but I do remember my struggles as a poor college student. Today it’s only gotten worse – a nationwide lack of housing, transportation costs and trying to stay on top of studies has presented plenty of challenges.

For many, their last priority is feeding themselves. With this in mind, a new project from the Enactus Society (a global social enterprise community) at TU (Technological University) Dublin hopes to help students access healthy food on campuses all over the country.

Seán Breen is chairperson of the Enactus Society and is in his final year studying computer science. He says he is thrilled with their recent launch of Cangarú – a new way to help combat food poverty using modular solutions.

“Food trucks are fully licensed, HSE-certified food premises and they come at a fraction of brick and mortar businesses,” Seán says. “We can’t build a new restaurant on campus and we want to be able to scale within campuses around the country, which is why we piloted this initiative.

“As we source ingredients locally, we’re looking into potential partnerships with local businesses,” he adds. “These food trucks are driving advertisements, so we’re looking for businesses to partner with in terms of funding. We’ve put together a package where they can co-brand the food trucks with us [in return for financing].”

• Email C20424096@mytudublin.ie or find the Enactus Society on Instagram @EnactusTUDublin

Dough Bros Kits to the rescue

The Dough Bros have a number of different pizza kits available for online purchase and nationwide delivery.

I swear, the car engine is barely quiet when the children start asking about dinner. Then, it’s like they don’t hear when I answer the first time, so they just keep asking until the vein in my forehead threatens to pop.

I am at my wits’ end most nights as you can’t please everyone but you know what they’ll all eat? Pizza.

Thank the lord, Galway natives The Dough Bros have announced the official relaunching and nationwide delivery of their home pizza kits, having recently invested in a 10,000 sq foot facility on the outskirts of Galway city, nicknamed “The Pizza Playground”.

Their regular pizza kits come with four pizza bases and toppings and costs €44.99. Each kit includes free shipping across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

• thedoughbros.ie

Looking for a last-minute Easter egg?

Grá Easter Eggs are handmade by Grainne Mullins and her team.

Good LUCK to you. By this time, all the good ones will have gone. Now, if you are really stuck, it is worth looking locally for a good quality Easter egg. Braw, Bean and Goose, Tara Gartlan, Grá, NearyNógs and Hazel Mountain all make fantastic and eye-catching Easter eggs.

It is also worth looking in your local Dunnes Stores as their Simply Better Easter eggs are made by Áine’s Handmade Chocolates using well-sourced single origin cocoa beans. Fancy making an egg of your own? Ethical bean-to-bar brand Exploding Tree in Clonakilty sells Easter eggs kits and their own handmade chocolate couverture, for melting and tempering. Easter or not, this is a great activity to try with the kids over the school holidays.

• explodingtree.com

Meet me in Mitchelstown

Award-winning chocolatier, Norma Kelly. / Kirsty Lyons

Award-winning chocolatier, Norma Kelly, has expanded on her well-known Mitchelstown, Co Cork café, Praline, with the opening of a new 20-seat confectionery concept.

Named Praline Pastry & Chocolate Café, the space aims to celebrate all things sweet.

Since opening seven years ago, Norma attributes her success not only to the support she has received from local customers, but also from fellow café owners in Mitchelstown, who actively support one another – something which she feels has helped build a greater sense of community and togetherness.

Expect to find hand-made chocolates, lush dessert options and hand-made baked goods.

Even if you’re not local, her range is available to order online for nationwide delivery. This is good to know as communion season starts.

• praline.ie

Got your ear to the ground on food news? Email the goss to maitred@farmersjournal.ie

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