The Burren Ecotourism Food Fayre was a great success! Part of the Burren Winterage Festival last weekend in North Clare, the Food Fayre was an intimate gathering of local food enthusiasts promoting all that is unique and special about producing something very special in the Burren. Local businesses such as Fabiola’s Pattisserie, The Burren Smokehouse, St. Tola’s Cheese, Burren Free Range Pork, and Burren Food and Wine gave tastings. Local vendors who sell at the area’s numerous Farmers Markets, like Adva The Bread Lady with her sourdoughs and fabulous truffles, Cate Conway with her gluten free baking and Roshan Groves with her unique products sold their wares and some entered the masterchef competition. I was honored to be one of the judges, along with Sila Nic Chonaonaigh of TG4’s Garrai Glas and Sally McKenna of Bridgestone Guides. We were presented with 25 dishes to sample. After tasting the first few we realized we had some outstanding cooks and would create a few different categories of winners. Special commendation went to Cate Conway for her butternut Squash and Pumpkin Quiche made with a rice flour pastry. Roshan Groves won for her Red Epicure Broad Bean and Tomato Casserole. Roshan and her partner, Peter, grew all the ingredients in Fanore, including the chili peppers and lemons! Gemma Dowling’s Quince Jelly and a Blackberry Mousse with Hazelnut Macaroons and an Apple Brack also won. What made these dishes so special? Local, fresh, foraged and home grown products. It can all be done right here in the Burren, under the most challenging of weather conditions! The Burren Masterchef award went to Richard Morrison of Maurices Mills. A boned out Rack of Goat with Blackberry and Sloe Gin Jus and Braised Red Cabbage cooked to perfection. All of the ingredients were either reared, grown or foraged by Richard and his family or produced in Ireland. Ok, this is Vegetarian Ireland so I won’t get into the details of the goat and black pudding, but fair play to Richard for really understanding what local, homegrown, fresh and supporting your fellow producers is all about.