Taste of Dublin 2023

Trinity News’ Food and Drink team explores the biggest food festival of the year

The Iveagh Gardens in June means only one thing for foodies in Dublin: Taste. The annual event has established itself as a reliable stalwart in the summer calendar for aficionados and newbies alike. Providing an opportunity for the public to mingle with producers and personalities, Taste is the place to be. So as the sun shone down and the gates opened, Trinity News was fortunate enough to be in attendance. So what did we sip, see and sample during our time there? 

One of the events we attended was Ireland’s Emerging Food Trends. This was panelled by members of the Irish Food Writer’s Guild, Caroline Hennessy, Kate Ryan and Michelle Darmody. The talk was hosted by Food for Thought and Lovin Dublin. It included an array of discussions on topics such as gut health, Irish cheese and the importance of food culture. The panellists talked about everything from the rebranding of blood glucose monitors as both a weight loss strategy as well as a way to heal one’s relationship with food to the disastrous age of post-2000s diet fads. Other topics included the extraordinary benefits of insect proteins and the role of allotments in city spaces.

 “If you feel good about what you are eating, it’s better for you.”

An important theme of Ireland’s Emerging Food Trends, and Taste of Dublin more broadly, was the rise in local producers and community food suppliers. According to them, the benefits of shopping locally are plentiful in both an individual sense and in terms of the knock-on effect on the community. Benefits such as better value for money, fresher produce, and a lower impact on the environment due to reduced carbon emissions join those of a personal feeling of wellness – with one panellist saying: “If you feel good about what you are eating, it’s better for you.” Moreover, investing in your local community reaps economic and sustainability benefits that cannot be paralleled by the use of multinational corporations. Usually a cheap bargain has an expensive price to pay in terms of environmental protection.

 In light of this, there were several standout Irish local retailers with their products on show which we had the pleasure of meeting. Bkultured, is an Irish-owned and produced water kefir brand, which focuses not only on the amazing health benefits drinking fermented beverages provides, but also on a delicious tasting and refreshing product. The owner, Niamh, experimented over the Covid lockdown to create their signature flavours Sassy Mixed Berry and Jamin’ Ginger and Turmeric. Although our favourite was the elderflower water kefir on sale at Taste. It’s light and refreshing, yet zesty, and the flavour packs a punch. Created with Irish natural ingredients, the kefir presents a tasty solution to common gut health issues and supports a healthy microbiome, while helping the planet and the Irish environment.

Grá, an artisan confectionary creation by former pastry chef Gráinne Mullins was the next standout retailer at Taste of Dublin. Having previously been a pastry chef at Michelin-starred restaurants in both Ireland and France it is no surprise that it was bound to be a favourite. The head chocolatier and founder of the brand established the business during the Covid lockdowns, where she would make and hand paint Easter eggs for her friends and family. After finding success on social media, she launched her brand ‘Grá’ distinguishing herself with beautifully crafted chocolates made in a painstaking, three-day process with attention paid to ethically sourced and local ingredients. We tried the ‘Passionate’ – a wonderfully smooth milk chocolate with a passion fruit interior, bursting with tangy flavour. These chocolates are affordable bites of heaven. 

Tony’s Chocolonely’s Rocky Road master class was the first stop on our list of master classes. Our lovely facilitator, Sarah Berney from @thehungrynugget, led us through the workshop with a few instructions (and a lot of laughs). Biscuits, marshmallows, toffee pieces… a little bit of everything nice was mixed into our melted chocolate and condensed milk concoction until ready to be set in the fridge and taken home later as a delicious souvenir.

We also made a beeline towards the Tia Maria stand immediately when we arrived at Taste of Dublin in order to sign up for their much-anticipated espresso martini masterclass. As avid espresso martini enthusiasts, we personally had high hopes for some tips and tricks for making it at home, and maybe more so hopeful for a nice free cocktail. On all fronts, this class did not disappoint. Tia Maria Ireland Brand Ambassador, Roberto Garcia, led us through the process with the energy of a caffeine-fuelled rocket, his lesson packed with all sorts of information about the cocktail, the brand, and the technique. 

“The energy of the workshop was incredibly positive and engaging, and throughout the workshop, our small group of seven wannabe mixology students became friends enough to drink our creations together afterwards.”


A taste of the coffee liquor itself was offered up immediately so that we could taste the ingredients and notes as we were being told about them, all to stress what Garcia found to be of utmost importance to both the liquor and the classic coffee cocktail: balance. We were soon after shown how to make the cocktail before getting the chance to make our own. The energy of the workshop was incredibly positive and engaging, and throughout the workshop, our small group of seven wannabe mixology students became friends enough to drink our creations together afterwards. 

Our hearts were set on the Tasting Spain demonstration tent from the moment we noticed it. We attended the Tasting Gran Canaria with Chef Alejandro Mederos. The set-up of the demonstration itself was something we must absolutely commend. A U-shaped table was set up around in front of the demo station to fit no more than about 20 viewers, making the experience comfortable and intimate. To help matters further, we were all given headphones to wear to better hear everything said by the host and Chef Alejandro through their microphones. Not straining to hear or see with this set-up greatly contributed to the enjoyment of the class, but the food and wine were of course the star of the show. The slow-cooked pork with sweet potato and orange purée was delicious. The pork melted in the mouth and the purée was creamy and bright. The wine pairing was from Gran Canaria too, ikewen, a light and refreshing organic wine that was referred to as “the best wine we have in the Canary Islands” by our chef. 

A desert was also made of mangoes, which, with bananas, are one of the biggest fruit exports of the Island. The mango is left to soften and ripen and is then vacuum-packed into a bag with curry powder, black pepper, salt, and extra virgin oil. Osmosis causes the mangos to absorb all of these flavours over a couple of days and then it is taken out and served with a Chantilly cream and a sweet crumble on top. Throughout the workshop, we were told all about the Gran Canaria and Chef Alejandro’s restaurant there. The restaurant is fortunate enough to use nearly exclusively ingredients from the islands in their dishes, resulting in a super fresh food culture across the islands

“A change is oftentimes as good as a rest so just consider this your continental take on Guinness and scampi fries for the summer”

Continuing on with the Spanish theme we attended the fantastic vermouth class given by Marta of Casa Mariol. Hailing from Terra Alta in southern Catalonia the vineyard and company is one in the hands of third-generation vintners. During the tasting, we sampled both their self-described black and white vermouths. The black or sweet vermouth had lovely herbaceous notes with a quintessential molasses-like finish. Just sweet enough to keep you wanting to go back for more. The white vermouth had a crisp vanilla nose off it and a pleasant lingering finish. Paired with an aperitif of olives and some smoked almonds…bliss. A change is oftentimes as good as a rest so just consider this your continental take on Guinness and scampi fries for the summer. Who knows the Spanish hora de vermut could be the next thing in Dublin by our reckoning, midday drinking doesn’t just have to consist of four euro Carling in the Pav. 

The demonstration was followed by a quick cocktail-making class. Vermouth, which is usually the supporting act in cocktails, was given its rightful place. No more subjection to the Negroni Sbagliato or meagre Manhattans. A classic spritz with tonic water, ice and lemon followed by a more than healthy measure of the white vermouth allowed it to stand out. To finish off the tasting we made a Mariol Spritz. This cocktail consists of a measure of the black vermouth, half a measure of Cointreau, a splash of soda water and a Spanish-sized glug of cava (also produced on their organic vineyard). Certainly a sipper for the summer but definitely a stunner to try on that special occasion or if you want to channel your inner mixologist. 

In need of rejuvenation at the end of our day, we went to the Powerscourt Distillery Whiskey Tasting Masterclass. A little sup of uisce beatha was certainly needed. The Fercullen brand was founded on the Powerscourt Estate in 2018 making it a newcomer into the archaic Irish whiskey sphere.  That said its prominence cannot be understated. The masterclass took the form of an overview of the whiskey-making process and the necessary criteria needed to produce the famed ball of malt.  A quick tasting of their small batch and single malt went down a treat with both whiskey and non-whiskey lovers alike. The star of the show however had to be Fercullen Estate Series Italian Garden. This is a limited edition whiskey aged in Amarone casks. With gorgeous honey notes and a prolonged oily finish, it’s no wonder it won the best Irish blended limited release last year. Not a bad way to finish up the day if you ask us.

Overall Taste of Dublin had so much to offer. Boujee chicken fillet rolls, Bahay’s famed battered sausage and plenty of booze to go around. Whether you are a critic or a carnivore, a connoisseur or just came for a good feed you won’t be disappointed or leave with an empty belly.   

Abby Cleaver

Abby Cleaver is the current life editor at Trinity News, having previously served as comment editor, and is a final year English literature and philosophy student.

Hannah Viljoen

Hannah Viljoen is the Deputy Editor of Food & Drink, and currently in her third year of Law.