I’m turning into the kind of person who will go to great lengths for a good meal. Last month I drove 3 hours north to Inishowen just to eat at Harrys Restaurant in Co. Donegal, and 2 weeks ago I drove 3 hours south to Dungarvan to go to the Waterford Festival of Food. I was only there for 24 hours, lured down by plans for dinner at the O’Brien Chop House and a bus tour to a microbrewery and oyster farm, but I managed to fit in a lot of good food.
I arrived late to Food Camp on the Friday, but still in time to sample some of Brock’s coffee from his boutique artisan coffee roasting business, Badger & Dodo, followed by lunch, where Niamh couldn’t resist making a classic Irish sandwich — Tayto crisps on a buttered Waterford blaa (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!). After a lively panel discussion on routes to market for artisan Irish food, a group of about 20 people made their way to nearby Lismore for dinner at the O’Brien Chop House, where the rhubarb and apple Bellini was worth the 3-hour drive alone.
After a gourmet breakfast at Powersfield House B&B (the owner, Eunice Power, is a caterer), it was an early start after a late night the next day for a bus tour to Dungarvan Brewing Company to hear about how their microbrew beers are made and have a sample (at 10:30 in the morning? why not!). After that we went across the bay to Dungarvan Shellfish, where Jim Harty proudly told us about his thriving family-run oyster farm, with yet more samples, this time of fresh Irish oysters, brown bread and a glass of white wine at the slightly more respectable hour of 11 a.m. The last stop on the Bus Bia tour was a fish cooking demo in a parish hall in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region), which finished with tea, coffee and cakes made by the local Irish Countrywomen’s Association. When we arrived back in Dungarvan, a group of 9 of us bloggers headed straight for the best restaurant in town for lunch — The Tannery — not really expecting to get a table but delighted when we did, where almost all of us ordered their signature starter, the crab creme brulée. By then I was starting to regret not staying for the second night (which I definitely did regret the next day when reading everyone’s tweets about the fantastic farmers’ market on the Sunday), but I was happy to have The Daily Spud for company this time on the long drive back, talking about food all the way.