Kilkenny on Parade!Food Festival to Savour.
|Pascal, Colm and Caroline.|
No doubt Kilkenny hosted many a scrap in its medieval days but a fight of a different kind was in progress on the Parade when we arrived on Saturday. Beer, led by Caroline Hennessy of Eight Degrees Brewing, and Wine, fronted by Colm McCan, award winning sommelier at Ballymaloe, were the protagonists.
A few low blows were struck but it was all good tasty fun. No glasses were smashed though there was quite a rush to empty the beer before the wine arrived. Some terrific French wines from Pascal Rossignol's Le Caveau (Colm also works with him) but perhaps the pairing of the joust (eventually declared a draw by Colm, who craftily took the refereeing role as well) was the Porter Brownies and the Eight Degrees Knockmealdown Porter, a personal triumph for Caroline who baked the brownies!
One of the beers shown by Caroline was Costelloe's Red Ale and we continued our introduction to that in the tent next door where quite a few craft brewers were showing. Joe McNamee was our guide here and we ended up at the White Gypsy stand, sampling their Fresh Hopped Ale and the more serious Dunkel Black Lager.
|Clockwise from top right: White Gypsy's Dunkel Black Lager;|
Joe McNamee, Catherine Cleary and John Healy.
Now another “Battle” loomed and McNamee would be humourously prominent here. The question posed at the Main Demo tent was: Can the Critics Cook? McNamee was one of the critics and Catherine Cleary the other. They each got five ingredients and were able to select various bits and pieces from a well stocked table to help them come up with a cooked plateful.
John Healy, of TV’s The Restaurant, acted as compere and sometimes as agent provocateur but failed to rattle either of the two cool customers at the cooking stations. An entertaining hour ended with four judges mounting the platform and sampling the two finished dishes. The verdict? Yes, these critics can cook. Well done Joe and Catherine.
Time too to get around and see some of the many stalls lined up on the Parade, even time for a short stroll in the castle grounds. Then it was back to base - the lovely Rosquil House on the Castlecomer Road - and a break before heading out later on to a terrific meal at a packed Zuni in the town centre. Great finish to a lovely day!