Highlights: we got in a great conversation with David Lebovitz whose recipe aided in my first successful batch of french macarons.
Lit fest has something for everyone, from the casual partygoer who goes for the live music and craft beer in the big shed to the serious food journalist. The cooking demos, cocktail talks and coffee cupping keep it interactive- what’s not to love. By far the most important thing for me was to set an intention for going prior to making the journey down. I didn’t want it just to be a feeling of ‘i’m here because everyone’s here’, rather, I wanted to really get something out of it. I was captivated by the story of three generations of cookery writers in the Allen family. At the heart of it, the Litfest is ultimately a food literature and writing event. SO, how did i do in reaching these intentions? — only alright.
After missing last year’s Ballymaloe Lit fest, I decided that I wouldn’t miss another opportunity to see what seems to be the largest gathering of food community, enthusiast, writers, and drinks specialists. The festival brings international names like Tim Wendelboe, Ottolenghi, Noma’s René Redzepi to Ireland. This year inspirational food pioneer Alice Waters from Chez Panisse, and another, David Lebovitz pastry chef and writer, who i have been following since i knew what blogs were, came to speak. There were a few challenges that stood in the way of me going to the festival, but they were sorted with a bit of compromise.
The talks and wonderful food stalls were great, but many of the ideas I came away from this weekend were through conversations with like-minded ‘food-crazy’ people at the event. It’s hard to capture the mood and magic of the weekend. It must be a combination of pure craic, the only kind you can get in Ireland (yes, i said it), strong literary culture, and some of the highest quality of food/ producers in the world. Oh yes, and it helps that the whole event takes place in a working farm, not the usual convention centres where these events are often held.
Met some people who, like me, were also fascinated with 'curated’ meals with a multi sensory component. I.e.) using meals to create conversation about a specific topic, or reframing food through thought-provoking experiences.
I can't get over how food is able to bring people together!
Ballymaloe Lessons learned:
1) hustle for the talks so you don’t miss them, no time of socialising if your talk is coming up!
2) whatever you do, book accommodation early!
3) volunteer, give your time it’s a rewarding way to meet other people
For more reading: see The Family Behind Ireland’s Artisanal-Food Renaissance The Wall Street Journal. 30 March 2015
Photos featuring: Mrs.Marta @