Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Two day food tour prize from Good Food Ireland

This competition is so mouth wateringly good I couldn't resist posting it on the blog. Good Food Ireland is an organisation I've a lot of time for. It's the only all-island food and hospitality group that brings together restaurants, shops, hotels and food producers from all over the country that are committed to using local food. I've met many of their producers and they do exactly what's on the tin - make "real" food; authentic and Irish, mostly in rural locations from small, often family run businesses.

It's the antithesis of mass produced produce; the cheeses, hams, marmalades, organic lamb and range of goods made by these farmers and producers is exactly what keeps Ireland's food heritage alive. I try to include some of their food in my shop when I can as it is a link directly back to the farms and a way of supporting small Irish businesses. Plus it tastes great. A lot of their produce can be bought online at http://www.goodfoodireland.ie/ and you can also book hotels, restaurants and food tours there.

Food tourism is exactly the kind of thing I'm always banging on about - there's no reason why we should be doing more of in Ireland as we have the producers, eateries and venues already in place. It brings money into the rural economy where in turn it has a much greater multiplier effect than money spent on big brand tourism or indeed supermarkets. So great to hear about the food tour from Germany organised by Good Food Ireland taking in their hotels and food members ranging from Dublin to Cork. As a mini version of this, they are launching a competition - offering two people the chance to win a fabulous culinary weekend. Have a look -

Day 1:
· Arrive in Dublin and check into the fabulous 5-star Merrion Hotel located only a short walk from Graton Street and the main shopping district.
· Enjoy an overnight stay for two in a Superior King room overlooking The Merrion’s private Gardens..
· Begin your gourmet experience with lunch at the fantastic Nonna Valentina, owned by established restaurateur Eileen Dunne in The Italian Quarter on the banks of the River Liffey
· After lunch, owner Eileen Dunne will then take you on a walking tour to the famous Dunne & Crescenzi bakery in the financial sector (IFSC). Here you will be informed of how Irish food is incorporated into their Italian menus.
· Once this tour is over, take some time to explore all the historic wonders and cosmopolitan shopping Dublin has to offer.
· That evening, back in The Merrion Hotel you will indulge in a set three course dinner in the award-winning Cellar Restaurant with a specially chosen courtesy bottle of wine.

Day 2:
· Start your day with a tantalising Artisan Irish breakfast in the luxurious breakfast room at The Merrion Hotel.
· That afternoon you will travel out to the Dublin Cookery School in Blackrock. Housed in a stunning, state-of-the-art facility, you will enjoy a one day (hands-on) Contemporary Bistro-Style Cooking course (10am – 4pm). Dublin Cookery School is Dublin's top venue for cookery courses in the city and with the most experienced and professional team in the city, you know that you will be in good hands.
· After your lesson you will then sit down and enjoy this bistro feast with your fellow students and budding chefs in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere – the perfect end to a food lovers weekend.
· Head back into Dublin City and enjoy some retail therapy before heading home.

Check out the competitions website -

The answer to the competition question is on their facebook page -


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