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Taste the Atlantic at this year's Burren Slow Food Festival in May

The 2018 Burren Slow Food Festival, which takes place from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th May 2018, was officially launched in Dublin’s Klaw Seafood CafĂ© this week, by festival chairperson Birgitta Hedin Curtin, in collaboration with BIM and Failte Ireland Food Champion, Niall Sabongi. This is the 14th year of the festival which takes place in Co Clare and this year's theme is Taste the Atlantic – A Seafood Journey.

Birgitta Curtin, of the Burren Smokehouse, opened the launch saying, “As chairperson of the 2018 Burren Slow Food Festival, it is always an exciting process to engage with partners across Ireland and beyond to curate an interesting and invigorating programme which is aimed at attracting visitors to the beautiful Burren as well as piquing the interest of our local community." She added, "There is something for everyone from individuals to families and young and old and we look forward to welcoming you to Co Clare.”

“BIM’s Taste the Atlantic Seafood Trail developed in partnership with Failte Ireland is designed to celebrate our many dedicated seafood producers on the Wild Atlantic Way and to educate people on how Irish seafood is caught and farmed," said Richard Donnelly from BIM. "As a Taste the Atlantic producer and ambassador, Birgitta Hedin Curtin of the Burren Smokehouse produces exceptional Irish organic salmon products and understands the importance of supporting Irish seafood.  Clare is a region renowned for its shellfish farming with €79 million worth of oysters and mussels produced last year. This event is all about embracing and promoting Irish food and we are delighted to see seafood producers at the heart of the festival this year.”

PJ Hartnett (Failte Ireland), Niall Sabongi (Klaw), Sarah (9) Melissa O Connell (6), Birgitta Hedin Curtin (Chairperson of the Burren Slow Food Festival) and Richard Donnelly (BIM) at the launch of the 2018 Burren Slow Food Festival

Taste the Atlantic - a Seafood Journey’ was initially launched by BIM in partnership with Failte Ireland as a pilot on the ‘Bay Coast’ of the Wild Atlantic Way in 2015. Due to the success of the initiative, the trail was extended along the full Wild Atlantic Way route last year. The objective of Taste the Atlantic is to showcase 21 dedicated seafood producers and educate visitors along the route as to how Irish seafood is caught and farmed. All the dedicated seafood producers on the trail offer visitors an authentic food experience incorporating tours, talks and tastings of Ireland’s delicious oysters, mussels, salmon and more novel species including abalone at source.

In addition to the seafood supper, regular festival favourites return, namely the food and craft market and cookery demonstrations by renowned chefs including seafood aficionado Niall Sabongi and award winning cookbook author Trevis Gleason, who will also host a thirst quenching whiskey workshop.

Other highlights are an interactive talk with Kevin Thornton, who is regarded as one of Ireland's best chefs and the great philosopher of Irish food.  There will also be a presentation by archaeologist Dr Bill Schindler, UCD visiting assistant professor, which will delve into our culinary past and cooking habits.  The annual Burren Slow Food Banquet will take place in the Burren Storehouse in Lisdoonvarna and is one of the fastest selling events. 

Visit for up to date programme details and to buy tickets on line
and Follow their online Social media at:
Twitter: @slowfoodclare & #tastetheburren


Roast Leg of Irish Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce, Roasted Vegetables and Champ Potatoes

The smell of a roasting Spring Lamb, with garlic and rosemary, is one of those things that can take your mind back to your childhood and make your mouth water at the thought of it!

Easter Sunday was always a big occasion in our house when I was growing up as Lent was finally over and we hadn't eaten a sweet thing for the last 40 days! The history of the Easter Sunday Roast Lamb goes back to the biblical Passover of the Jewish people. A sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and herbs in the hope that the angel of God would "pass over" their home and bring no harm. Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God and as religions merged, lamb became the traditional meat for Easter Sunday.

Here's the recipe for a delicious roast leg of Irish Lamb with fresh homemade mint sauce, roasted vegetables and champ potatoes with real roast gravy. If you make all this for any Sunday dinner, you'll certainly impress your guests!

Roast Leg of Irish Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce, Roasted Vegetables and Champ Potatoes

1 Leg of Lamb - off the bone and rolled ask your butcher. (2kg (4lb) weight will feed around 8 people)
6 cloves of fresh Garlic
1 bunch of fresh Rosemary
50g Butter
Freshly ground black pepper & Sea Salt

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place the Leg of Lamb on a roasting tray.

Score the leg of lamb with a sharp knife making 5mm deep incisions through the skin and push the garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary into the cuts in the meat. Rub the butter all over the leg and sprinkle liberally with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

Cover in tin foil and cook the lamb for about 1 hour 20 minutes. Spoon the juices over the meat every half hour. 20 minutes per pound (1/2 kg) will give you a lovely pink medium-cooked meat - but adjust the timing to how you like your own meat cooked. Take the tin foil off for the last half hour to crisp up the skin.

When it's cooked, transfer the lamb to another tray and cover it with a clean dish cloth, to rest for about 10 minutes, before you cut it. This allows all the muscle to relax and keeps the meat really juicy and tender.

Real Roast Gravy
To make the gravy, place the roasting tray on top of the stove over a moderate heat, use a scraper to lift all the tasty residues off the bottom of the tray and let the juices caramelise a little for about 1 minute. Add a pint of boiling water. Bring this back to the boil over the heat and let it reduce down by 30%. Sprinkle a little flour on to the tray and whisk it in to the juices. Let it bubble away for another minut and this will thicken up the gravy. You can add a drop of Browning, if you wish. Strain the gravy into a warm serving jug.

Fresh Mint Sauce
50g  finely chopped fresh Mint
2 tablespoons white Sugar
2 tablespoons Vinegar
75ml Water
3 tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon juice

Combine the water, sugar, vinegar & lemon juice in a small pot and bring back to the boil. Cook for 1 minute until the liquid thickens slightly and then add the chopped mint. Turn off the heat, let it sit for 10 minutes and then pour it into a serving jar and refrigerate until required.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables
400g each of carrots, parsnip, turnip, sweet potato - peeled and chopped into chunks
2 red onions, peeled and cut into eight
Olive oil
Sea Salt and freshly-ground black Pepper

Put the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a little Honey. Season with sea salt and pepper and toss about to coat them. Transfer them to a roasting tin and spread out into a single layer. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until cooked.

Champ Potatoes
Simply add some chopped scallions, salt, a little white pepper and some real butter to mashed potatoes, to make Champ Potatoes, and serve with your Roast Lamb!

Enjoy & Happy Easter!

WIN a signed copy of "Donegal Table - Delicious Everyday Cooking" by Chef Brian McDermott

This Wednesday, 7th March 2018, sees the Official Launch of a fabulous new Irish Cookbook!

"Donegal Table - Delicious Everyday Cooking", written by Chef Brian McDermott and published by O'Brien Press, brings together a collection of real Irish family recipes that is sure to inspire a whole new generation of modern home cooks.

"Donegal Table - Delicious Everyday Cooking" by Chef Brian McDermott

Brian McDermott, from Moville in County Donegal, is one of the most sought-after Irish chefs on the national food festival circuit in Ireland, as the guiding hand that acts as Master of Ceremonies at the biggest Food Festivals in the country, including Taste of Dublin, Taste of Cavan, Taste of Donegal. He is the National Dairy Council's official chef demonstrator at events such as Bloom in the Park, the National Ploughing Championships and many more.

Chef Brian McDermott launches his new Cook Book on Wednesday 7th March

After working as a chef for over twenty five years in the hospitality industry, Brian decided to make a career change and is now recognised in foodie circles here as "the most versatile chef in Ireland". Brian is a regular guest chef on RTE and BBC television and radio. He also runs a very successful cookery school in Moville and works as a food consultant with some of the biggest food companies on the island of Ireland!

Donegal Lamb and Barley Hotpot from Donegal Table

Brian believes that tasty, healthy food based around local produce is something every family should be able to make and enjoy. In this new cook book "Donegal Table", Brian shares his own passion for real food made by real people and includes classic recipes along with modern versions of old favourites. The book is a collection of achievable, affordable and accessible recipes. There’s something for everyone to try.

Pan fried Hake with buttered Leeks and Poached Egg

Brian's home county of Donegal is renowned for the quality of its amazing seafood and local produce. Those superb local ingredients are what inspire Brian every day and are perfectly showcased in the recipes in "Donegal Table". There are seperate sections in the book on Cooking Seafood, One Pot Wonders, Baking and Breads, traditional Potato dishes, Desserts and a special one on Kids Meals.

Brian's Pear and Almond Tart from his new Cookbook

Brian tells the story behind every dish, takes you through his basic Store Cupboard requirements and explains how to capitalise on wonderful produce available from your own local butcher. There is even a section in the book entitled Cooking & Craic, were Chef Brian shows the reader how to create some of the most amazing sharing and party food like Whiskey-Glazed Chicken Wings, Porky Pies and Racks of Ribs to Die for!

With a wonderful and personal Foreword by Chef Neven Maguire from McNean House & Restaurant and superb food photography from Zita & Rob at A Fox in the Kitchen, this new Irish Cook Book really is a must for anyone who loves real Irish food!

Brian McDermott is a true gentleman, a great chef, a real professional and he's good craic too! I look forward to joining him and his family and friends to celebrate the launch  of his new cook book, Donegal Table, this Wednesday 7th March, at the Redcastle Hotel, in Inishowen, County Donegal.

To help celebrate the launch, we have a competition to win a signed copy of Chef Brian McDermott's new cookbook, "Donegal Table - Delicious Everyday Cooking", right here on the Irish Food Guide blog!

To Enter simply Like Brian McDermott's Facebook Page and leave him a quick message

or Follow Brian McDermott on Twitter and send him a quick tweet!

You can even do both to double your chances of winning Brian's new cookbook!

The Winner will be announced next Friday 9th March on our social media so follow the Irish Food Guide too to keep up to date with even more Irish Food News.

Brian's new Cookbook is also available to buy, priced €19.99 + delivery,

So get your copy of Donegal Table and Get Cooking!


The Wild Atlantic Way is the world's Longest Coastal Route

The Irish Food Guide is...

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The Irish Food Guide Blog includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

It is written & curated by Zack C. Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

“My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 30 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

Zack is building a Food Tourism Network, with food tourism partners all over the island of Ireland, to connect guests with artisan Irish food producers, so they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food Visit