LitFest Collage 4

Passion in Colour – Food, Books and Art at Ballymaloe LitFest 2015

This weekend is the 3rd annual Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine – to give it its full title – LitFest to friends – foodie heaven, jam packed with inspiration round every corner and yumminess on every plate. It’s a place where I get to meet up with my extended community of friends soak up quirky art through my skin and eat like there’s no tomorrow.

It is a FEAST for the senses.

And not just the belly… but for the eyes. I set myself the task of capturing the colour of LitFest through my color-lover Instagram eyes (and a pretty crappy camera phone). I also thought I needed to be the part… so I dressed up to my creative rainbow mama nines.

Let’s just say no one missed me!

LitFest Collage 4All images from my Instagram: @dreamingaloudnt

LitFest happens just five minutes down the road from me, in Shanagarry, East Cork (Ireland)… In fact it takes place in the house my family shared with another family, the Allens, back in the late ’40s and early ’50s before the Pearces became potters and the Allens became hoteliers and Irish food ambassadors.

I went to the first couple of meetings for LitFest when the family and staff were brewing their plans back in 2012… it is truly incredible just how far it’s come. The line up of speakers is always breathtaking, thanks to Darina Allen’s little black book of culinary contacts.

LitFest Collage 6I was a speaker the first year – on blogging and new media – and got to go to all the fancy speakers dinners which was mighty fine. There is now a feel in the air as we get busy on Darina’s blog, the wisteria reaches its peak, the sun starts to shine… it’s LitFest time!

It’s pretty mindblowing to be wandering around a living art installation, whilst spotting the faces from your cookery book shelf (peoples you may not know this about me but I am BIG into cookery porn, I have 4 metres worth of cookery books alone!)

LitFest Collage 2.1

None of my personal culinary superheroes were there this year – though it was still a mighty fine line up: Alice Waters, Sam and Sam Clark, Allegra McEvedy, David Lebovitz, April Bloomfield… Previous years have seen Madhur Jaffery (a goddess incarnate) and Ottolenghi (her partner god), Claudia Roden, Elizabeth David’s editor, David Thompson. Just speaking to them made my knees go weak and turned me into a stuttering wreck.

That first year I made LitFest friends who I see each year – Mr Diamonds IRL who I met tasting sherry and Bibliocook who was a co-speaker. Tom Doorley. John Wilson and his wonderful wife…

So this year was about the eating. And my what mighty fine food there was on offer.

LitFest Collage 5In the course of a day I consumed…

  • A Green Saffron lamb curry and dahl. Lovely as always.
    Iyer’s samosa chat and pistachio and rosewater cake. Yes it was as heavenly as it sounds.
  • Blackcurrant and lavender cordial. The taste of summer.
  • The. Most. Divine. Falafel. EVER. From Rocket Man – check out the #litfest15 tag on Instagram and see JUST how many people are raving about them. Stop. The. Lights. And they are served with DUDESLAW. Seriously. My son wolfed down half of ours. THAT’s how good it was!
  • Washed down with a raspberry and rose slushy. YES. IT was THAT good. My daughter swiped most of that.
  • A Hibiskiss – water kefir – with hibiscus, pomegranate and raspberry… and an insane tamarind and chilli candy kiss from the most incredible handcart.
  • A nibble of a super Volcano wood fired pizza margherita.
  • And gelato… Sicilian pistachio. Apple tarte tatin. And gin and tonic sorbetto.

Let us all just take a moment.

(I was there for 8 hours…And I did SHARE!)

I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!



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