As the readers of Crumbs of Rain know, I come from the land of reindeer, rye bread and Restaurant Day. If you’re Irish, I bet you already know what needs to be known of reindeers and rye bread (I’m realistic here, there’s not much to know), but do you know about Restaurant day?
Restaurant Day is a Finnish invention, and during the past few years, the festive foodie day of days has spread to over 60 countries. The idea is that everyone is entitled to be a chef/baker/confectioner for a day, and sell their produce in pop-up restaurants. I have attended a few restaurant days in Finland as a customer, and it’s always been great fun: even in a bigger city like Helsinki, a Restaurant Day activates people, and for a day, a hearty old-fashioned market day atmosphere descends onto the streets. And what it comes to the smaller cities, it’s always nice to have a bit more variation from which to choose from! For one day even the law abiding Finns can ignore the hygiene legislation (note: just the legislation, not the practice; I haven’t come across a case where the food on Restaurant Day would seem even a little bit fishy), restrictions on entrepreneurship and so forth, and just go for it: be a restauranteur for a day.
When I heard that the inspiring one-woman blog French Foodie in Dublin was setting a French Food fair to showcase Irish based French food to Dubliners, I got curious: would this bring a little bit of that enthusiastic atmosphere, which is so peculiar to the Restaurant Day, in Dublin’s foodie scene? Also, I thought, who couldn’t say oui to having French pastries, wines, ciders, cheese, chocolates, meats, breads and you name it, under one roof – especially when that roof also gives shelter to one of Dublin’s most emblematic institutions, the Georgian House?
The location for French Food Fair was perfectly chosen Merrion Square, and the sunny and warm weather spoilt the Saturday city dwellers as well. When nearing Merrion Square, and then the house no. 63, you could spot the buzz on the few steps ascending to the fair. And when getting closer, you saw two young women welcoming the customers with cheery smiles, clad in stripy outfits and berets and greeting with bienvenues! I also spotted the French Foodie in her red beret, smiling and talking to people, maybe looking a bit overwhelmed but who wouldn’t – instantly you could see that the day, which must have required a hectic amount of organising, was going to be a great success.
The space was quite crammed, but in a nice, cosy way. You had to wait in queues and rows and happy mishmash to get near the produce but I didn’t mind as the day was sunny in and out, and I could feel that people were there for one thing, and one thing only, French food. And French food you got!
I got a bagful of goodies to bring home, having a nice evening cup of coffee with macaroons and chocolate, leaving the brioche, the croissants and breads for breakfast. One of the most memorable flavours in the French Food Fair was the pure French cider Lefevre. I wish there had been a nook to enjoy a nice cold glass of it instantly, but the law must be obeyed, and I only had a little tasteful – luckily on their web page you see a long list where to stock it in Dublin.
All in all, the French Food Fair brought a little breeze of a French village market atmosphere to Merrion Square. I only wish the next date for such a fair would be set already!
Merci beaucoup, et à bientôt!