Hands on and join the food dots in West Cork weekend

Stephen Sage has been on to tell us all about a fantastic Weekend Break for food enthusiasts in West Cork, Ireland, for St Patrick’s Day 2012

West Cork has a reputation as a centre of excellence for artisan food production; a reputation founded on the care, commitment and skill that the artisan producers and providers of this enticingly beautiful part of Ireland bring to all that they do.

Many of them have a lifetime’s worth of practical experience, and are more than happy to share their skill and passion with people who appreciate good food.

West Cork Food has been created to bring the treasure-house of that experience within the reach of individuals like you, people who truly appreciate good food, how it’s produced and how it’s cooked.

During a weekend or longer, you get to meet and visit artisan producers, watch the experts at work, acquire some new skills, stay in quality accommodation and enjoy the captivating landscape and seascape of West Cork in all its diversity.

West Cork is an area served and supported by small businesses, a key element of its distinctive character. West Cork Food is itself a small, local business, and we act as a focus for the wide range of artisan producers scattered across the region so that they can provide food, cookery or gardening enthusiasts like you with a unique experience; an experience that incorporates the active participation of those producers themselves.

West Cork Food is organised and managed by Sally Barnes and Stephen Sage, and grew out of their discussions around how to bring the world-class quality of West Cork artisan food production to a wider audience.

Journalist Carol Gilbert described the initiative in these terms: ‘Sally Barnes and Stephen Sage have initiated an enterprise, which effectively joins up the dots. They have included all that is best to showcase West Cork food and provide an enjoyable quality experience for groups visiting the region.’

Web: www.westcorkfood.com
Weekend Break for food enthusiasts in West Cork, Ireland, for St Patrick’s Day 2012

We are offering a special St Patrick’s Day Weekend Break as the first of our holidays for food enthusiasts this year.

Running from Friday 16 to Monday 19 March, this break will feature a Smoke Your Own Session with Sally Barnes of Woodcock Smokery, a visit to Gubbeen Farm hosted by Giana Ferguson, an informal evening with three selected artisan producers, a visit to meet Madeline McKeever of award-winning Brown Envelope Seeds, and a celebratory dinner designed around available local produce.

Accommodation will be provided as three double rooms at the prestigious West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen.

We can accommodate six food enthusiasts on this special weekend. To make enquiries or to book, simply email Stephen Sage at editor@westcorkfood.com.

If you can organise a group of six, including yourself, then you will win a €50 Voucher for Ballinwillin House Farm, famed for its wine cellar, hand crafted food and its farm shop.

Here’s the Full Programme:

Friday 16 March:

Arrive at West Cork Hotel

6.30 - Meet the Producers

An informal chance to meet, talk and eat with four of our leading artisan producers in West Cork:

Jeffa Gill – Durrus Cheese, the only Cork washed-rind cheese still made from unpasteurised milk
Frank Krawczyk - Charcutier from Schull who has made prize winning pork sausages; currently teaching Nose to Tail Pig Butchering and Curing Skills
Con McCloughlin and Karen Austin – Lettercolum Kitchen Project, a walled vegetable garden and its produce; Con and Karen also have their own shop producing bread and croissants, savoury and sweet tarts, pizzas, soup and lasagne on a daily basis

Saturday 17 March:

10.30 - Smoke Your Own

A visit to Sally Barnes at Woodcock Smokery to learn filleting skills and prepare your own fish to be smoked in time for you to take it home with you. Woodcock smoked wild salmon has regularly featured in the Great Taste Awards in London.

Lunch at Woodcock Smokery

3.00 - Gubbeen Farmhouse

A visit to the Georgian farmhouse at Gubbeen near Schull hosted by Giana Ferguson to see the dairy, smokehouse and vegetable gardens. Gubbeen Cheese has been winning awards since the 1980’s, including a Gold Medal in the British Cheese Awards.

Return to the West Cork Hotel:

St Patrick’s Day Dinner

A special St Patrick’s Day Dinner prepared for our guests and featuring available local produce. The fare here focuses on locally-caught seafood, on the best of locally-sourced, seasonal game, and on the finest of local herbs and organic vegetables. House specialities include Bantry Bay Mussels, Castletownbere Crab and Salmon Cake.

Followed by the traditional evening music session for Paddy’s Day in the Hotel Bar

Sunday 18 March:

12.00 - From Plot to Plate at Glebe Gardens and Café

A chance to meet Jean and Peter Perry at their stunning creation, Glebe Gardens near Baltimore, and enjoy a light lunch - see www.glebegardens.com

3.00 – No Food Without a Seed

Visit to Brown Envelope Seeds at Ardagh, Church Cross, near Skibbereen hosted by 2011 Belling Artisan Awards Winner, Madeline McKeever - see: www.brownenvelopeseeds.com

Return to the West Cork Hotel and then evening:

Dinner at Le Voyage at The Wine Vaults, Skibbereen

A restaurant committed to serving some of the finest cuisine in Ireland with a unique choice of classic European dishes, traditional Irish food, steak, vegetarian and seafood dishes. Also a great selection of fine wines - see www.levoyage.ie

Monday 19 March:


Total cost: €455 per person


  • Accommodation and breakfast
  • Evening meals on all three days
  • Collection and return to Cork airport or station if required
  • Transport to and from venues

Book now to avoid disappointment, organise your own group and win that €50 Ballinwillin Voucher!

Email editor@westcorkfood.com or call 00 353 (0)28 37931