What a great May Bank Holiday it has been, but what a busy one too. Despite having lots of plans last weekend, most of which were in West Cork, I took a detour on Saturday morning down to the Ballymaloe Literary Festival as I really didn’t want to miss it. I only had an hour as I had to be in Schull that afternoon, so I decided to make an hour’s pit stop for lunch. I unfortunately didn’t fit in any talks, which is a shame as I wanted to see Michelle Darmody’s talk on self-publishing among others, but it was still a great spot for an hours lunch.
Ballymaloe converted a big old shed of their’s into a space filled with farmer’s market style stalls, but it was obvious how high Ballymaloe set the standard for what the stalls should look like. Walking into The Big Shed was like walking into a foodie fairytale! All the stalls were dressed in ivy and flower garlands, there was a magical play area for kids, a book stall selling favourite cookbooks, and a graffiti artist spraying out images of much loved Irish food culture.
I ended up going for a savoury galette with smoked salmon, cream cheese, herbs and beautiful unusual dressings, but I also helped my Dad finish off his BBQ from Gubbeen smokehouse… obviously! I also stocked up on treats for the weekend: king oyster and shiitake mushrooms from Ballyhoura farm, Porcini dust and a delicious salad from the Rocket Man. It was such a beautiful sunny day, that I wished I could have stayed longer. Alas, next year I’ll keep a full day free to come down and enjoy the festival. It was visually stunning and the programme of events was world class. Trust Darina Allen to pull off the best food festival in Ireland, with world class chefs, speakers, demos and events while staying true to her ethos of supporting local and artisan Irish food producers!