Saturday, November 27, 2010
Taste of Christmas at the Convention Centre
There's a larger element of exhibitors than the ToD with demonstrations of cookery and equipment. Marks and Spencer are a major sponsor and they have 2 large central sections with Christmas stuff to buy - everything from food to wrapping paper. They were also giving out free samples of mince pies (standard) and wine.
The event runs over all 5 floors of the Convention Centre but the top floor auditorium was off limits for pleb tickets. There was a top-up amount to be paid to see the celebrity chef demos. The 2 main floors featured a small selection of restaurants (10 by my count) offering 3 different dishes for a variety of florins. The portions were tiny, smaller than its summer sister event but the standard of food was overall good. My favourite dish was a peanut satay chicken skewers from Swai, a Malasian restaurant. I also sampled dishes from Town Bar & Grill, Pieminister and Pichet.
One of the best deals going was at the very large O'Briens (the wine people not the sambos). For a refundable 3 florin deposit, you got a tasting glass and could sample all the wines on offer from the 11 different suppliers. Getting drunk would have been pretty easy once you started tasting here, though they did have bizarre cardboard spittoons for serious wine buffs. They had a price list for everything on offer but you couldn't buy it there. This was a flaw, there was at least one wine I would have bought on the spot but the chances of me finding an O'Briens to buy it in while I still remember the name are less good.
The higher up floors featured bars and different sponsored areas. Franc, that wedding planner guy has branched out into interior design and his stand featured this lovely white deer...I wouldn't fancy it in my house!
Good Food Ireland had a big stand upstairs with plenty of home-grown samples on offer. I tried and subsequently bought some fantastic goats cheese from Knockdrinna in Kilkenny. The view below is taken from as high up as I could get without spending more money.