“A meal without wine is like a day without sun” said French lawyer and politician, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin more than two centuries ago. The pairing of the finest of Irish food ingredients and cooking with the best of Irish and international wines and beers will be a key theme of the fifteenth Savour Kilkenny festival this October bank holiday weekend. From artisan Irish beers and whiskeys to the finest European wines, the emphasis will be on consuming the alcoholic beverages in the most responsible way, with the finest of foods.
A number of the city and county’s best restaurants and chefs will be showcasing their emphasis on matching wines and beers to the creative food they offer on their regular menus and also as part of special events for the festival weekend.
The events will range from events with the best of street food up to the Michelin fine dining experiences in Kilkenny’s most renowned restaurants and high-profile national food stars like Dylan McGrath and Rachel Allen will be joined by the sweet melodies of Belfast singer, Brian Kennedy and the nimble dance steps of Brian Redmond, while Kilkenny’s own food stars, John Kelly, Ken Harker, Keith Boyle, Rodrigo Gonzales and Bart Pawlukojc and Nicole Server-Pawlukojc will be strutting their culinary stuff too.
Marking a special twist on the Dancing with the Stars theme, the Hibernian Hotel’s The Brasserie restaurant will host a special night of Dining and Dancing with one of the TV show judges and local radio broadcaster, Brian Redmond with local woman Kate O’Brien of the recently-formed Kilkenny Dance School will be demonstrating some dance steps and encouraging the diners to join in the fun, while savouring a delicious taster menu.
Mount Juliet’s Lady Helen restaurant will again be showing why they remain at the top of the Irish restaurant list, having supported and hosted festival events since the festival began. Their event on the opening night of the festival is sure to be the hottest ticket in the county with its seasonal celebration of the ingredients of the South East.
The finest local beer will feature at a number of events in Sullivan’s Tap Room & The Wine Centre on John Street which will suit groups of friends and families seeking a casual night out.
Their selections of pizzas, cheeses and nibbles will be paired with expert tastings of French and Portuguese wines, the finest of Irish whiskey from the four provinces and of course the showcasing of Sullivan’s own finest beers. Across the river, the Smithwick’s Experience will host a night of Mexican flavours with tacos from Muse Coffee and Food along with live music and Smithwick’s beers.
Local distiller Morgan Ging of Ballykeeffe Distillery will speak on the growth of their whiskey and gin business and host tastings of their product in the medieval surroundings of Kyteler’s Inn on Kieran Street while the nearby Paris Texas Bar and Restaurant on High Street will host another tasting menu event with matching wines, presented by guest sommelier, Mark Redmond of Bibendum Wines.
The growth of casual tapas dining will be celebrated in two events in the historic Butler House as Ken Harker and Rodrigo Gonzalez of the newly opened Tabú Tapas in Thomastown will be joined by wine expert, Owen Murphy of Wines Direct, highlighting the organic, biodynamic and low-intervention wines his company supplies.
A number of the high-profile events have already sold out, including the Dylan McGrath guest appearance with chef Keith Boyle at the new Lady Anne fine dining restaurant in Bridge House beside John’s Bridge and Rachel Allen’s teaming up with Ken Harker in Statham’s Restaurant on Patrick Street for their Farm to Fork tasting experience so the festival is encouraging people to book their tickets to the remaining events as soon as possible on www.savourkilkenny.com