A week later, I still have a warm glow inside following the wonderful Ballymaloe Litfest. Darina Allen and her crew managed, in a short time, to pull together the most amazing collection of food and wine writers. I am not sure how they did it, but I don’t think any other food festival could boast a list of speakers that included Madhur Jaffrey, Claudia Roden, Stephanie Alexander, Skye Gyngell, Thomasina Miers, Stevie Parle (both past pupils of Ballymaloe), Claus Myer of Noma fame, Sandor Katz, Camilla Plum, David Thompson, Nick Lander, Jancis Robinson, and many, many more. As it all took place in either Ballymaloe House or the cookery school, there was a fantastic concentrated group of food and wine lovers. The sun shone, the atmosphere was brilliant, and the events in the Big Shed were as much Electric Picnic as food festival. Sadly, as I was roped into a number of events, I did not manage to attend many talks. Two highlights of the weekend; Sandor Katz showing how easy it is to make fermented vegetables (I will never fret over the safety of my kimchi and sauerkraut again), and dinner seated beside my all-time food hero Claudia Roden, who was illuminating, entertaining, modest and a veritable mine of information. However, the most enjoyable part of all was being able to share a few glasses of good wine and craft beer with an eclectic mix of writers, volunteers, producers and punters, all united by a love of food. A weekend to remember.
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