Friday, May 23, 2014

The Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine: food for thought, food for the soul and lots and lots of food to eat

I'm so sorry to have been missing in action for the past while. I had the enormous pleasure (and privilege) of attending Ballymaloe Literary Festival last weekend and have been playing catch up (and recovering!) ever since.

The festival was a wonderful celebration of all that is good about food. It featured illustrious chefs such as René Redzepi, Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamini, Simon Hopkinson and the awe-inspiring Diana Kennedy. Food writers including Tom Parker Bowles, Joanna Blythman and John McKenna featured too as did food activist and fermentation expert Sandor Katz and food producers from all over Ireland such as the Diva BakerySilver Darling herrings and the Ferguson family with their Gubbeen cheeses, meats and more.

Food journalist Joanna Blythman
The doyenne of Mexican food and an inspiration to us all: Diana Kennedy
And that's just to list very few of the many inspiring people and personalities that played a part in what proved to be a very special weekend...

The highlights for me were:
1: Attending the Sunday morning talk with Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamini and Ariana Bundy. Sometimes people complicate food too much, focussing overly on the nutritional aspect and what's good for you and what isn't or on creating a fine dining experience that is far removed from the simple pleasure of eating food.
Not these three. For an hour and a half on Sunday morning, they spoke warmly about what food means to them, how it connects them to their families and where they come from, how much they love eating and the joy they take in cooking for others. 
They reminded me of why I decided to open my own café and inspired me to continue my journey in food - wherever it takes me next.

2: A Sunday lunch in Ballymaloe House cooked by Rowley Leigh. The ajo blanco (almond and garlic) soup served with melon balls is the best thing I've tasted this year and I can't imagine anything beating its fresh and exciting flavours.

3: Bringing a smile to Simon Hopkinson's face when I told him that his were the recipes I trusted above all others. (I've never cooked a recipe of his that didn't exceed expectations and was pleased to get the chance to tell him so.)
4: Meeting so many wonderful people and creating new connections in the ever growing and always exciting world of food in Ireland.

See you next year, Ballymaloe, I'll definitely be back!

Follow on Bloglovin 


  1. Lovely to see you - albeit briefly - on the Sunday. What a weekend!

  2. Great to see you too, Caroline! It was a weekend of all too brief encounters, hugely enjoyable nevertheless :)