Article brought to you by Jessica Wilkie, otherwise self-proclaimed ‘Silkie Wilkie’ – best friend, ticket taker and now, beginner blogger.
As a first time explorer at the “Taste of Dublin” festival, I can wholeheartedly say I was not disappointed. Thanks to Evoke.ie, we were lucky enough to visit on Thursday afternoon and as pale and light-lusting Irish folk, we were delighted to experience a beautiful sunny day for this annual outdoor event. A taste of Dublin which is hosted in the Iveagh Gardens, is a delicious array of marquees offering food and drinks from bars, cafes and restaurants around Dublin. As we wandered through the gardens, we were greeted with tent after tent of mouth-watering delights inviting us to graze at will like gastronomic dinosaur with insatiable appetites. If you are sceptical about whether or not this event is really your scene – I can assure you that “Taste of Dublin” has a little something for everyone.
Have you got a sweet tooth? If so, walking past stalls like that of the “Dublin Cookie Co.” without having an irresistible urge to grab all the cookies and run for the nearest escape will be next to impossible. How can any girl walk past a tray of macaroons without sneaking over for a nibble in true Blair Waldorf fashion? Or, if like me, your heart starts melting at the prospect of melting chocolate then “Choc Allure” is the place for you. A cup filled with strawberries, toffee and marshmallows, smothered in milk chocolate needs nothing other than some peace and quiet to selfishly indulge yourself in it.
If, your taste buds tickle for food of the savoury variety then the world is your oyster. I decided to take this phrase quite literally and sampled the oysters from “Lobster Rock”. For some it’s an acquired taste and for me, the experience was a little more ‘Mr Bean’s Holiday’ than the ‘Birth of Venus’ – I can safely say that I’ll stick with chocolate as my preferred aphrodisiac. We followed the oysters with some lobster rolls which were delicious lobster cocktails packed inside brioche baps. The lobster was soft and fresh, cushioned by the sweet bread of the brioche. It was as tantalisingly tasty as it was well cooked and left me content in the knowledge that Sebastian hadn’t been sacrificed for nothing.
The reality was that “Taste of Dublin” had a food for every mood. There was a great spectacle of restaurants catering for every taste; moving from the oriental “Asian Market”, to gastropub “Chophouse”, to modern day bistro “Pichet”. And with chefs such as Rachel Allen and Edward Hayden appearing in the “Tattinger Tent” and the “Electrolux Taste Theatre” I got a real sense that these people are passionate about what they do and it really translates into their cooking.
If you enjoy a liquid lunch, then brace yourself for some tough decisions as you move around the market. “Taste of Dublin” has it all from craft beer and cider to champagne and prosecco. The cocktails from ‘KOH’ were so vibrant and creative that macho men scattered through the market were left ‘minding them’ for non-existent girlfriends, in the hope that nobody would notice that they were secretly enjoying them themselves. I personally loved the “Prosecco Bar” which is a travelling company that sets up at “Taste of Dublin” each year. There you had lip-smacking options of ‘Bellinis’ and ‘Kir Royales’ to name just a few. I opted for a “Raspberry Sparkle” which was light and fruity and contained all the essential bubbles, making it my top choice as summer drink. We were shown how this drink can be easily created by adding some light raspberry cordial to your prosecco – perfect for summer parties and nights in with the girls.
Not a fully-fledged foodie? Fashionistas behold! As an essentially daytime outdoor market, the trending fashion was smart-casual. I wore a light, summery, lace dress from River Island, paired with black and silver sandals from Topshop. Bold colours and floral print playsuits were a popular choice at the festival, often paired with wedges and either statement jewellery or a belt. The general vibe was summer chic – clothes that were light and summery but comfortable. Seeing as a lot of the walking is done through grass or cobbled stones and footpaths, comfortable flats or a small wedged heel is a fashion must. I’m ever appreciative of pain being beauty but when you are tottering precariously across the stones or stomping across the grass, your stilettos creating more holes than a small family of gophers, you are quick to concede that comfort and leisure are vital ingredients in enjoying the whole experience. Overall, I got the feeling that this summer’s main theme would be “Sixties Hippie” with flared trousers and colourful camisoles making frequent appearances. I for one, will be embracing the look this summer. Groovy baby, very groovy!
On my journey, I had the pleasure of meeting model Rozanna Purcell who nailed the fashion look of the day wearing a pretty, white summer dress paired with black leather boots and a black leather jacket. She vamped up the summery glow and polished it off with a seductive smokey eye and nude lip make up look. I am definitely in favour of the ‘girlie-girl’ meets ‘rock chick’ combo.
To top off the enjoyment of the whole experience, live music reverberated through the market as a number of stages were set up around the gardens. There were grassy areas to chill out and relax and tabled, seating areas to allow you to eat and drink and settle into the music. The great thing about the music was that it added a sense of occasion to the festival and contributed to the over-all buzz. A festival with mouth-watering nibbles at your fingertips? Sounds like heaven to me.
So there you have it, my first trip to “Taste of Dublin “and I can genuinely say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. And, since studies are showing that people who invest in experiences are happier and more socially interesting than those who invest in material things – I would highly recommend “Taste of Dublin” as the perfect place to start .The great thing about festival is that it allows you to achieve the best of both worlds; enjoying culinary delights while basking in the ambience. I’m a firm believer that eating out is still one of life’s most treasured pleasures and we are lucky in Dublin to have such a vast variety of high quality bars and restaurants to choose from. I’m going to quote Flo Rida on this one and conclude that “I don’t like it – I love it, love it, love it”.