It's Food Week at Image.ie this week so while we're learning the ins and outs of the industry and bookmarking mouthwatering recipes, we're also looking for an excuse to get out of the house, brave that pestering rain and find ourselves a foodie escape.
Chocolate Garden? What, and where?!
If you find yourself in south West Wicklow anytime soon check out The Chocolate Garden of Ireland between beautiful?Tullow and Shillelagh. Sensuous dark Amaretto, Irish truffle flavoured with Kilbeggan whiskey - are you drooling yet? The Chocolate Garden of Ireland?also offers a chocolate workshop so do make this act of indulgence an educational experience.
When in Dingle?
You simply have to make your way to Murphy's Ice-cream.?This ice-cream parlour and caf? is now legendary for its locally produced ingredients and embrace of the organic ethos. The flavours aren't too shabby either. Booze up with some gin or rum raisin - or double up with scoops of both.
Thomastown in Co. Kilkennyis home to Goatsbridge Trout Farm and Ireland's only caviar. Fancy. Smoking workshops will teach you how to perfect your catch.
Get that perfect bake
Sail/get a ferry to Heir Island in Co. Cork where the talented folk at the Firehouse Bakery will teach you the art of perfect bread baking.?Cob loaves, pizza bread, flat bread, and cinnamon swirls await.
Highbank Orchards near Cuffesgrange in Co. Kilkenny offers farm tours with plenty of tasting stops. These organic craft ciders, including Highbank Medieval Cider blended with organic honey, will satisfy any thirst - even the driver's with a special brew on offer for the responsible one.
It's actually not that far to Tipperary thanks to the new-ish motorway
Cloughjordan House in Co. Tipperary is getting quite the name for its friendly group cookery classes.? Owners Peter and Sarah Baker source ingredients locally from the Tipperary Producers Group, the Cloughjordan Village Community farm and their Victorian walled garden.?There's also the option to stay on site in case you really want to perfect those recipes.
Cinematic and cerebral
The Guth Gafa independent documentary film festival arrives in Headfort House in Kells, this weekend with a whole section of the programme dedicated to food. My Name is Salt looks at a family surviving in the Little Rann at Kutch, a saline desert in India. Blood Fruit meanwhile looks at the Dunnes workers who kickstarted the anti-aparthied movement in Ireland when they refused to handle oranges from South Africa in protest at the government's racist regime there. Rounding out all these films is a panel on the food industry chaired by Irelands unofficial cheesemongere-in-chief, Mr. Richard Sheridan. Food for Thought : Thought for Food examines consumers? relationship with the ever-changing industry and aims to raise conciousness about the origin of our food.
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun