Food, glorious Food(Camp)

Savour KilkennyTweets and trends, coffee and conversation, information and inspiration: all in the mix at Savour Kilkenny‘s first Irish FoodCamp last Friday. It was a full on day. Not only were Dinner du Jour and I presenting a new Irish blogger resource but the schedule was crammed with talks on a variety of food-related topics.

Alas, the presentations took place concurrently in four different rooms so I had to miss temptation like David Tiernan‘s Making Connections Between the Farmer and the General Public; the charismatic Philip McCabe on Honey – The Oldest Known Medicine to Mankind (although I did slip in for the last five minutes to hear an enthralling story of bee stings being used to treat MS) and two different takes on Bringing a Product to Market from Denis Coleman and Paul Deegan of Dunhill Castle Beverages.

I did, however, get to hear Wendy Kavanagh of talk about encouraging the next generation of farmers, Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and his compatriots – Cate McCarthy (The Cookie Jar), TJ Crowe (Crowe Farm Meats), Nuala Hickey (Hickey’s Bakery) – discuss the advantages working together in the Tipperary Food Producers Network, and a fascinating presentation on social media and food business from The Bridgestone Guides‘ Sally McKenna and Donal Doherty of Harry’s Bar and Restaurant, a man who knows his Facebook from his Chocolate Fondant.

Lunch was a long, long table, heavily laden with food from all the participants. The deal? Bring some food to share for free FoodCamp entry sounded good to me so my Hanley’s Black Pudding and Leek Tart took up a little corner alongside The Daily Spud‘s layered Vegetable Terrine, Ummera‘s award winning smoked duck breast, amazing apple syrup (think the pour of maple syrup, but tart apple flavoured) from Highbank Organic Apple Farm, The Secret Recipe Company‘s cucumber pickle, chocolate brownies (from lots of us!) and more food to choose from than you could shake a stick at. There was enough for seconds. And perhaps thirds. And then there was still a few sweet things to be nibbled at. And a danish from Smörgåsblog to bring home for Saturday’s breakfast.

Irish Food Bloggers AssociationSo, a day of food-orientated talking, learning, eating – and, while that presentation still hung over us – nerves! After dreaming up the idea of the Irish Food Bloggers Association two months ago, Kristin and I had set the FoodCamp as the deadline to present it to our fellow food lovers. There were times I didn’t think that we’d make it on time but, with the help of Susan from Súil Design and some cracking work from Kristin, we were able to unveil not only our idea, but a website, complete with Twitter and Facebook presence.

If you’re a blogger or in anyway interested in food take a wander over to and let us know what you think. We’re at

Things to take away from FoodCamp?

* By spending €20 a week on local produce we can make a difference. Wendy Kavanagh
* Twitter for your peers, Facebook for your customers. Italianfoodie via Sally McKenna
* Don’t sell. Keep it short, social, simple and positive. Donal Doherty re social media
* When you spend money on local food it stays local. John McKenna
* 86% of fish caught in Irish waters goes abroad without any value being added. Susan Steele, BIM
* Embrace your own food culture, even if it is apple tarts and brown bread. Helen Finnegan of Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese
* Work together. Gary Gubbins
* Everyone should have a hive in their garden. Philip McCabe
* Never be nervous in front of friends. Me.

Thanks to the FoodCamp organisers for all their hard work. Looking forward to next year!



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

You may also like...

11 Responses

  1. Daily Spud says:

    Sure there was no need for you to be nervous at all Caroline 🙂 Onwards and upwards for the IFBA!

  2. Kristin says:

    Fantastic recap, Caroline! There still wouldn’t be an IFBA if it wasn’t for your HTML hobby and your brilliant idea to launch it at Food Camp. I’m in awe of all you’ve done and honoured to have launched it with you!

  3. what a great write up. The day was marvellous and your launch was the only talk I got to ;)Thanks for attending and for speaking, look forward to a one year review next time round in Kilkenny.Keith

  4. Lolaluskitchen says:

    Thanks for the great post filling us in on what we missed – looks like a really great day. Sadly I missed it due to work, but was actually let go that day – now I’m twice as annoyed I missed it! Fingers crossed it’ll happen again next year. The Irish Food Bloggers Association looks incredible I’m all signed up and snooping around already

  5. Dee Sewell says:

    Great write up Caroline. It’s handy to have all the links as I didn’t write down everybody’s details and can now look them all up! Thanks.

  6. Mag kirwan says:

    What a fantastic day . Great blog by the way. Keep up the good work.

  7. Vicky says:

    Well done Caroline, sounds like a great day, IFBA website looks great. Congrats. Can’t wait for the events! Vicky xx

  8. Caroline says:

    @Daily Spud it’s always easy not be nervous after the fact! I think it was all that presentation-rehearsing in the car on the way to Kilkenny that made all the difference.

    @Kristin awww..thanks! I think we make a great team.

    @Keith that sounds like there’ll be a 2011 FoodCamp. Great! Will be looking forward to getting the opportunity to review the IFBA’s first year. Now, just a few page tweeks to get out of the way so it makes it happily to the end of its first week…

    @Lolaluskitchen sorry to hear that you got go from work that day. It really wasn’t the day to be in the office, was it?

    @Dee glad to help – and lovely to meet you in Kilkenny.

    @Mag thank you – and a big thank you for the opportunity to launch at FoodCamp. Great idea!

    @Vicky we’ll have a few things happening and hopefully everyone will let us know about what they’re planning so we can post it up. As we kept saying at the launch, the IFBA is all about the members, what they’re doing and what they want.

  9. And now it is time for foodcampkk No.2 – Friday 28th October

    Putting aside your lovely new arrival are yourself and Kristen doing a Food Bloggers slot this year?

    Also a blog post from ya on the camp would go down nicely…:-)


  10. These are the best ‘Take Aways’ that I’ve ever seen! Short, actionable and insightful. Should be shared widely – I think many people would be surprised by them and perhaps take a more conscious approach to food in Ireland as a result.

    • Caroline Caroline says:

      Your point about “a more conscious approach to food” is a good one. I’ve been reading Michael Ruhlman’s piece on the importance of food writing:

      “…food is all around us, everywhere, easy and cheap, we’ve taken it for granted…The fact is, most people don’t think about food until they don’t have any. Then it’s pretty much all they can think about.”

      Maybe we need to be more conscious of food before it becomes a problem.

      Two of the points above that I’ve really noticed the effect of over the last few years are:

      * By spending €20 a week on local produce we can make a difference.
      * When you spend money on local food it stays local.

      Savour food and enjoy it with your friends, neighbours and community.

      Will you be around for Food Camp 2012, Tanja?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *