Food for Thought: TTIP Agreement
The Irish Food Writers’ Guild shares many of the concerns expressed by fellow Guild member Darina Allen in the following statement on behalf of Slow Food Ireland.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement poses a serious threat to the well-regulated Irish and European food industry. One of the objectives of the TTIP negotiations is to achieve mutual recognition and harmonisation of food standards between America and Europe. Slow Food Ireland rejects these proposals.
The following are some of the areas around which Slow Food Ireland expresses serious concern about the TTIP:
The European Commission’s stated TTIP negotiating position is to abandon the ‘precautionary principle’. This is the system whereby chemicals and pesticides used in our food system must be proven to be safe for animal and human health prior to use. In the USA, the reverse is the case. Many carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals are used in food production there that are banned in Europe. The proposed TTIP mutual recognition system means we would no longer be able to ban these chemicals.
EU regulations currently require measures along the whole chain of production to guarantee the safety of the final product, while the US system mostly verifies the safety of the end-product and is therefore prone to resorting to pathogen reduction treatments. For example, instead of preventing chickens getting infected with pathogens during all stages of rearing and slaughter, the poultry industry there resorts to dipping chickens in chlorine to eliminate bacteria at the end of the meat production chain. Again, the harmonisation of food standards proposed in TTIP would make it impossible to maintain our standards and continue to ban the import of such foods. With more chemical inputs and higher capital costs of production than in Europe, the US factory food system produces food at a lower unit cost, and will therefore create unfair competition.
In the US, growth hormone-injected beef and dairy herds lead to lower unit costs in the price sold to consumers but also to lower quality meat and the associated human and animal health implications; while only those using intensive factory farming methods and liberal use of antibiotics are able to stay in business. The objective of TTIP is to allow not only US unlabelled hormone-injected beef to be sold in Europe, but also to allow the sale of unlabelled American GMO (genetically modified organism) products as well.
All existing food regulations not explicitly overturned in the TTIP, and all future higher and improved standards of food regulation will be subject to being overturned by a proposed quasi-judicial system of arbitration called ISDS, or Investor-State Dispute Settlement. The EU-US proposal for TTIP is to establish a new legal system just for foreign ‘investors’ so that they can bypass the Irish, European and America judicial systems when they feel their current or future profits are being infringed upon as a result of vague, ill-defined government action such as, ‘unnecessarily restrictive barriers to trade’, or, ‘overly meddlesome barriers to trade’. This would include everything from what constitutes organic food standards to correct labelling to highlight food allergy contents.
So who will benefit from this agreement?
According to Slow Food, it will certainly not be consumers, who will see food information further weakened over longer food supply chains, nor will it be the large majority of small-scale producers, serving local markets, who make up the societal and economic fabric of quality food production, the guardians of the environment and food traditions.
If you would like to join the TTIP Information Network (@TTIPInfoNetwork) in sending out a loud and clear signal against trade and investment deals that threaten our democratic rights, food sovereignty, jobs and the environment, then you might be interested in taking part in the Global Day of Action this coming Saturday, 18 April, in Dublin.
You can find full details of the workshops, seminars and actions taking place on the TTIP Info Network’s website:
You can also voice your concerns by signing the following petition, which already has over 1.6 million signatures:
Apr 16, 2015
The Inaugural Dublin Wine Fest
Fancy winning yourself a free dinner with wine pairings by correctly answering ten fun wine-based quiz questions over dinner? Or like the sound of complimentary nibbles with a discounted wine-based tipple? Curious to discover the role wine has played in the evolution of cocktails, or to learn about the history of wine-making? Interested in what a self-guided wine tasting or wine trail might entail? Or ever wondered how to extract a glass of wine from a bottle without removing the cork?
These are just some of the exciting ‘Dublin Wine Experiences’ on offer throughout the first Dublin Wine Fest, coming to over 30 Dublin restaurants and bars from April 20th–25th.
Participating venues include:
Ananda, Balfes, The Butcher Grill, Camden Kitchen, Chameleon Restaurant, China Sichuan, Coppinger Row, La Dolce Vita, Diep le Shaker, Drury Buildings, Dunne & Crescenzi, Eastside Tavern, ely winebar, ely bar & brasserie, l’Gueuleton, House, KC Peaches Wine Cave, Koh, l’Officina, Monty’s of Kathmandu, The Port House, The Port House Ibericos, The Port House Pintxos, Rio Rodizio, Rock Lobster, Saba, Stanley’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, Super Miss Sue, Tribeca Restaurant & Winebar, Whitefriar Grill, The Woollen Mills.
How will the Dublin Wine Fest work?
Festival-goers buy a €5 wristband (from participating venues or Entertainment.ie) for a 30% discount on at least two festival wines at 30+ Dublin bars and restaurants.
Each participating venue is also running a festival ‘Dublin Wine Experience’ to complement their festival wines. These range from a post-work aperitivo with complimentary nibbles, to wine-based cocktails, food and wine pairing offerings, and flights of wine.
Festival-goers vote online for the festival’s Best Dublin Wine Experience (#BestDublinWineExp) with a cash-prize for the winning venue. Those who vote will be in with a chance of winning prizes such as a €200 case of wine from O’Brien’s Wines; a €100 case of six wines from The Corkscrew; a voucher worth €70 from Baggot Street Wines, for their new The Cavern wine bar; two tickets to ‘Wine Tasting Wednesdays’ Burgundy tasting (6 May) at Green Man Wines.
Participating venues are gathered in four neighbourhood hubs (City Centre hub; Georgian Dublin hub; Liffeyside hub; Green Luas hub) to encourage festival-goers to engage in self-guided wine trails.
Green Luas hub
With participating such as Ananda, The Butcher Grill, Camden Kitchen, China Sichuan, l’Officina, The Port House Ibericos, Rio Rodizio, Rock Lobster and Tribeca Restaurant & Winebar to choose from, a trip along the Green Luas line has never been so much fun.
You could meet friends in Dundrum at ‘aperitivo o’clock’ on the terrace of l’Officina for a Venetian-style Aperol spritz, pop over to the bar in Rock Lobster for a glass of Picpoul de Pinet and a taster of Irish oysters, book yourself into Ananda for a main course pairing of slow-cooked Tandoori lamb and a €6 flight of paired wines (Catena Malbec, Portuguese Grous & Barossa Shiraz Viognier), and finish up with a tasting flight of wine-based cocktails at the Candlelight Bar above Siam, or a port and chocolate pairing at The Port House Ibericos.
Or jump off the Luas at Ranelagh and pop into Rio Rodizio for nibbles at the bar (caipirinha de vino e frango, €11.95) or into Tribeca for a glass of one of four festival wines (€4.50 each, or €7.50 with tapas of fresh crab tostada or jamon & Toonsbridge, 3pm–7pm) and then over to The Butcher Grill for a 30% discounted main course steak or fish of the day paired with El Lagar de Isilla Crianza or Verdejo.
With venues including The Chameleon, La Dolce Vita, ely bar & brasserie, Koh, The Port House Pintxos, Monty’s of Kathmandu and The Woollen Mills, choosing might be tricky.
Will you start with some steamed buns and a choice of two out of three paired wines at The Chameleon, or with a seafood tapas and vino at La Dolce Vita? Or you could take your pick of one of the four courses of food and wine pairings at The Woollen Mills (€10 each, or all four for €35, including whitebait and cava, ox tongue fritters and Zweigelt, and PX sherry and cake). And then consider hopping on the Luas and finishing up with a glass of fine wine at ely bar & brasserie, and learn about the revolutionary new Coravin extraction system which allows sommeliers to offer wines by the glass from across their full range (by extracting the wine via a needle through the cork).
Georgian Dublin hub
With participating venues including Diep le Shaker, Dunne & Crescenzi, Eastside Tavern, ely wine bar, House and KC Peaches Wine Cave, this is a charming way to mosey around Georgian Dublin.
You could start your festival experience at ely winebar with one of their daily flights of wine or at Dunne & Crescenzi with an Aperol spritz, move on for some food and wine pairings at KC Peaches Wine Cave, Eastside Tavern or Diep le Shaker and finish up in the wine-tasting room at House where €20 buys wristband-holders a chance to taste through all 16 wines, with a complimentary cheeseboard to nibble on.
City centre hub
With participating venues including Coppinger Row, Drury Buildings, l’Gueuleton, The Port House, Saba, Stanley’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, Super Miss Sue and Whitefriar Grill, the city-centre is spoilt for choice.
You could begin in Stanley’s at 5pm with their daily seminar on the history of wine-making, as you enjoy their intriguing flight of ‘skin contact’ (or ‘orange’) wines, served with a canapé of pressed duck terrine. Then stroll up to your pick of terraces (Coppinger Row for a glass of festival wines with complimentary cheese and ham for just €5.50, 5pm–7pm, or Balfe’s for a generous sharing antipasti and two glasses of festival wines for €25, 3.30pm–7pm), and on to Super Miss Sue for a small plate pairing of char-grilled shrimp and honey gyros with Ciu Ciu ‘Oris’ Pecorino/Trebbiano (€12). Or catch one of several tempting ‘early bird’ hour offers in the likes of l’Gueuleton and Whitefriar Grill.
@IrishBeverages and #DublinWineFest for daily updates between now and Monday 20th April!
Apr 10, 2015
Candlelight Bar, Siam Thai, Dundrum
Stanley's Restaurant & Wine Bar, D2
China Sichuan, Sandyford
Whitefriar Grill, Aungier Stree, D2
Good news for Sheridans Cheesemongers
Sheridans Cheesemongers' Brown Bread Crackers are flying the flag for Ireland in the new M&S range of branded artisan products from across the British Isles.
The range will be stocked in over 400 stores across the British isles and features an array of unique foods from small producers.
Marks and Spencer set about sourcing a select range of artisan products from across the British Isles in early 2014 and is to feature one of Ireland’s best loved handcrafted brands, Sheridans Cheesemongers in the mix.
The M&S new range of branded artisan foods will feature Sheridans Cheesemongers Brown Bread Crackers in over 400 stores in Britain and Ireland.
Sheridans Cheesemongers are Ireland’s leading farmhouse cheese specialists. Unsatisfied with the crackers available to accompany the great cheeses of Ireland and Britain, they decided to create their own. In 2012, Sheridans teamed up with Artisan baker Richard Graham Leigh and created a unique range of handmade crackers. Their Irish brown bread crackers now form part of the M&S range of branded artisan foods.
Sheridans Cheesemongers Irish Brown Bread Crackers
Fundamental to the creation and production of our brown bread crackers is simplicity and integrity of ingredients and process. Apart from sea salt the crackers have only three ingredients; butter, butter-milk and stone-ground wholemeal flour. These ingredients are all produced a short distance from the bakery.
Traditional brown soda bread; baked daily in the Sheridan family home, was the inspiration for these crackers. The authenticity of the ingredients and technique produces a cracker that is crisp and delicious. Apart from being perfect with cheese, they are ideal for use with any topping or equally scrumptious by themselves.
The bakery is located in Clonakilty in rural West Cork, an area renowned for its food heritage. Sheridans Cheesemongers headquarters are in the picturesque countryside of the townland of Pottlereagh in County Meath. Housed in a converted Victorian railway station, the company HQ also hosts weekly farmers markets and regular food festivals.
“This is great news for the smaller artisan Irish producers. It shows that the Irish food success story is not limited to the large agri-food companies but great success can be achieved by small family owned companies using local ingredients and drawing on Ireland’s rich food heritage. Provenance and heritage have always been a key feature of the foods we have sold over the years as well as in those we have created in more recent years, so we’re thrilled to get this recognition from the team at M&S and be included in its branded artisan product range.” – Kevin Sheridan
“These crackers represent for us in the simplest way, the potential of Irish artisan food; bringing together tradition, quality ingredients and creativity.”
– Seamus Sheridan
“It feels comfortable making this leap from being stocked exclusively in independent retailers to being stocked in M&S, which has always been a retailer associated with only the highest quality. We are really delighted that our crackers will be now available to so many customers across the UK.”
– Elisabeth Ryan, Sheridans Wholesale And Brand Manager
Apr 7, 2015
Links of Interest
Michelle Darmody: Baking with almonds
Recipes this week are orange blossom and almond cake, almond macaroons and sunken prune tarts.
The Irish Food Writers’ Guild is grateful to the Herbert Park Hotel for their ongoing generosity in hosting our regular meetings in their excellent facilities.
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