Last week, as the sun came up and shone brightly upon Dublin city, the Taste Of Dublin food festival kicked off in Iveagh Gardens. Celebrating its tenth year, it was obvious it was going to be a spectacle, with unbelievable food, chef demonstrations and even the odd brightly-colored bean bag thrown on the grass as was the case when I attended on Sunday evening. Expectations were met, exceeded and packed to the brim with tasty treats as I headed home to get stuck into a chilled night accompanied by a food coma and pure satisfaction.
As a sort of newbie foodie, I had never been to the event before and I had certainly not attended a food fair of any description with SUCH a fussy diet. With a desire for fish, gluten-free everything and the best quality ingredients I could find, I certainly set my standards high. Upon arrival I saw that the food stands had prepared for random diets just as the staff of the festival had prepared for the craic and the talented singers had prepared for varied musical tastes. With two HUGE stages to choose from, several bars with a plethora of wines, beers, cocktails and even French cider (which was amazing), we were as spoilt for choice as we were sunburnt by the end.
As with every part of my life, I had set goals for myself for the day. What’s a Sunday without a checklist, right? I aimed to try something from Pichet and earn bragging rights to having eaten at least one of their famous dishes. Pichet is a world-class restaurant as I suspected. And yes, I can say this in spite of their marquee-made kitchen and I’m guessing, inadequate cooking facilities. The thought, precision and care that went into their food was second to none so much so, that I had two courses there. A ravioli with veal as a main followed by snickers parfait satisfied me for about five minutes before further exploration and face-stuffing continued (I am a glutton and will admit that, hands down).
Ireland is known as “The Food Island” for a reason. We have top-quality produce, an unbelievable agricultural industry and talented food professionals to make all of that even tastier. In spite of a challenging recession, fantastic food brands and restaurants are popping up and making their mark. As consumers, we’re pushing this forward (go us!) and continue to do so at events like Taste. Moreover, as diets are becoming fussier and people become more self-aware in terms of food and health in general, the market is responding with brands such as Keogh’s (gluten-free crisp extraordinaires), Propercorn healthy pop-corn (in unique flavors) and so many more.
I’ve made it a sort-of mission to suss out more amazing Irish food brands, artisan products and restaurants. In the meantime, I’ll be heading to the gym loads to save my waistline from inevitable over-indulgence. Know of any foods or foodie-places I might enjoy? Be sure to share with me.