A Taste of Dublin

Monday, June 16, 2008

Around the world there are more and more food festivals that aim to act as a showcase for local restaurants and we had our very own version this weekend here in Dublin. These festivals are popping up everywhere with "A taste of Northern Ireland" and "A taste of Cork" coming soon. I wasn't able to attend this year as I had a busy couple of days with iFoods and attended a wedding in the country over the weekend but to be honest probably wouldn't have gone anyway. For those of you not familiar with the concept you buy a ticket (the cheapest of which would set you back a whopping 25 Euros) and are then asked to pay for all the food on top of that again. For those of you not familiar with Ireland and the rip off prices that we are forced to pay here this would be a classic example of the exploitation we are forced to put up with.

I got back to Ireland last year and missed last year's festival as we were filing the iFoods.tv videos which was a shame as I heard amazing reports about the festival with people universally embracing it as a fantastic idea. This year however the tide seems to have turned as I spoke to several people who attended the event and were not impressed and all mentioned the steep prices and minuscule portions they were served up. On the flip side I also know 3 people who had stands at the event (I will not go in to the details of how much it costs to hire a stand but I'll just say it is not for the faint hearted)and the general feedback was that they would be watching the level of business garnered from the event very closely and would probably not take a stand next year. Most people probably think the restaurants are cleaning up and making a fortune at the event but the reality is the festival takes a large % of all sales making it more of a PR event for the restaurants involved rather than a money making exercise. As one of my friends said "it is only normal to get pissed off when paying 8 Euros for 6 chips and a small sliver of fish after paying in to the event". With the economic winds changing and people growing tired off rip off Ireland will the festival continue to thrive and continue to be the cash cow the organisers hope it will be? I suspect it will but they may have to restrucure prices and think about their customers rather than trying to stuff their pockets.
Below is an intro video to this year's festival


Karen said...

Er, so you didn't go last year OR this year yet you think yourself an authority on it? Come on man, you weren't there, how can you review it?! I was there and I really enjoyed it, so maybe your readers would like a different take on it.

Myself and my boyfriend paid the 25 euro in and then bought some florins (the 'currency' of the event) and ended up spending in total about 80 euro. For that we got four hours of entertainment, sampled food from at least six of the top restaurants in Dublin and on top of that got many many free samples from most of the exhibitors there. For example we got: free orange juice, a free Magnum icecream, copiuous amount of Green and Blacks and Lindt chocolate, free cheesecake, any amount of free wine, free cakes from Donnybrook Fair, free cheese, free strawberries, free cherry tomatoes, free yoghurt, free sausages...the list goes on and on!

The day cost us 80 euro plus our bus fare home and we had a great time. We were stuffed to the gills and happy.

Usually if we go out for a meal in Dublin, depending on where we go, it can cost anything from about 50 to 70/80 for a meal for two and that's just in one restaurant, for a couple of hours at most. This way we got to go to several restaurants and have a really fun time wandering about watching the cooking demonstrations (I got to chat with Kevin Dundon), talking to other foodies, having the craic.

In my humble opinion Taste of Dublin 2008 was fantastic and I'll definitely go again. I'm no expert or chef, but remember, I did actually GO to it.

www.ifoods.tv said...

Karen thanks for the excellent points and "mini review". I am only writing based on the general theme i heard from other poeple. A meal in Dublin is not cheap I agree but I have been to lots of these food festivals in Australia and USA and if not free they are very cheap and the emphasis is on the food and not on making vast amounts of money which seem to be the priorities here in this country. Sounds like you had good day though and that is all that matters in the end.

Irish Wine Contemplations said...

I went along to this last year and must agree, this is a complete rip off and a waste of money. Expensive tiny (tasty) portions, large crowds, lots of q'ing and you had to pay €25 in for the experience.

In an ideal world this would be a showcase for the restaurants in a effort to promote business (especially in the current climate), fair enough charge in but then let the restaurants give out samples for free or perhaps for token charity offerings. I heard that tesco were even charging for samples of their food over the weekend...

Personally I would rather take my 80 quid and head to any of the high end restaurants for lunch (which is what i did) rather than head along to the Iveagh Gardens for this event. Each to their own though and no doubt alot of people had a very good time at 'Taste Of Dublin' and more power to them!

John said...

Having missed out on going last year with work, I made sure I went this year and I was bitterly disappointed. My ticket was heavily subsidised by the company I work for but I still came away feeling ripped off. I just don't see how they can justify charging the customers an entrance fee and prices for food and the restaurants a huge amount for a stand and a % of their sales! Only in Ireland is all i'll say and I hope that someone decides to challenge these festivals and create a bit of competition. Come on, these things are supposed to be a celebration of food but in reality only the very wealthy can afford to even go near this event! As long as there are people willing to be tricked into these money making events they will continue to take advantage. As George Bush once said "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." and I too will not be fooled again next year. I'm glad someone enjoyed it though Karen. Your love of food must be much stronger than mine.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Karen, it is a great day out and we get to sample Dublin's top restaurants in one evening for under 100 euro for 2 ppl and entertainment on top.

Eh John...'Only in Ireland is all i'll say'- are you serious? Ireland is one of the last countries to hold the taste festival, as a lover of food I go to London for it each year (i am here now and going tonight) and believe me it is a lot more expensive here but where else would I get to eat delicacies from Tom Aikens, Theo Fennell, Aldo Zilli and many more and get to have the food handed to me by world reknowned chefs..

It is a festival of food and a PR event and a fun day out for everyone, the restaurants pay a lot of money for the stands and staff.. i think the comment 'fair enough charge in but then let the restaurants give out samples for free or perhaps for token charity offerings' is very unfair on the restaurants involved and only when the attitude of the Irish change will more high end Irish restaurants become involved.

I have also been to taste festivals in Chicago and the costs of the better restaurants are similar to those of Dublin so also disagree with opinion that in the US the food is 'if not free they are very cheap'...

In conclusion, I think you would be mad to miss it- for a 40 or so euro day out it is well worth it, if you want to spend less then I suggest you go to Eddie Rockets...

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