Lee Valley Enterprise Board created this website to promote all aspects of the town of Macroom and the beautiful Lee Valley in which it lies. Here you will find information about the business and enterprises of the area, the schools and clubs that provide education and recreation for its people and news of the people themselves in the Lee Valley Outlook pages.
The Army Band of the Southern Command add a wonderful music ingredient to Macroom Food Festival © Lee Valley Outlook
Macroom Food Festival, in its third year, is now firmly established. The 2014 extravaganza, again blessed with suitable weather, exceeded all expectations. Stall holders for the main event, the Sunday Food Market, were on site from 8a.m. and were doing a lively business even before the official opening time of 11a.m. The organisers continue to learn and this time round the colourful stalls were neatly laid out in the Square and along the street, while the stage, the children's amusements and the cook out tent were central but did not interfere with commercial enterprise.
Two showers, one at noon and one at 3p.m., failed to dampen spirits and, for the most part, the throng of foodies and families enjoyed beautiful sunshine and the best of food, drink, music and company. The music was provided by the Army Band of the Southern Command. They played for more than an hour and brought a touch of class to the occasion. Their enthralled audience showed appreciation of every number while children danced with joy on the street. By 5 o'clock many of the stalls had sold all their produce. Children enjoyed a magic show, Cork Circus Street Theatre Extravaganza, the carousel, Kids Rides, face painting etc. and a general feeling of wellbeing was about.And then, to make matters better, news filtered through that Cork Ladies had again won the All Ireland by a whisker!
Time was when meat, potatoes and two veg – very well cooked – satisfied most Irish palates at dinnertime. But the ever increasing sophistication of diners' tastebuds was nowhere more evident than at the Artisan Affair at the Riverside Park Hotel, which launched Macroom's 3rd annual Food Festival.
Twelve courses, presented by twelve restaurants and food providers from the area, included everything from olives to cheese, fish, salads, meats, chowder and delicious desserts. It is said that too many cooks spoil the broth. But, in this instance, a bouquet garni of chefs worked in harmony and even hilarity, in the military style production of a memorable feast.
The Real Olive Company served up the finest pecorino cheese, prosciutto crudo, olives and salami at the prosecco reception and launch. The Castle Hotel presented Kilmichael Goats' Cheese in a delicious tartlet and a mouth-watering, tomato based fish chowder came from the kitchen of the Auld Triangle, while Toonsbridge Dairy offered their signature Buffalo Mozzarella and Buffalo Ricotta. Church Lane Restaurant served a wonderful tapas selection that included chicken liver pate, sausage tortilla, mushrooms and marinated chicken strips while Clancy's Fresh Fish excelled themselves with a seafood medley of monkfish, smoked salmon salad, garlic mussels and stuffed lemon sole.
The host venue, the Riverside Park, which must be congratulated on facilitating a very complicated event in a most professional manner, served Pork Three Ways, each more delicious than the other., with perfect accompanying sauces. The Mills Inn offered a bruschetta of figs and goat's cheese, using focaccia bread and The Natural Larder Company served a gourmet beef burger and Thai style fish cakes, with their inimitable sauces and dressings. Mai Fitz's tempted anyone who could still take more with their Buffalo Meatloaf and sweet teeth were set watering with the last courses of the marathon feast, with Vaughan's Café serving Pavlova, chocolate fudge cake and a delightful lemon drizzle cake and No 57 Gourmet Kitchen rounding off (literally and figuratively) with chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, strawberry tartlet and chocolate mousse in a delightful, edible dark chocolate cup.
It was a feast for all the senses, highlighted by the wonderful table arrangements and venue decoration. And, lest anyone unfamiliar with the tasting menu formula fear that gluttony was rampant, the servings of each dish were small, allowing the diners a taste of the delightful food available throughout the Lee Valley.
The organisers knew they had a success on their hands when, by the end of the night, they received a number of approaches from people seeking to book tables for the 2015 event!
Taste Trail in Macroom
For a long time now, residents and visitors to the Lee Valley have come to realise that the very best of food and cooking is available in the locality. This was again highlighted during the Food Festival when samples of locally produced food were available in restaurants, shops and bars throughout the town on Saturday. Participants in the Taste Trail probably ran at a loss but it is hoped that tasters will return to partake of full meals or buy the produce as a result of the delights on offer.
The morning fog cleared on Saturday to give another mild autumn day. Children turned out in force for the food themed Fancy Dress and went on to the Puppet show in the Briery Gap. Some concern was expressed that this was a bit scary and that the subject matter was more suited to older children. But the music and fun on the streets quickly dispelled all fears. The Early Bird Taste Trail offered gourmets a chance to experience the best of savoury and sweet dishes at many of the businesses that had already catered for the Artisan Affair. But also participating were Golden's Bar, Kieran Hartnett Butchers, Next Door Café and TP Cotter's Bar and the Night Owls had recourse to the Castle Hotel, Dineen's Bar and Murray's Bar. Clancy's Fresh Fish had a queue of customers for the wonderful chowder, smoked mackerel pate and smoked salmon salad while Golden's Bar hosted the Real Olive Company, who served mozzarella and a selection of cheeses and olives and cured meats. Sweet treats were available at No 57 – chocolate brownies, carrot cake, apple cake and plum and almond tart and Next Door Café served up Ricotta and strawberry tartlets, Sarah's chocolate biscuit cake and lemon curd meringue pie. Food, fun and education continued into the night with international food flavours, cake decoration, a master chef demonstration, cheese and wine tasting and Declan O'Rourke in the Briery Gap.