It was an honor to be invited by Guinness Caribbean to visit Dublin, Ireland for the Meatopia 2019 event at the Guinness Open Brewery. Meatopia is a food festival, founded in the US by Josh Ozersky and brought to the UK by chef Richard H Turner. The Dublin chapter of the festival was hosted in collaboration with Guinness where they worked with the chefs to create special brews and blends to pair with dishes created for the event. This means that at Meatopia Dublin, you are able to sample special flavors of Guinness that you may never get to taste again. To be a part of that experience was nothing short of extraordinary.
In a conversation with Luis Mesa, the regional brand manager for Guinness Caribbean, we chatted about Guinness and “Guinness culture” and the fact that Guinness is very much a “macho” thing and often viewed in many circles as a performance enhancer. As it turns out, and I wasn’t surprised by this in the least, the lore surrounding the Guinness brand is the same worldwide. In Jamaica it is consumed at room temperature and treated like a tonic. This is by no means an accident but the effects of the campaign that those of us past a certain age would remember. That simple tagline that stuck: “Guinness is good for you”
Needless to say, the food at the event was amazing, each chef brought their own unique style and flavor to the table which made for a delicious and diverse sampling experience.
Chef David Thomas of Ida B’s Restaurant served up a lamb rubbed in Berbere seasoning, grilled for one hour then smoked for 2 hours. This Ethiopian spiced lamb was served with a Maque Choux and Epis.
Chef Thomas’ lamb was paired with a Jerk Spiced Brown Ale that he worked with Guinness to create.
My personal favorite dish for the event was the Slow Cooked Duck Breast and Crispy Duck Leg served with pickled cucumbers and a Hyderabadi curry sauce by Chef Will Bowlby. Confession time, I went back for this dish four times, it was that good!
This dish was paired with the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.
Chef Kwame Onwuachi served up some of the most tender and delicious beef ribs I ever had with his Short Rib Suya that applied some good old American Barbecue techniques with Ethiopian spices. This dish was perfectly paired with Guinness Draft
Although I was unable to try Chef Lee’s dish because of my shellfish allergy, all reports from the field confirmed that it was just as delicious as its exotic description. Pork marinated in a paste made from Buah Keluak, which is a poisonous black nut from Indonesia but also a popular delicacy from the region. The nut is fermented which makes it totally safe for consumption and made into a paste combined with shrimp, chilies and other ingredients. The pork is marinated in the paste then grilled over charcoal as skewers then served with anchovies and coconut rice.
This dish was paired with the Singaporean Pilsner which combines flavors of Oolong Tea, Pandan, Lemongrass, Vanilla and Jasmine, hands down the Singaporean Pilsner was a crowd favorite with its crisp, refreshing and unique flavor.
Chef Anna’s prep and execution of her dish was no simple undertaking. Her Chicken stuffed with Clonakilty Black Pudding, wrapped in Bacon and served as a Boudin with chicken mousse and grilled apples was a wonderful celebration of Irish food.
I was unable to sample Chef Grainne’s dish due to shellfish allergies but all reports from the field concurred that it was a winner. Her spin on a surf and turf vibe, Grilled Langoustine with Mojo Rojo sauce with Lardo atop a Grilled Sourdough Bread with Garlic Butter looked absolutely delicious and made me even more sad that I can’t have shellfish. The prep however made for some amazing, mouthwatering footage 🙂 The Maritime Stout which combines oyster flavor made for the perfect pairing for this dish.
While goat may be a popular meat choice here in Trinidad & Tobago, it isn’t what you would typically find in a festival like this. Chef Cochran’s St. Lucian roots no doubt played an integral role in his decision to promote and educate patrons on goat as a viable and sustainable choice. His Korean Spiced Goat Leg with Smacked Cucumber Salad, Tugarashi and Crispy Shallots was a bold and welcomed addition to the lineup. The crisp and light finish of the Citrus IPA it was paired with really cut through the robust smokiness of the goat and created the perfect balance.
Patrons were also treated to live demos on The Cutting Floor where participating chefs did demonstrations of different dishes.
All in all it was an amazing event full of great food, great beer, live music and overall great vibes. I was grateful for the opportunity to attend, here are a few more shots from the event:
Check out highlights of the trip on YouTube: