Friday, 24 June 2011

Taste of Dublin

Taste of Dublin was my latest day out last weekend. Taste happens from Thursday to Sunday. The Saturday and Sunday are divided into two sessions. I found that a bit off putting as these kind of things are usually a day out. On the other hand the bars are open all day so its probably best.
We arrived by taxi outside the National Concert Hall. The venue, the Iveagh gardens are hidden in behind! Its very much the secret gardens! Not even our taxi man (a Dublin city man) knew exactly where the entrance is. No point relying on signage either as there was virtually none!
On entering the first thing to do is change some yo-yos into the Taste currency 'Florens'. Its one euro = one floren so there's no confusion.
Sampling the food!
And then it was onto the fun part of the day! The food sampling! There were stands from dozens of different food producers around the country. Some very well known and some lesser. Any stand that was serving freshly cooked sausages was mobbed! The wine bars were giving away samples to and you could then buy it by the glass or bottle. It was very amusing seeing these very glamorous ladies dolled up to the nines, designer hand bag under one arm and open bottle of wine under the other! 
The lovely Donal Skehan working the kitchen!
The resturant area was packed for the entire day. Many of the fine dining establishments of the capital were represented. they each had a sample menu of three to four items and you could have a little taster for 7 florens. I was a bit surprised to hear people giving out about the price, they seemed to miss the fact that to go for a meal in a lot of these places costs a fair few shillin's! My favourite part of the event was the chefs kitchen demos. All the top names were there making cooking look easy. I wasn't fooled though...if the sauce doesn't come in a jar don't expect me to cook it! Donal Skehan, the youngest celeb chef on the block was effortlessly charming the audience. The ladies loved him and there was many a 'isn't he just gorgeous' and 'he can cook in my kitchen anyday' comments floating around. Martin Shanahan, of  RTE 'Fishy Fish' fame, was great, giving practical advice and showing how genuinely easy fish is to cook. Considering we have great fishing all around our shores its great to see people enthusiastic about fish. 
Martin and Mise

Because of Martin I now eat a variety of fish and now realise that battered cod from the local chippie is not really the top end of fish dining! 
 Nevin Maguire, Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio were a few of the other names on the bill but the star of the show was definitely Italian stallion Gino D'acampo. He could have had the ladies literally eating out of his hands if he wanted! I dont know whether his demonstration or the audience reaction was more entertaining! 
Fabulous food, fabulous music!

Whether you are a bon vivant, or like me don't know a lot about food other then I like to eat it, I would recommend a trip to Taste. Its amazingly refreshing to see Irish food companies doing well in the face of the food giants, it reinforces the sense of pride I have in this country. In saying that I went home accompanied by two of my favorite Canadian men, Ben & Jerry.

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