Chef Kevin Thornton, who founded the Taste of Dublin festival with fellow Chef Kevin Dundon, said, prior to the 2009 Taste Festival, “It’s more like a giant picnic than anything else.” It is their hope that this year’s festival, which will be held June 9-12, in the picturesque Iveagh Gardens behind Dublin’s National Concert Hall.
The reason Thornton and Dundon started the festival is to help people feel more comfortable about fine dining—to take away the mystique. They thought that if they brought the public and chefs together, to allow people see how the food is made, than they wouldn’t be so intimidated and be willing to frequent better restaurants in Dublin and to enjoy fine dining more often.
Taste of Dublin is a four-day celebration of fine food and drink. Twenty-two of Dublin’s most prestigious restaurants, as well as specialty food and drink companies and celebrated chefs will participate. They will serve bite-sized tastings and tapas of their signature dishes—enough to sample several dishes, and for chefs to show off their skills—to the foodies of Dublin. The festival will also feature bands, cookery demonstrations, and wine and beer tastings.
In years past, the festival has hosted over 30,000 visitors over four days, and this year will be no different, in spite of the economic downturn of recent years. The ticket price starts at £15 and is a bit pricey, but well worth it. Taste of Dublin even uses its own currency, called Florins, which are required to purchase dishes from the restaurants represented and to buy food and drink from the exhibitors present. Florins can be purchased on-line when tickets are booked or at one of the many Florin Banks scattered throughout Iveagh Gardens.
The Iveagh Gardens, one of the best-kept secrets of Dublin and somewhere even many Dubliners don’t know about, really is the perfect place to host the Taste festival. It is a small, landscape park in an enclosed area, and decorated by old tress, a sunken archery range, and fountains. It provides its visitors with a pleasant impression and a restful, friendly atmosphere. If you are planning on making your way to this festival and need a hotel, check out the Jurys Inn range of hotels in Dublin.