So what started out as a few bloggers going to visit Harry's restaurant, became about 60 foodies, producers, farmers and chefs descending on the Inishowen Peninsula. It was a packed 2 days (it would have been 3 had the weather not failed us!) Filled with demos, tastings, lunches, dinners, coffees, drinks and the tasting of fresh blood!
The man that no one will argue was the driving force behind the weekend was Donal Doherty of Harry's restaurant. He made everyone equally welcome and seemed justifiably excited in the shared enthusiasm of everyone there for this ethos and ideas of how we should eat.
The atmosphere and tone of the weekend was unbridled enthusiasm and positivity, which in recent times is like a refreshing jump in the cold Atlantic - yeouch! The occasion made you feel like you would look back at this weekend in the years to come and say - yes I was there! The simple and very straight forward fact is that we have such a rich and fantastic island here - we should eat as much that comes from it's soils for a multitude of reasons. Supporting our farmers, keeping money on our shores, keeping carbon emissions down, freshness, this list could go on and on. Donal used the term locavorism, a term he really takes seriously in the running of his restaurant, using meat and produce from his closest neighbors.
On a more personal level, recently I have become slightly disillusioned with the blog. A point that arrives in each bloggers life where you think "Do you know what I don't think anyone reads this?" A little down at heel I got myself all the way up to Donegal. Now re-inspired by a wealth of local producers and farmers, who all seemed keen and interested in the bloggers and the work that we do. Donal during his introduction to the walled garden community project, he said that bloggers were responsible for spreading the word. The weekend told me no don't give up, what you do is important to people outside the blogging community.
Now to do a quick pictorial run through of the weekend - get ready to drool!
|Men of the moment - Donal of Harry's and Darren Bradley - self named Pizza Guy|
|Colin from L Mulligans Grocer loves his beer|
|Ed Hick gets down to business|
|Jack Mc Carthy - you can't hide behind that pudding!|
|Theatrical Shots of the Puddings|
|McCarthy of Kanturk Award Winning Pudding|
|The Happy Butchers!|
|Pretty Lichen is bad for the fruit trees|
|A Man with a Vision!|
|Whippet on the Wall|
|Selection of pates and toasted brioche|
|Butter we made earlier|
|Breaded Langoustine, Salt Cod and Greencastle Scampi|
|Pollack with Thai Spices, seaweed crisp and|
sweet pepper sauce
|Beef Shin Ravioli with horseradish Sauce on wild garlic|
|Venison Carpaccio, Mc Carthys pistahio, mint and chocolate black |
pudding & Venison Confit with Hazelnut Crust
|Football Special Panna Cotta, Buttermilk Ice-cream|
& deconstructed cheesecake with Yeats Country