A long time ago in a country far away, I went on a date. OK, it was 2006 and England, so not that far away but any travel seems like a long time ago with COVID-19.
I was reminded of this date while having dinner with a friend recently – food can do that. It can bring us back to a time and place, the smell, the taste or the company.
Up to relatively recently, Ireland was not considered a “foodie” destination for tourists
This week, Galway features as the final instalment in our summer travel series. Good food is a very important part of the holiday experience for many.
Up to relatively recently, Ireland was not considered a “foodie” destination for tourists but that was changing pre-COVID-19.
Food festivals played an important part in that perception change by celebrating the fantastic food we produce and the people that produce it. With Taste of Dublin taking place this weekend, people will once again have the opportunity to experience smells and flavours that they don’t (yet) know they love. Ciara spoke with pastry chef Aoife Noonan who will be on stage at Taste. If you didn’t have a sweet tooth before reading the descriptions of Aoife’s creations, you most certainly will afterwards.
Having wanted to visit Kai Restaurant since Jess Murphy (head chef and co-owner with her husband David) did the cookery demonstration at our Women & Ag Conference in 2019, we duly took the opportunity when we were in Galway. Jess is a New Zealander and “kai” is the Maori word for “food”. And this couple most certainly know how to do kai. I had the scallops and surf clams in crazy water with almond aioli for my main and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Our readers tell us that they are hosting more at home, having gained some kitchen confidence during lockdowns
We are very excited to start a new monthly recipe series. Pre-COVID-19, our readers needed quick and easy meals that could be prepared on the go. Now our readers tell us that they are hosting more at home, having gained some kitchen confidence during lockdowns and they want a challenge. Step up to the plate Neven Maguire. The first week of each month – starting this week with a Spanish feast – Neven will prepare meals for friends and family to enjoy when celebrating getting back together. Ciara will also be pairing some wines with these meals so all angles are covered.
You could say that the Wetherspoons restaurant chain is at the other end of the food spectrum from Kai and Neven. And it was in a Wetherspoons restaurant that the memory of the aforementioned date flashed back to me.
When he offered to split the drinks and treat me to my £6 dinner, I knew that this was not going to be the start of a beautiful friendship
The (Irish) fella who had asked me out knew – I quote – “a great little spot for dinner”. When he offered to split the drinks and treat me to my £6 dinner, I knew that this was not going to be the start of a beautiful friendship. I am pretty sure that I dryly insisted that we split it all. Before, you assign a high maintenance tag to me, I can assure you that I have no problem paying my way, it was the suggestion that Wetherspoons is a “great little spot for dinner” that killed off our potential love affair. Wetherspoons serves its purpose, it’s very cheap but, with that, provenance and nutritional value are not the priority.
We need to support those that use and elevate Irish food
With our food production system under scrutiny, policy makers must be realistic to the challenges facing Irish businesses. Not everyone can afford to go to restaurants that serve quality Irish food or even buy nutritional food in retailers. We need to support those that use and elevate Irish food and create policies that make the great flavours of Ireland accessible to everyone.