I have no problem in admitting that a fair chunk of my decision-making process, when it comes to a place to visit on holiday, has to do with the food that is on offer. As an example, our recent holiday took in both Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Amsterdam is a city that both myself and Elly love, we got engaged there and have had some fantastic breaks there over the years. Every time we visit, we seem to find more and more things to do. Not least of these is the food. On our recent trip we ate in all sorts of locations, Restaurants, Cafes, street vendors you name it. we sampled cuisines as diverse as Argentine, Italian, Greek, French, Egyptian, euro organic and Chinese. I really couldn’t say a bad word about the food or the service we received in any of these places. Prices were reasonable and reflected the meals served very well.
We did have one negative experience on the morning we decided to get breakfast in a touristy cafe, you know the type of place big menu with everything from an English breakfast through to pancakes and waffles. We sat for 10 minutes while staff member after staff member walked passed ignoring us until we got up, pushed our way past the staff blocking the exit (while having a chat) and went across the street and had breakfast elsewhere. The service staff really didn’t care about their customers at all, they didn’t even apologise or bother to ask why we were leaving, I almost went back to look for the manager, but I was on holiday so why bother with the stress and frustration, the staff have to take their lead from somewhere, right?
Copenhagen was chosen as a destination because Primus, a band that I have been a fan of most of my life, were playing their first European tour in over a decade and we missed out on the tickets for the Amsterdam gig as they sold out in minutes. Apart from that, the “best restaurant in the world” Nemo is located there, so there has to be a knock-on effect on all the restaurants in the city, right?
Maybe it was the lack of familiarity with the city but we didn’t find it as easy to locate restaurants as we do in Amsterdam, with a notable exception of a fantastic little cafe/restaurant we stumbled on, which was filled with organic, vegetarian and vegan foods as well as meat dishes for us omnivores. What really made this place for me, was that you could see pots of fresh herbs growing all over the place and a lot of the vegetables were actually grown within walking distance and were literally harvested to order for whatever dish was being prepared.
Ireland has a fantastic reputation abroad as a food producer, particularly so when it comes to artisan products, but would you describe Ireland as a destination for a food tourist? Could we eat our way out of the current “trouble”?
This is the question being posed to the panel at “For Food’s Sake III”, a regular bi-monthly evening of food talk and tastings. I’ve missed the previous events but will be there with bells on this time and I’m really looking forward to an interesting discussion about this large and growing part of the tourism and food industries in this country.
The event is taking place in The Sugar Club this Thursday 28 July at 7 pm and full details can be found here. I’ll be there barring any disasters, so please feel free to say hello if you decide to come along.