Festival foods

For those who do not attend festivals such as the Electric Picnic, Mantua, Solas, etc, you may wonder what the standard of food at such a festival is like in 2008. Perhaps you have children who attend these outdoor festivals and worry that they will be eating lots of greasy burgers and dodgy frankfurters. Indeed my own memories of concerts are that you could smell the chip vans long before you saw the concert stage, and yes it is a miracle that more of us were not as sick as dogs (we probably were but nobody cared too much ).

Well have no worries about today’s fans; they are spoiled for choice at most festivals. Gourmet coffee stalls, falafel sellers, and gourmet sausage rolls are commonplace, and at the recent Electric Picnic concert there was what can only be described as a feast of great food available. In fact I believe that Tom Doorley and the Bridgestone Guide were to be there and review the food on offer. There were venison burgers, ostrich burgers, impala burgers, whole roast pig, sushi, fresh bagels with caesar chicken salad, and lots more.

There was even a farmers’ market selling cakes, breads, pastries, petit fours, and loads of fruit and veg. One of the busiest food vendors at each festival is a converted bus which makes freshly cooked-to-order pizzas, stone baked pizzas with all your favourite toppings. As for drinks, there were smoothies, juices, and of course cocktails. There was a big range of organic food also, including free helpings of Glenisk organic yoghurt, organic teas, organic coffee, organic fruit and veg, and organic falafel. There was a Bacardi Mojito bar serving every kind of Mojito at €8 a go. If this is the standard of food that the younger generation is insisting on, then we are definitely becoming a very cosmopolitan race. A very clever arrangement for drinks glasses involved paying €3 for a substantial glass (made from strong plastic ) which you kept with you all weekend, then when leaving you returned it and the €3 was refunded.

Another obvious sign of the changes in teenagers’ eating habits can be seen when you walk down Shop Street at lunch time and notice how many are in McDonald’s, and notice how many are congregating outside the Spar and eating freshly baked baguettes filled with all their favourite fillings — chicken tikka, caesar chicken, tuna melts, etc.

Finally, a date for your diary is the seafood cooking demonstration and tasting at Galway Bay Seafood in the docks. It is on today, Thursday 11, Friday 12, and Saturday 13 from 11am to 4pm. Many people are concerned about cooking fish and the difficulty in getting it ‘just right’; well now is your chance to see four expert chefs from the western branch of the Panel of Irish Chefs doing their thing and cooking up samples for you to taste. Be sure and ask loads of questions and perhaps try your hand at cooking some of the more exotic species such as squid or Galway bay clams.

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