TASTEFEST CORK 2011
The sun blazed down as Cork’s inaugural Tastefest finished with a flourish in Fitzgerald’s Park on Sunday. Many families came out to support the food festival and at times there were buggy jams on the paths!
Fifteen of the county’s top restaurants and many local producers took the opportunity to showcase their wares while the drink and ice cream tents did a roaring trade in the heat. Some of the country’s top chefs took their turns in the Live Chefs Theatre while bands and solo performers added to the atmosphere.
I had missed the earlier days due to holidays but the buzz going around on Sunday, even before the opening, was that the Bryan McCarthy’s braised Feather Blade of beef at the Springfort Hall stand was unmissable. It was and his starter and dessert were also excellent.
That was the pattern with most of the 15 restaurants as they presented a line-up of starter, mains and dessert. Walked around that area a few times and most were busy. Collette and her Cornstore team were flying.
Great to meet Brendan and Carol from Augustine’s where I enjoyed a lovely dessert. Isaac’s next door were also busy as were Electric and Liberty Grill. The top city hotels were also doing their bit, none more so than Paul O’Connell and his crew at Hayfield Manor, doing a roaring trade with their Fish and Chips in a cone offering!
Got a bit mixed up with course as desserts sometimes preceded mains and in between there was a gorgeous ice-cream from Glenilen Farm and a cup of coffee from Cafe Gusto, black pudding from Jack and Timmy McCarthy plus spiced beef from Nash 19 and chocolate samples from Kerry’s Lorge.
Midleton’s Sage Restaurant were also represented but I just couldn’t get to sample something from everyone and missed out on the likes of Country Choice (who were highly recommended by their peers) and Ballymaloe (whose relish samples were flying out the door) but did manage to get some cheese from Cooleeney.
I think I’ll have to time my holidays better next year and get at least a couple of days at TasteFest. By the way, Fitzgerald’s Park looked very well for the event and Tastefest may well have the unintended effect of bringing more visitors back to the traditional venue.