Our 6 Tastiest Picks for Ballymaloe Lit Fest

Our food editor's unmissable picks for this year's Ballymaloe Litfest...

May is approaching and that means the third annual Ballymaloe Litfest is imminent. There's another stellar culinary line-up this year, so you really need to get booking. But who's the pick of the crop? Luckily, we have an expert epicure close at hand. Read on for food editor Lizzie Gore-Grimes' insider recommendations?

Alice Waters in conversation with John McKenna
Simply put, Alice Waters is the chef/owner of a restaurant and caf? in Berkeley, California, called Chez Panisse. In reality, she is so much more: she is the woman who launched the farmers market movement in America, founded the Edible Schoolyard Project and has been championing local, sustainable agriculture for over four decades. She is an inspirational speaker (and a top-notch chef to boot). Not to be missed. €36, Saturday May 16, 9.30am-11am.


Late Afternoon Sparkle with Mary Dowey
Fancy the idea of sampling a selection of sparkling wines in the cosy Conservatory at Ballymaloe House, accompanied by tasty nibbles? Yes, please. With the added bonus that the event is hosted by Mary Dowey, one of Ireland's most charming and well-informed wine writers. We'll be there. €21, Saturday May 16, 5.30pm.

Cookery demo with Sam and Sam Clark
Anyone who loves Mediterranean food shouldn't miss the opportunity to meet Sam and Sam Clark of London's famous Moro restaurant. The culinary couple describe the demo as ?a distillation of our favourite recipes, a wonderful playground of tastes, conjuring up images of hairy-chested matadors and hedonistic sultans?. We love it. €97, Saturday May 16, 2-5pm.

The Spice of Life?with Arun Kapil
Spice guru and Cork native Arun Kapil shares his extensive knowledge about spices. Not only is the man a walking encyclopaedia on all things spice but he's also a terrific showman (having spent many years in the London music scene). Bring your notebook, as he'll inspire you with esoteric and imaginative flavour combinations to spice up Irish cuisine. €16,?Sunday May 17, 11.30am.

Guest lunch with Mark Hix
The Ox South pop-up lunch is already sold out, but there's still a chance to nab a seat at Mark Hix's guest chef lunch in the Dining Room at Ballymaloe House. The menu is still under wraps, so we have no secrets to reveal there, but we know it is going to be based on his favourite Irish ingredients, so there's a chance Peter Hannan's magnificent Himalayan salt-aged beef (see our Northern Ireland food special in the March-April issue, on shelves now) may feature? €65,?Sunday May 17, 1pm.


Image: Whisky Girl (@Girl_Whisky)

Forgotten Skills: Cooperage
A demonstration by Ger Buckley, Master Cooper at the local Midleton Distillery. The ancient craft and skill, dating back thousands of years will be expertly demonstrated by Ger, with barrels and the ancient tools still in use today. Free, Sunday May 17, 5.30pm.

For the full foodie line-up and to book tickets, visit litfest.ie.

Now head here for an unbeatable Ballymaloe-inspired bagel recipe from the lovely Lilly Higgins - and be sure to pick up the new issue, in shops now, for more insider foodie news from Lilly and Lizzie.

@Image_Interiors / @lizgoregrimes

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