Showing posts with label A Taste of West Cork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A Taste of West Cork. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

On Tour At Union Hall Smoked Fish

On Tour At Union Hall Smoked Fish
A Taste of West Cork event
Roll up folks. The tour starts now!
Four generations of the Nolans (including a couple of tiny tots) welcomed a record number of visitors to the Union Hall Smoked Fish smokery last Thursday, the tour part of the A Taste of West Cork Festival. 

Sean Nolan was surprised to see over fifty turn up to see the facility but the Nolans, who have been smoking fish for 25 years or so, weren't found wanting and soon a table was laden with samples from the smokery - the mackerel pate was perhaps the favourite - and no shortage of wine either.


Fed and “watered”, the guests, suitably garbed, were led into the building. “We’ll follow the flow of the fish through here,” said Sean. And everywhere the fish went, paperwork followed. “We were at the Intake Chill. That first step is recorded and the “fish can be traced all the way back”.

The polite visitors were a bit slow to move as we progressed to a large room. “Didn't expect this crowd,” said Sean. “It’s a bit like mass, I’ll have to get them to the front”, he joked. Soon we were on to the filleting stage where Sean revealed that the carcasses - these are farmed salmon - were sent back to Donegal. “We pay to get them in and we pay to get them out. Waste is a big problem.

Tasty!

Next step is the brineing, one and half hours for salmon, minutes for mackerel. Then he showed us the pin-boning machine. Not too sure how it works but it sure works we were told.

Now the fish is put on trays and into the smokers. Even the oak chips have to be certified. Salmon takes 15 hours while mackerel require 2.5 to 3 hours. The mackerel are hot smoked while the kippers are cold smoked.

Paper at every stage. “It is non-stop. The regulations are awkward,” he admitted. “But once you get on top of them, it is easier to stay there.”

A smoked salmon, neatly sliced by 30,000 euro worth of machinery

Now we moved on to a high risk area, now that the fish is ready to eat. Here they go through the slicing machine (30 grand!) that will “do any thickness you want”. The vacuum packers are here too.

Sean told us different areas of the country have different preferences. Smoked tuna is now the big seller in Dublin.

And he finished with a few tips. “Salmon freezes very well but do not freeze our fresh pate.” 

Ready to roll
Read more about this family company here

See also, from A Taste of West Cork:
Breton Delights at Celtic Ross
Down Under Wonders at the Eldon Hotel

Friday, September 9, 2016

THREE CHEFS (FROM MANY) AT A TASTE OF WEST CORK

 THREE CHEFS (FROM MANY)
 AT A TASTE OF WEST CORK
Matthew checking down under!
Made my mind up early this year to get a little deeper into this month's A Taste of West Cork. Rather then driving down and coming back on the same day, I'm going to stay for three consecutive nights. And as it happens, the three nights give me the chance to see three very different chefs, beginning at the Celtic Ross on the 15th with Breton Eric Theze in action. On the Friday, Kiwi Matthew Brownie takes us all down under in Skibbereen's Eldon and, on the Saturday, West Cork's own Rob Krawczyk serves up a feast in Ballydehob's Levis Bar. That's the nights catered for - just have to fill in the days now!
Eric (left)

Thursday September 15th:


Eric Theze; Irish Restaurant Awards Best Chef in Co. Waterford 2016 offers up 5 courses ‘a La Boheme’.
The coastal location of Roscarberry will play host to one of A Taste of West Cork’s international dining experiences, as the Celtic Ross Hotel welcomes guest chef Eric Thezé, who will present a delicious five-course tasting menu featuring dishes from Brittany. The chef, who is proprietor of La Boheme in Waterford, will be joined by Alex Petit, Head Chef at the reputable Celtic Ross Hotel. This luxurious dining event will take place on Thursday 15th September and will showcase not only the talents of the chefs involved, but also the diversity of the annual A Taste of West Cork Food Festival. Visit www.celticrosshotel.com.  


Friday September 16th:

‘DOWN UNDER’ NIGHT
Friday, September 16th
7.00pm 9:30pm


The Eldon Hotel, Bridge Street, Skibbereen/7pm to 9.30 pm/€25/Booking essential numbers limited /028 22802

G’day mate! Ever wondered what the other side of the world eats - well this is your opportunity to find out! The Eldon Hotel’s Kiwi Head Chef Matthew Brownie and Bar Manager Brett Cleary will create nine tasting dishes from the Southern Hemisphere including kangaroo. Many surprises in store along with music in the bar afterwards.
Charcuterie by Krawczyk
Saturday September 17th

 From Leinster to Levis’ with Love - Rob Krawczyk at Levis Corner House, Ballydehob.  
Indulge in an unforgettable dining experience at this year’s A Taste of West Cork Food Festival on Saturday 17th September (7.00pm), with a feast prepared by West Cork native and RAI’s Best Chef in Leinster Rob Krawczyk, served within the atmospheric surroundings of Levis’ Corner House Pub in Ballydehob. The intimate venue, which is lovingly run by former Fred frontman Joe O’Leary and his partner Caroline O’Donnell, will provide the perfect setting for a night of great food and music, with internationally-renowned Irish composer Maurice Seezer on hand for the evening to entertain diners. Those in attendance will even get an opportunity to perform alongside Maurice as they attempt to ‘sing for their supper’, with the most talented entry eating free of charge! This is most certainly a treat for the senses that is not to be missed. Visit www.leviscornerhouse.com.


Chefs in West Cork

There'll hardly be a street or a boreen in West Cork without a chef over the next week or so.  Talented chefs featuring at many different venues include Matt Williamson, celebrity Chef Derry Clarke (of Michelin Star L' Ecrivain restaurant fame), Freelance Chef Chris Hedges, Jessica Stutchbury, Chef and Forager Kevin O’Connell, Journalist Joe MacNamee, Takashi Miyazaki (Best Chef in Ireland 2015 – McKenna Guide), TV Chef Catherine Fulvio,  Danni Barry (Michelin Star chef),  Paola Vais, Ali Honour, Rachel Allen (Chef, author and television star), Blogger Louise Kelly, Eric Thezé (Irish Restaurant Awards Best Chef in Co. Waterford 2016), Leylie Hayes (Executive Chef at Avoca and esteemed cook book author), Francine Thurnheer, Rob Krawczyk (winner of the National Restaurants Association of Ireland Best Chef in Leinster 2016) and West Cork’s very own Martin Shanahan.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rare Cookery Books Workshop – Keith Floyd

Rare Cookery Books Workshop – Keith Floyd. A Taste of West Cork Food Festival Event. Urru Culinary Store Bandon Saturday 10 September 4.30pm

If you love your rare cookery books and recipes and are interested in showing, sharing and seeing other people’s rare books then come join us for a round table show ‘n’ tell workshop.

The Rare Cookery Books Workshop continues this year with a particular focus on Keith Floyd – a one time resident of Kinsale and acknowledged by many chefs as the “Original Celebrity Chef”.

Food writer and Floyd fan, Dianne Curtin will lead the discussion by sharing her books from the era out of which Keith Floyd emerged. Kinsale based chef, Una Crosbie, will also share her memories and books from Keith Floyd.

So, if you are a fan of Floyd or have a rare cookery book or two that you would like to share with like-minded enthusiasts or if you are just curious, then come along, with your books, memories and little stories for an afternoon of chit chat and discovery.


€6 including light refreshment
Booking advised as space is limited.
Contact Ruth for further details and booking 023-8854731 or book on line www.urru.ie

Sunday, September 6, 2015

In Spiller’s Lane. Choc And Aah!

In Spiller’s Lane
Choc And Aah!
Allison, on her bike, with her Clonakilty Chocolate
Clonakilty hotels and restaurants were out in force as A Taste of West Cork festival kicked off in the town’s Spiller’s Lane on Saturday. The sun came out too and so did hundreds of punters as the local mayor opened the event.
With music playing, we sauntered up and down the narrow lane and started off with a delightful cocktail from Fernhill Hotel. Ingredients were mostly local, of course, and the "Corktail" included service with a smile. Neighbouring stall saw the Emmet Hotel dishing out loads of delicious small bites. We sampled canapés featuring Union Hall Salmon and Chicken Paté, both excellent.

An Sugan (top)
and Richie's bun.
A beetroot salad? The offer came from the man at the Baile an Ard Foods Stand and, of course, we said yes. It was very impressive. He told me the salad, along with quite a few others, may be bought in local shops and supermarkets and that they also do catering for events such as Communions, Confirmations, parties, even Christmas. So now you know.

An Sugan had quite a menu on offer and we picked their Scallops with a parsnip and potato puree. Three big juicy scallops, for a fiver! 

And we did well next door too with Richy’s Bistro where the man himself served up their Steamed Pork Bun, based on a dish by a top New York chef. Ricky took a while to figure out how to reproduce it but it was worth the wait as it is a beauty, another gem for a fiver.


The Lettercollum Project
On the way back down (maybe up!), we stopped for the speeches alongside the Clonakilty Black Pudding stand. And then there was ice-cream from the lady at Clonakilty Homemade Ice Cream. The Honeycomb was delicious and a reasonable two euro for a boule. They have a shop in the town and do outdoor events and supply to restaurants and hotels around West Cork. They’ve been doing it for the past ten years and all the ice cream is made on the premises.
We had lots of other samples as we made our way around but our final stop was at Clonakilty Chocolate where Allison was not alone displaying her range of freetrade bars but also the newest addition to the family, the baby sleeping soundly despite the crowds. No need to sample here, we know how good her chocolate is.

We did buy a few bars, including the favourite Mo Milk Chocolate. This includes goats milk and Coconut Blossom Syrup, a creamy compromise between the bean and milk. Enjoying it now as I write this. Tough going!

  • A Taste of West Cork continues all this week with events, big and small, taking place across the area. Get your hands on the brochure or check it out here .

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival 2015

press release
West Cork awaits Foodies, Fun Lovers & Families!
Save the Date!
    
I enjoyed Castletownbere Monkfish, wrapped in Gubbeen cured ham
with Carrageen Moss and caramelised Shallot Potato Puree,
a terrific dish at Inchydoney Lodge during last year's festival
The annual and wonderful A Taste of West Cork Food Festival will take place once again from 4th-13 September.  With events from Bandon to Beara, over 30 of the region’s scenic towns and villages and more than 80 restaurants, pubs and hotels, including 8 idyllic islands, are participating. 

With a plethora of great places to stay, West Cork’s Wild Atlantic Way will fling open its doors to welcome you and yours for a memorable visit. 
  
The festival takes in Bandon, Clonakilty, SchullBantrySkibbereen (its home base), Baltimore, Glandore, Durrus, AhakistaAllihies and all points west to include, for the first time, the wonderful towns, villages and attractions of the Beara Penninsula.  

Foodies, fun lovers and families will be amazed at the choices before them.  With chefs from all over the world ‘guesting’ (including Andy McFadden of the Michelin starred L’Autre Pied (London), the ever popular Derry Clarke of L’Ecrivan, and JP McMahon of Aniar (Galway) - to mention a few), visitors to the region can look forward to restaurant themed evenings (for the skinted or minted!), food masterclasses and tastings, open air markets, historic tours, island-hopping, ‘The Journey of Milk’ Sustainable Farming Conference, The Belling Food Awards and lots more - it’s all go at A Taste of West Cork Festival!   

For the adventurous there’s catch ‘n’ cook experiences, moonlight kayaking, seashore foraging, walks on Cape Clear Island, and miles and miles of wonderful coastline and beaches to welcome you to West Cork’s Wild Atlantic Way.

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival gets better every year!  
Check out our programme – we’re adding all the time!  www.atasteofwestcork.com;

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Great West Cork Distillery Tour. Beautiful Baltimore

Great West Cork Distillery Tour

Beautiful Baltimore. Bountiful Clonakilty. 

A terrific tour of the West Cork Distillery in Skibbereen was the highlight of the first part of our twenty four hours in West Cork. A twenty four hours that had some changes to the “plan”, a rather loose one admittedly.

First hiccup, if you could call it that, came on the way down when a phone call to Baltimore revealed that the two o’clock trip on the SeaSafari was off as the craft was out of the water for the afternoon and being cleaned up.

So then the Distillery tour, one o’clock start, was pencilled in. Got into Skibbereen in good time and called to a busy Apple Betty’s. Ordered a panini. That was a little slow in coming but it was gorgeous, a terrific filling of bacon, Cashel blue and a fantastic relish. Rushed it a bit and hot footed down the street to the Distillery.

John O'Connell (foreground) in the Distillery
Things didn't look good here as people were coming away rather than going in! Apparently, the Distillery weren't very happy with the time published in the "Taste of West Cork" brochure. Director John O’Connell explained they couldn't do the tour at one but would have “a good one” at three.

It worked out well, at least for us. We headed off in the sun (the weather forecast was not exactly spot-on either) to Baltimore, packed with people who seemed to know more than the forecasters. So packed, we didn't find a space in the car parks.

Off out the road we went to the Beacon and enjoyed marvellous views both on the way and during our walk up to the Baltimore landmark. Great views over the islands, Sherkin the nearest, and back to the little town. Later, we had a pause and a walk by the harbour. Hiccups yes but this day was going very well indeed.
The Beacon
So well, we nearly missed the tour or so we thought. But there was no rush as dozens and dozens of people arrived, the big numbers a surprise to John and his friendly staff. Still we were all settled, with a glass of their Drombeg, perhaps their most famous whiskey so far, and a good one too for this time of day as it is just twenty per cent abv.


John then took us on a walkabout of the distillery where the staff were still working. He took us through the process, from the malted barley coming in, and along the journey to the casks (they use sherry casks) and the bottling at the end.

Great informative stuff and more whiskey before we left, with tastings of their West Cork whiskey, the normal and the cask (57% abv!). If you like your whiskeys flavoured then Kennedy’s is the one for you. You may have it Spiced, Honied, Limed and Chillied! They also do a gin, poitin and a vodka here, under the Two Trees brand. And that’s not all.

The ferry, from Sherkin, just arrived in Baltimore
But that was it for us and we headed through the town and off to the Inchydoney Island for that evening’s magnificent nine course dinner “A Taste of West Cork”, all part of the week long food festival in the area. Read all about it here.

And there was yet more whiskey on arrival as we were pleasantly surprised with a glass of the lovely Irish Mist. Time then for a walk on the fantastic beaches here.

The Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa is a four star hotel on the Wild Atlantic Way but I must say that the facilties and service that we enjoyed there were closer to five star. Great place with great staff. The only hiccup perhaps was a delay at breakfast but I think that was down to the many customers that all came together at about ten o’clock on the Saturday. Hard to legislate for that!

At Apple Betty's
They support local produce here obviously and I enjoyed my Scrambled Egg and Ummera Smoked Salmon before we headed off to Clonakilty in the morning mist. It had dried up by the time we arrived and we wandered through the streets looking for the Lettercollum Project shop.

We found it and it was busy, selling salads, tarts, cheese, wine, nuts, seeds, breads and so much more, much of it based on produce from their walled garden in nearby Lettercollum. We went off with enough salad (mixed beans) and bread for two delicious lunches over the weekend.

And we also found Vic and his organic Dexter beef in the market. The main market is on Friday but you’ll find some stalls operating on Thursday and Saturday. I’ll soon have a separate post up about Vic and his tasty beef but for the latest check out his Facebook page

Our twenty fours in West Cork were up and it was time to head back to the city. But we’ll return. Again and again!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Seaweed Featured in Multi-course Taste of West Cork

Seaweed Featured in Multi-course Taste of West Cork
Inchydoney Chef and team in top form


 Meet Jim and Maria Kennedy from the Intertidal Zone. “We spend most of our time there,” said Jim as they introduced us to the Magic of Seaweed at the start of the third annual A Taste of West Cork meal in the Inchydoney Island last Friday.


Jim and Maria had quite a few samples of the various seaweeds available (to taste, to touch) and spoke in detail of their different properties. “Seaweed is a super food….from a garden that doesn’t need to be weeded… dulse and carrigeen have traditionally been used in the Irish kitchen...Seaweed is also an amazing detox ingredient….makes a nourishing top dressing for your garden plants.”  And so much more.



West Cork garlic, organic Rosscarbery leeks, Clonakilty potato, and hand foraged Sea Vegetable Soup,
with a seaweed scone, tomato jam and roasted garlic cream cheese.
Jim advised to “look at the Spring tides when the better seaweeds are exposed”. “But,” he added, “If doing it yourself, be careful.” Read more about seaweed here.

Jim and Maria, who run Atlantic Sea Kayaking, are from Skibbereen but you could come across them almost anywhere, from the Liffey to Mexico, from Spain to Japan.

Rabbit and Harrington's black pudding, Shannonvale Chicken lollipop.
Friday evening though was firmly rooted in West Cork and Inchydoney Head Chef Adam Metcalf had the major task of blending all the marvelous products of the area, from its bountiful and beautiful land and sea, into a multi course meal as the week long festival, also named A Taste of West Cork, got underway. Surprisingly, there were no local beers, ciders or spirits included. Maybe next year?

Adrian, the local representative of Findlaters, took us through the various wines that had been picked to accompany the meal. We were greeted with a glass of Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad Cava and that went very well indeed with the Seaweed Sushi (including an amazing toasted Nori) that came with Ummera Smoked Salmon and also the Smoked Shannonvale chicken with Pickled Ginger and Sea Kale.

Castletownbere Monkfish, wrapped in Gubbeen cured ham
with Carrageen Moss and caramelised Shallot Potato Puree.
Some gorgeous breads on the table as we sat down including a Dulse Seaweed, Marsh Samphire and Atlantic Sea Salt Loaf. And Sea Lettuce featured in the Bantry Bay Lobster Course as did a spiced Bluefin Tuna.

Next up was a hand foraged Sea Vegetable soup with a seaweed scone! Rabbit was stuffed with local black pudding and also accompanied by a Shannonvale Chicken Lollipop.

Elderflower Parfait
All the while, the wines were being poured and the next course, the Castletownbere Monkfish (caught by the Fair Maiden), was accompanied by an intense Albarino. The fish was wrapped in that terrific Gubbeen Cured Ham and there was some discussion as to whether the salt of the ham did the fish any favours. Someone suggested that a pancetta wrap would have been better. Someone else said the fish didn’t need a wrap at all!

Then on to the sweet things, an Elderflower Parfait (foraged elderflower, Valley View egg and Clona Dairy Parfait) with a hand picked Wild Damson Compote and a Bushy Strawberry Sauce. Delightful.

The finale.
To finish, there was a choice of Barry’s Tea or Java Coffee with Inchydoney Recipe Chocolate flavoured with seaweed, some oak smoked Gubbeen cheese along with the hotel’s own Plum and Sultana Chutney on an impressive Patisserie Royale Cracker, handmade in nearby Lisavaird by Richard Graham Leigh.

That last course was accompanied by a glass of Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port. The earlier wines were Vicar’s Choice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (quite a favourite at our table), Pionero Mundi Albarino, and Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz (70%) Cabernet.


Findlater's Albarino

So well done to the many West Cork producers chosen this year and a big congrats too to Chef Adam and his crew who did the hotel proud.  I spoke to one guest who has been at all three events. He reckoned the first was a bit over the top (quite large portions all the way through), the second was underwhelming (probably in reaction to year one), but “this time they got it right”!  And so say all of us.
See account of the full day in West Cork, including Distillery visit, here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

West Cork Suppliers on Show

Say cheese: Fooling around with Val Manning

West Cork Suppliers on Show



Some of the top food producers and suppliers in West Cork were gathered in the ballroom of the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen last Wednesday as part of the week long A Taste of West Cork festival, specifically there in the morning so that the visiting chefs for the evening’s highlight, the Celtic Cook-off, could sample and choose from the produce.

Delighted to get an invite to the morning session and meet up with some old friends from the markets and also meet some new ones. Manning’s Emporium  from Ballylickey had a stand groaning with some of the best cheese around: Durrus, Coolea, Gubbeen, Fermoy etc. and Val and Andrew were in top form. More top notch cheese too at the Milleens stand where Quinlan Steele was on duty.

Frank Krawczyk, a citizen of the world who loves his West Cork home, is one of Ireland’s best known salami and sausage makers. Loved his Bresaola and his treatement of a shoulder of pork, both tasty and moist, not to mention his cured ham. Frank, based in Schull, gives regular demonstrations at Ballyvolane House and O’Brien’s Chop House.
Frank Krawczyk

Axel and Marye Miret are the couple behind West Cork Garlic  and their product was used by winning chef Garry O’Hanlon. Caroline Hennessy was on the 8 Degrees Brewing stand and she was displaying the full range of their popular beers. Saw the ale again on the Friday, on tap in Cork’s latest craft beer pub, the Hub in Anglesea Street.

Two of the four people on the Celtic Cook-off working group, Avril Allshire of Rosscarbery Recipes and Sally Barnes (“the greatest fish smoker in the country”, according to one Tom Doorley) of Woodcock Smokery were both busy at their stands.

Lingered also at the Skeaghanore West Cork Duck stand, for the conversation and also for a sample or two. Here they like to keep it simple, natural and additive free. Read all about this wonderful product here.


The chefs had been down to the coast earlier in the mornings so there was no fish stand in the ballroom but the sea wasn’t forgotten as we met Sally McKenna of Bridgestone Guides and Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking.  They had a very impressive display from the sea and the shore including Dilisk, Carrageen Moss, Sea Spaghetti and Wrack and more. Tasty stuff too and Masterchef winner Tim Anderson was shopping there.

Got to most of the stands but missed out on a few, including Brown Envelope Seeds. All of the suppliers were back for the Cook-off in the evening and the stands were kept busy as hundreds of people squeezed in.

A few more producers came too, including Glenilen and Matson’s Wine and Food Store of Bandon who, with Searson’s, were supplying the matching wines for the cook-off meals. Matson’s are offering 20 per cent off on the show wines for the next while. I got a taste of one of them, the Vallado from the Douro, a terrific red, easy drinking and delicious.

All in all, a great experience that underlined once again the quantity and quality of the producers in the area. And, another thing, these are friendly folk. So why not put the festival in your diary for September 2013. You won’t regret it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reinforcements for Celtic Cook-off Champ!


Ondine's Roy Brett makes welcome return to Taste of West Cork!

2011 Celtic Cook Off winner, Roy Brett of Ondine Restaurant in Edinburgh, is bringing three of his brigade with him to the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen to provide “A Taste of Ondine” on Tuesday 11 September. Roy and his team will work with Chef Aidan O’Driscoll and the West Cork Hotel team to cook a Scottish themed meal using the very best of West Cork produce.

Roy loved his visit to the A Taste of West Cork Festival so much last year that he discussed the possibility of coming back with Neil Grant, West Cork Hotel General Manager, as soon as he returned to Scotland. “Roy has been an unbelievable ambassador for West Cork and its incredible food produce since his visit a year ago,” explains Neil. “Roy featured Rosscarbery Recipe’s White and Black puddings, Sally Barnes Smoked Salmon and he even started baking his own Soda Bread after his visit. I understand he knocked back numerous offers to attend various events this year in favour of attending this year’s food festival, so we are thrilled to have him.”

Roy will be a busy man. Not only will he be cooking a meal at the West Cork Hotel, he is also judging for both the Food Festival’s Schools’ Cookery Competition and this year’s Celtic Cook Off event. Roy was blown away by the quality of cooking on show at last year’s Schools’ Competition and vowed to return. “If you asked a kid in Scotland where there food came from they would say ‘Tesco,’” was Roy’s quip on seeing the young chefs talk about the provenance of their food being cooked last year!

It will be fascinating to see Roy judge the Celtic Cook Off as he is very familiar with Tony Singh of Scotland as well as Jack Stein and Stephane Delourme who are coming from the Rick Stein Company and representing Cornwall and Brittany respectively. “I can’t wait to put them under a little bit of pressure,” says Roy. We can’t wait either!!

Roy’s Taste of Ondine will be a six course tasting menu at €40 per person and will be served at 7:30 PM on Tuesday 11 September. Roy may even drag a few of the Celtic Cook Off competitors into the kitchen to support him!

The produce for this Celtic Feast is kindly sponsored by artisan food producer members of West Cork Food. As Neil Grant says, “We are lucky to have such a wealth of great produce in this region. The producers have such passion and their passion combined with Roy’s artistry….wow. We are in for a great night!”

Bookings can be made through the West Cork Hotel reception. +00 353 (0)28 21277

Saturday, August 25, 2012

SKIBBEREEN HEATS UP

Alannah Cawley pictured at Thornhill Organic Farm, Skibbereen.

SKIBBEREEN HEATS UP FOR FOR MUNSTER’S FAVOURITE FOOD FESTIVAL   
Festival to Celebrate the Humble Spud


Summer may be almost over and we may have missed the sun but Skibbereen is beginning to heat up for its premier festival, “A Taste of West Cork”. Ireland’s longest established food festival which is now in its ninth year runs from September 9-16 with a host of events to suit every taste and budget.

A Taste of West Cork is the best opportunity hundreds of local producers have to get in front of people who are passionate about food. This year’s festival is set to be bigger and better with a real focus on Ireland’s food heritage. Special homage will be paid to the humble spud as the nation’s favourite tuber takes centre stage with a variety of events looking at the importance of the potato in Ireland including a special workshop by Eanna Ni Lamhna.

The ever popular Schools Cookery Competition will see students challenged to create unique dishes centred on the potato while restaurants around Skibbereen also create their own unique ‘spudcentric’ dishes. There will also be numerous workshops, tastings and demonstrations on all elements of international cuisine with the full calendar of events aiding the extension of West Cork’s tourist season.

Among the list of other standout events will be the traditional open air food and craft market with over 100 exhibitors, themed nights in restaurants in Skibbereen and beyond, nutritional workshops, appearances from a host of celebrity chefs, including UK Masterchef winner Tim Anderson, traditional music nights and a special performance from one of Ireland’s best singer/ songwriters, Declan O’Rourke.

This year will also see the return of the very popular Celtic Cook Off at the West Cork Hotel which will see chefs from the six Celtic territories (Scotland, Isle of Man, Ireland, Cornwall, Wales and Brittany) participate in a ‘cook off’ event in front of a live audience, whilst also aiming to impress a panel of judges.

Speaking of the festival, Clare Gallagher, Chairperson said, “West Cork has long been noted as the capital of artisan food in Ireland and we are spoiled for choice with the range of locally produced products we have on offer. We understand how important local food is to our economy and with our wealth of artisan food producers, supportive retailers, talented chefs and award winning restaurants we believe West Cork has it all. Through the hard work of our farmers and fishermen by land and sea we produce world class food and combine this with the most idyllic part of Ireland, A Taste of West Cork makes for the perfect festival for all the family. The festival is also the first step in highlighting West Cork as a top choice of holiday destination to the Irish abroad ahead of The Gathering 2013. In this we are hugely grateful to Fáilte Ireland for all of their support and encouragement.”

She continued, “From seminars on food heritage, to food demonstrations and tastings, competitions between the best chefs in Europe and West Cork, and the grand finale of the biggest harvest food and craft market staged in the Fairfield, there will be something to tempt every palette.”

Many events throughout the week are free or minimum charges apply. To view the entire list of events, times and prices please visit www.atasteofwestcork.com