Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bite food festival

We had a lovely day out today at the Bite Food Festival* in the RDS. Arriving hungry after a missed lunchtime, we had a great time going around all the stalls sampling the best of Irish food and drinks. All three kids had a ball, the two older ones got their sweet teeth satisfied, the youngest slept and boobed in the sling, and we parents actually got to stand drinking alcohol at various bars having a chat. We didn't know what hit us.

Bite Food Festival is off to a flying start in its first year, it began as a result of the huge demand for a dedicated food festival of this type, after the success of the food hall at the annual RDS craft fair.

Pretty much every food type you'd want was represented here, from artisan butters and cheeses, to preserves, flavoured sausages, cakes, and every drink under the sun from fresh fruit juices to cordials, wines, beers and liqueurs. There were gluten-free stalls, health food stalls with activated nuts, pure chocolates and organic olive oils. Gorgeous ideas for Christmas gifts for all budgets, and lots of giveaways.

There are cookery demonstrations and wine tastings throughout the day, children's games where fruit is the prize (loved that!) and a full schedule of events on their website here.

As always I loved chatting to the stallholders, asking about their production processes and sampling the goods. They were all more than happy to fill me in and answer my pedantic questions like "Is it vegetarian rennet?" (It was), and I've come away with a few invitations to visit farms and see the processes in action.

One of my favourite stalls was Highbank Organic Orchards from Kilkenny, see website here. Rod and Julie have a beautiful range of products from their organic apples, from syrup to ciders, liqueurs and brandy. I loved hearing how they use biodynamic farming methods to cultivate wild yeasts and provide a rich environment for their natural products.

Delish Melish
Another highlight was Delish Melish, see her website here, making beautiful marshmallows and meringues in gorgeous flavour combinations, perfect for weddings or special occasions, or just a treat. Our kids loved the lime meringues and Oreo marshmallows, and the Lemon curd marshmallow I tried was melt-in-the-mouth.

Naturally Cordial had a stunning strawberry, cucumber and lime cordial made with real Wexford strawberries, this would make a gorgeous cocktail or refreshing summer drink. Her other flavours are just as good, I could have stood there all day trying them all.

Other stalls I really enjoyed were:

  • Nature's Gold Extra Virgin Olive oil, an Irish couple producing organic olive oil from their farm in Spain.
  • Wicklow Wolf had some great small-batch artisan beers
  • Cold-pressed organic fruit and vegetable juices from Maurer's Press
  • Gorgeous apple and spinach raw juice from McCormack family farms
  • My carnivorous family members enjoyed black and white pudding from the Kerry-based Leah's Gourmet Foods
  • We enjoyed gluten-free spirits made from 100% potato from the Cork-based St. Patrick's Distillery
  • Based in the Burren, Hazel Mountain Chocolate gave us a crash course in chocolate production, showing us a large cocoa pod and the beans which they import and grind themselves for all their products, each chocolate had all the complexity of a fine wine, really gorgeous
  • The lovely Amy at The White Hag had some really interesting beer flavours, including chocolate and coffee, they are based in Sligo and have a great business exporting to the States
  • Seymours of Cork had delicious biscuits baked using local butter and flours
  • Handmade marshmallows from Kilkenny in lots of flavours
  • The beguiling Biddy from Biddy's Cottage served us delicious oatcakes baked in the traditional manner, the oats were whole, not rolled, she has a cottage in Dalkey you can visit to try her oatcakes and hear some Irish lore by the fireside
If you are in Dublin this weekend I'd recommend a trip to Bite,
Have a good one, and check back here tomorrow to see who won my Clarion Hotel giveaway!
Nee x

*My family and I received free entry to the festival. All opinions are my own.

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