Posts Tagged ‘Seamus Sheridan’

The first/inaugural Galway Food Festival is taking place this weekend.  For weeks now we’ve been watching as the plans and agenda for the weekend has developed.

Then, of course, family stuff got in the way and we thought we wouldn’t be able to go!  Disappointed!

However, at the eleventh hour we got a chance…. family aren’t arriving until Sunday, so Saturday morning we had a quick look on line to see what was happening in Galway, and spotted two debates we wanted to attend.

Quick dash about and we were ready to head off.

The two ‘debates’ we wanted to attend were one on GM and the other was entitled The Role of Blogging and Social Media in Food Culture.

We arrived just in time for the GM debate, which wasn’t really a debate in that the organisers could not locate someone to come and argue the pro-GM side.  I wonder why?

Seamus Sheridan

Seamus Sheridan who is now the Green Party’s spokesperson on Agriculture gave his views on GM – putting forward that it is hard to be totally against GM when we are sitting in a first world country and if GM can produce a flood resistant rice that will feed millions in a third world country – have we the right to stop it?

He also put forward the argument that GM can be beneficial in the medical industry.

There were others that joined in the discussion, but as no-one introduced themselves, I cannot tell you who they were.  It was a very short period of time to discuss such a major issue, and some aspects of GM were skirted around.  It would have been good to have more hard facts discussed.

The bottom line for people seemed to be

  1. the ethical issue,
  2. the biodiversity issue,
  3. the ‘unknown’ facts.

The room was packed to the gills with people who, I believe, were already on the ‘no to gmo’ side, as a lot of nodding in agreement was going on.  Where will it all go from here?  I don’t know.  Will those who were there make their views heard?  I hope so.

Next up was the debate around ‘social media and blogging’.  The panel for this debate was made up of JP McMahon of Cava Restaurant,  bloggers Mona from Wisewords and Anne Marie from Warm&Snug&Fat and, finally, a chap called Richie – whose site I didn’t catch, but who encourages restaurants to use social media.

WarmSnugFat, Richie, WiseWords

The topics covered ranged from food/restaurant critiquing, Trip Advisor, dealing with negative comments, the role of blogging for restaurants and food producers, the ability to connect with suppliers and customers alike via social media.

There was very little interaction from the audience which was a pity, I felt.

If I could make suggestions to the Galway Food Festival committee for next year’s event, and I am sure there will be an event next year.

  • It might be nice for any speakers at these debates to be asked to introduce themselves before they make their point.
  • And in the case of the second debate I attended, it would have been convenient to put the names of the panel on the powerpoint with the names of the blogs/sites.  (There were whispered questions along the back row for such information 🙂 )

Once the debates were over it was time for some fun.

We managed to have a lovely chat with Mona, The Chef and the kids…. hearing all about tooth fairies and the fear of teeth not growing back!

Then it was time for a wander around the stalls and grab a quick (very late) lunch, so what better than some lovely sausages from Castlemine…. they were very delicious – almost as good as our own 🙂

Castlemine Farm Shop Sign

It was wonderful to see such vibrancy and a terrific buzz about Galway, and so many people out and about enjoying and talking about food.

Galway Food Festival

Don’t you just love this little table top bbqs?

Sunday was spent with family, and today, Easter Monday is a slow day!

Hope you’ve had a good Easter and enjoyed your weekend. 🙂

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This past weekend has been a busy one!

Saturday saw the first ever Totally Tipp event take place in Cloughjordan which is about 15 minutes away from us.  The idea behind it all was to showcase what is available in Tipperary.  There were food stalls, a cookery demonstration tent, a ‘milk’ tent – where there were demonstrations on making butter and cheese.  I had so wanted to learn how to make cheese – there was a demo on making mozzarella and ricotta, but they clashed with other things! I still haven’t managed bi-location!  Imen from I Married an Irish Farmer was there doing her butter-making demonstration which I had learned so much about in Inishowen.

There was a meat tent – where you could learn how to butcher a lamb or pig, or watch how black pudding is made.  Then there was the Cultivate Tent – and this is where I spent a lot of time!

The Cultivate Tent had discussions going on all day on so many different topics.  The two I managed to sit in on were the “Business Opportunities of Organic, Artisan and Local Food” which was chaired by Ollie Moore, and had Seamus Sheridan of Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Stiofan Nutty and Mairin Byrne of Inch House speaking.  All spoke so passionately and were so willing to share their knowledge – thank you.

Seamus Sheridan and Stiofan Nutty

A synopsis of the discussion – there are opportunities in Organic food production – especially into Europe.  Education is the key to teaching people about shopping local and supporting local producers.

Bobby Kerr from the Dragon’s Den also joined at the end – his message was there is no point in taking on the multiples – you’ve got to learn to work with them!

I also popped in to listen to some of the discussion on ‘Raw Milk’ –  now that was getting quite heated!

Discussion on Raw Milk

Again like everything else there are ‘perceptions’ out there….. I think in the end it comes down to labelling.  Why can’t Raw Milk have a label on it and let people decide for themselves if they want to buy/use it!  People are intelligent enough to make their own decisions – the government does not need to legislate.  A similar argument can be made with regard to ‘artisan’, ‘free-range’ etc.  It is all about words – and the perceptions that develop around those words but I could be here all night discussing that whole subject!

Other highlights of the day were the cookery demonstrations given by food bloggers – some of them doing so for the very first time! Well done ladies you did well.  Their remit was to use local produce …. there were some very interesting recipes which of course I’ve come home with and am looking forward to trying out!

I sat in to watch Kirstin of Dinnerdujour prepare a Sweet Chilli Sausages with a tomato, chilli and coriander sauce.  Doesn’t that sound nice?  I am definitely trying that later in the week!

Kristin from dinnerdujour

I missed out on seeing Nessa from Nessa’s Family Kitchen’s demonstration – that clashed with the Artisan Food discussion.  Sorry Nessa!

Joanna from Smorgasblog did a wonderful combination of chicken breast stuffed with Inch House black pudding.  I came home with some Inch House Black Pudding so now all I need are some chicken fillets! 🙂

Yvonne from Hey Pesto! did a variation of the Deluxe Sausage Pasta which has become a staple here! In fact we are had it for dinner tonight.  Yvonne used Mediterranean sausages and added some wine to the recipe. Yvonne also cooked up some of her famous canapes… all of which looked totally delicious!

Yvonne from Hey Pesto!

Canapes from Hey Pesto!

Theresa from The Green Apron was there, we had a short time to catch up on market news but she had some of her Raspberry and Chocolate Jam, which, of course, I came home with.

I met with Gillian from Chocolate Here who had brought me some absolutely wonderful chili truffles – they were last night’s dessert.

Wendy from My Chef at Home had travelled down to attend, so Gillian, Wendy and I had an impromptu picnic lunch together.

And in the middle of all the activity I also got to meet Karen to pass on my surplus aubergine plants… it’s all about sharing really! 🙂

I also met with lots of friends and neighbours – there was Mag from Goatsbridge, Ella from Your Field, My Fork, Mary from Williamsferry B&B – who invited us to dinner that evening! And what a lovely dinner it was too!  And, not the only man I met there but Mark from Consult Mark was along, and we had a quick chance to catch up on news.

And the day finished off with me finally (I had been trying power of positive thinking all day!!!) winning…. this….

me with my new hand blender

Then yesterday (Sunday) we had a lovely visit from another ‘virtual’ friend Colette @Katzwizkaz and her husband, who stayed and had an impromptu lunch – and left to head back to Louth as ‘real’ friends.

All in all a totally tip top weekend!

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