#borderbites at #TasteOfCavan 2016

#borderbites is a hashtag inhabited by group of friends. The ‘bites’ bit refers to the fact we love to eat together, and share experiences of good food. The ‘border’ bit is a loose geographic reference – Cavan-Monaghan, Cavan-Meath, Cavan-Leitrim. We are (usually) @magsamond, @caramcdermott, @cfoxcavan, @maudmonaghan, @doogarry and @foodborn, joined whenever possible by @tierneymajella and @jmlhayes. As the group more or less evolved via Twitter, we were happy to help out with social media coverage at this year’s Taste Of Cavan two day festival. Have a look at the resulting contributions to the original TOC accounts on Twitter and Facebook,  with new uploads to Instagram, Vine, and most fun of all, live updates with Cara on Snapchat.

IMHO, the Taste of Cavan is getting better every year, and truly is a credit to Cavan County.
Council officer Majella Tierney coordinates a team that seems to involve everyone from the CEO right through the entire County Council staff and beyond to a team of willing volunteers. Looking around over the two days of the event, I spotted a librarian directing traffic, a draughtsman sorting trash bins, a Director of Services on roadie duty helping stall holders getting set up, a road engineer fielding phone inquires…it was visibly and literally ‘all hands on deck’, and all done with a smile.

#TasteOfCavan has become a ‘don’t miss it’ local annual event. It is a great value family day out, with something for everyone – foods and drinks to taste, demos to watch, hands-on workshops, paint for faces (great fun with patient Ulster Bank staff making small folk very happy), experiments to try, farm animals to visit – name it and ToC has got it.


It is really tough to choose favourites, but here’s a baker’s dozen of my own highlights:

  1. Best family fun – the County Cavan Museum space – especially the spinning wheel, butter churning, and pride of place went to the 1916 photo booth (which was very popular with all who dressed up and came away with a period family picture for the mantlepiece. See below.) It has to be said – our museum curator Savina Donohoe is a National Treasure!
  2. Best food stand – Ciste Milis. Don’t just take my word for it – this won the Overall Award of ToC as well as the Best in Bakery award. It won on every level for me – proprietor Alan, aided by youngsters Oisin (11) and Liam (9) were amazing vendors, and their product, a selection of hand pressed shallow tarts, is top notch. Watch out for them.
  3. Best taste of any food product – the BlackBerry & Fig Balsamic Wild Wood vinegar by Fiontáin in Mayo. WOW!
  4. Best coffee – the late evening espresso from J&B Hope. Lifesaver.
  5. Best Chef demo – this was a tough category – but my top spot was chef Eddie Atwell preparing lunch without a stove – an eel from Lough Neagh cooked with a blowtorch, salad foraged from around his kitchen at St Kyran’s in Virginia, and dessert which included fudge made from…pineappleweed.
  6. Best suspense & fun – the inaugural Home Chef competition that was woven through the day. Six women and two men, all amateurs, brave enough to cook in front of an audience. A great idea by Neven Maguire. Well done to both winner Megan (salmon / cous cous / pesto) and runner-up Margaret (Corleggy goat cheese / zucchini frittata / spuds roast in home reared & rendered pig fat).
  7. Best Art / Craft – Jackie O’Neill’s embroidery-hooped mixed media canvasses, especially the Japanese collection.
  8. Best Inspiration – the Cavan County Council Pallet Garden area, which was beautifully presented. [It would have been even better if someone had been there all the time to give advice and explain how it was developed – let’s have that next year, please!]
  9. Best Groove – the event was enlivened every time the Cavan Big Band members took to the stand in the Ulster Bank Chill Zone.
  10. Best Transport – the “train” taking people in and out of town all day. Ding Ding.
  11. Best Science – Stem Aware investgative activities at the Cavan-Monaghan Science Week stand.
  12. Best Voluntarism – Cavan Cuan group, friends of Irish Cancer Society  – well done to Martina Lee Boyle and Co.
  13. Best Unexpected Beauty Advice – to keep skin smooth, use a mixture of natural yogurt and turmeric! Thanks for this goes to visiting inspirational guru of spices, Anjula Devi, who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. And who has now shared the secret of her eternal youth.

See you at #TasteOfCavan 2017.

PS – There was even time to indulge in a little historical cosplay – here we have some of the #borderbites brigade ‘on duty’ at the ‘GPO’ at the County Museum stand.


Front row L to R: Cmdt. Cara ‘Curly’ McDermott, Sgt. Joanne ‘Jolly’ Hayes, Capt. Margaret ‘Honky’ Griffin.
Back row L to R: Maj. Mags ‘Markievicz’ Amond, Gen. Marie ‘Smiley’ McKenna, Brig. Catherine ‘Fixit’ Fox.
(Missing In Action – Gen. Majella ‘Superwoman’ Tierney and Col. Mairéad ‘Potter’ Quinn.)









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