If it was your mission to design a new signature dish for Ireland, suitable for service in the finest restaurants, then just what would that dish be?
That’s the question being asked of chefs and cooks, professional and amateur alike, in a competition being run as part of the Só Sligo Food Festival. The festival, one of an increasing number of food-centric events to be found gracing the Irish calendar, will see that particular corner of the north west awash with edible possibilities from the 16th to the 20th of this month.
As to the question of the signature dish, well, I don’t suppose a bowl of coleslaw would cut it?
An Irish coleslaw: it's certainly got the national colours going for it
I think that my name is on a list somewhere. Some Italian food mafia list.
And make no mistake, they are out to feed me.
First, Milano’s invite me to come and taste their new Francesco Mazzei range. All of it. Two starters, a pasta dish and three pizzas. In one sitting.
Let me tell you that the word full doesn’t remotely cover it.
Milano's Francesco Mazzei Pizzas:
Calabrese (sweet, chili-hot and sausagey, the crowd favourite), Mia Sofia (a thin-based pizza blanca that is all about the mushrooms) and Rustichella (which, let's face it, people will love for the pancetta)
Then, when I had finished digesting that, they sent their guys around with dough balls and pizza from the new Milano At Home range (eh, don’t mind if I do, grazie mille). Perhaps they’re out to change my spudly ways (after all, with the noble exception of gnocchi, Italians don’t seem to go in much for the whole potatoes thing). Or maybe they wondered if I had opinions to share, which, when it comes to food, I generally do.