Showing posts with label food fair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food fair. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Packed Aisles at Cork Kerry Food Fair

Packed Aisles at Cork Kerry Food Fair
Left to right: Sam of Cloudberry Bakery, Crisp makers Sandra and John,
Just Food's Deirdre,and Maurice of Ballyhoura Apple.

Fish seemed to be the main theme as I worked my way through the packed aisles of Monday's Cork Kerry Food Fair, that followed the morning’s forum, in the City Hall. Not surprising that the seas featured so much considering that the two counties have such a long coastline between them.

Let’s start in the east, in Youghal where Yawl Bay Seafoods have set a high standard. They are well known for their smoked fish products, especially smoked salmon, but the one I tasted at the City Hall was their Cooked Irish Crab Claws. Very good indeed. Worth watching out for in their distinctive packages, the map of Ireland prominent in the design.

Just across the aisle I met the family behind Beara Seafoods. Their tasty Mussel Bites were going down well with the punters.
Those of you who eat out every now and then will probably have noticed Irish Shellfish Butter in your dish, maybe in the likes of Fenns Quay or The Weir (at the River Lee Hotel) And not just at home. This amazing product is now being used by top chefs abroad, including one that pairs it with snails. Director James Grimes tells me the ingredients are Organic Shellfish, foraged Dillisk and pure Irish grass-fed creamery butter, all 100% natural. Get your hands on some of this amazing and very versatile product.

The well established Ummera Smokery also had a stand where Anthony Cresswell was under pressure trying to keep up with the demands for his products which include smoked fish (such as salmon) and poultry (duck and chicken).

James Grimes of IASC

The fish theme continued even into the cheese stalls, of which there were quite a few. You know, from a previous post, that I’m partial to Carrigaline Cheese and that was convincly confirmed again when I tasted their Dillisk Cheese. Gorgeous stuff. Other top cheeses on show included Coolea, Durrus and Ardsallagh. The region is amazingly blessed with the quantity and quality of its cheesemakers.

And if Munster people love their fish and cheese, they also adore their sweet things. There were cookies with delicious toppings from Sam and her Cloudberry Bakery. You’ll be able to order online soon but in the meantime, their sweet things are available at the Food Emporium in Brown Thomas. Check out their Facebook page for up to date news and other outlets.

Gorgeous offerings too from Midleton's Bite Size (loved their Portuguese Custard Tart), from O’Conaill’s Chocolate of Carrigaline (can recommend that big creamy bar with cranberries!) and also from Killarney Toffee (much more than plain toffee!).

It wouldn't be Ireland without a bag of crisps. Meant to get a pack of Joe’s Farm Crisps in Midleton last Saturday but drove home without them. No forgetting this time and I have a big brown bag of Beetroot, Parsnip and Carrot crisps on the desk alongside me right now. The crisps are grown and cooked by Sandra Burns at Ballycurraginny Farm in Killeagh and the farm has a regular stand in markets such as Mahon and Midleton.

There was a nod also to the healthy side of eating with Bio Salt prominent. This salt, infused with Irish Kelp (can’t get away from the sea!), is said to have 68 per cent less sodium than regular salt. But you’ll have to wait for it as it won't be on sale until September. Had a few tasters in the City Hall and it certainly seems to have much of the flavour of regular salt.

Clockwise from top left: Coolea, Wicked Desserts, Durrus, Bite Size.

And then there was McCarthy’s Natural Dairy and their well known Lemon Labneh. Now, in conjunction with the Rocket Man, they have some different flavours. I particularly enjoyed the pistachio. Check out these and their other nautural products on their Facebook link.

While it was great to see newcomers making their mark, it was a delight also to meet some of the more established producers such as McCarthy Butchers of Kanturk. Timmy proudly told me they are exporting their Biroldo to Germany. Next it will be Italy! McCarthy's were close to On the Pig’s Back and the ever courteous Isabelle Sheridan, one of the ladies of which local food can be so proud.

Another is Deirdre Hilliard, the founder of Just Food in Cobh in 2004. Check out the site to read all about her widely available soups, made from organic produce. The company, with its kitchens in Rushbrooke, is a shining example for many of the newcomers.

I didn't get to all the stands, sometimes the crowds were just too much. Sorry if I didn't reach you but I’m sure we’ll meet up again at a local farmers market or at another fair like this.

After all the talking and walking, it was time for lunch and I found that just across the road in L’Atitude 51 where a hearty smoked salmon sandwich and a bowl of soup (spinach and potato from Horizon Farms) cost a very reasonable seven euro.

Read, in the press release below, how your local food producers is creating jobs, lots of them!

300 New Jobs To Be Created As A Result Of Irish Food Startups Getting Listings In Their Local SuperValu Stores Through Food Academy Start Programme
·      More than 300 jobs are being created in food business startups as a result of the Food Academy Start programme,  a collaborative initiative between the Local Enterprise Offices,  Bord Bia and SuperValu;

read more..