If you are going to Taste of Dublin for the first time in your life, there are a few things you should know.
I was at the main Dublin food and beverage event yesterday afternoon thanks to the kind invitation from Caitriona Redmond
(Incidentally, Caitriona is working there at the Flogas/Dunbrody bbq area. Go to say hello to her if you want to try Kevind Dundon’s dishes or want to enter the competition to win a hamper or a bbq).
I had a great time in the Iveagh Gardens. There is a lively and relaxed atmosphere and there is plenty of things to see and to taste.
— Skittikio (@skittikio_ie) June 17, 2016
On the other hand, Taste of Dublin is not cheap. The entrance ticket goes from 20 to 35 euro. Moreover, as Orla Cauldfield observed on her blog, on top of it, you have to pay for the food you want to taste through a voucher system called “florin” that is not exactly visitor-friendly.
So, you should better have a clear plan before going to the festival, or at least clearer than mine. For example, I had no idea that the general program was organized in “sessions” and that one ticket is valid for one session only. So, if you go there in the afternoon at a certain time the staff will ask you to leave for the break. If you want, you can come back after a couple of hours for the evening session (and pay a new ticket, of course!)
Actually, it was my fault. I clearly did not read carefully the Taste of Dublin website. Wha can I say in my defence? I am used to a different style of logistic in food events. In Italy, the whole idea behind food events is about to create a flow of visitors that will spend the all day and evening (and all their money) on the place. So, you don’t send them away, no matter what. Never.
This time was a bit different. For this reason my visit lasted only a couple of hours. But it’s ok. I had a lot of fun and had the chance to discover a good number of new Irish products.
Anyway, if you don’t want to repeat my mistakes and make the most of Taste of Dublin, follow my 8 tips and you will not get lost.
1) Plan your visit: check what restaurants are present at the current edition and, once you are in, go straightforward to restaurant stalls. The restaurants are the main attraction of the event. And this is a unique opportunity to try their cuisine. So don’t be distracted by music and performances. Life is short and the time at Taste, as well. Make a wishlist and follow it. Do the same for exhibitors. You can also get a look at their social media accounts. They often announce via Twitter/Facebook what’s their special menu for the event.
2)Define a budget: consider that a (small) main is priced between 5 and 9 euro and the same range goes for wine and beer. So, calculate a proper budget according to your wishlist, including also the money for the products you want to bring home.
3) Print your map: contrary to ubiquitous Florin sellers, no one is distributing a paper version of the map of the event. So print your map at home. Otherwise, everytime you will look for a specific stall you will have to find for a totem with a map, first.
4) Study the cooking demo program: they are included in the ticket price. Check out the program for the most prestigious chefs and go to take your seat quite early. It doesn’t happen everyday to learn from high end teachers. Decide what session you want to attend, consequently.
5) Bring a big shopping bag. Everybody gives you tons of gadgets, food samples, recipes ecc. If you don’t have a bag to store all this, after a few minutes you will turn yourself in a juggling octopus.
6) Ask for sample tasting: this is particularly useful for wine. You don’t want to loose your precious Florins for a wine that doesn’t deserve it.
7) Travel with your tastebuds: Taste of Dublin is not only about local food. There is space for foreign cuisine as well. Take the chance to try new dishes and flavours. This year there was a lot of stalls from Spain and Thailand.
8) Wear comfortable shoes: stilettos are not exactly the best on gravel or grass. I have seen more than a lady struggling with heels and the Iveagh Gardens floor.
So, this year for me was more an explorative visit (and this list is actually a note to self for next year).
But even the quick exploration was nothing bad.
I fell in love for The Little Milk Co. products. Their tasting platter was divine and the mature Cheddar and the new bluecheese deserves a special mention.
Speaking about cheese, after so much time looking for it, I had the chance to taste the Toonsbridge Caciocavallo. This stretched curd cheese, traditionally from the South of Italy, is produced in Cork with local milk. There are different options (Dulce, Piccante and Cacio Occhiato). My preference was definitely for the Piccante.
With all this cheese, my friend and I needed something to refresh our mouth. After a very careful sequence of tasting, our choice went happily on this Pinot Grigio produced by Cantina Tramin and sold by Wines on the Green.
And our choice could not be better rewarded. It was a fresh and delicate glass balanced with a full flavour that served as very good march with our cheese.
After a short glance at the Italy-Sweden football match, it was the time of something sweet. And just in time before the end of the session, we passed by the very elegant stall of Le petite parisien.
As you can see our visit at Taste of Dublin ended with a certain style.
We would have enjoyed some coffee as well, but the time was too short.
We will see next year!Tags: beer, caciocavallo, cheese, dublin, event, festival, food, le petit parisien, little mike, taste, taste of dublin, taste2016, tasteofdublin2016, The little milk co., toonsbridge, wine