As part of this year’s Taste of West Cork Festival, a number of events have been organised in Clonakilty, a town that always commits itself fully to a festival!
There are a huge number of top quality restaurants and gastro pubs in the town, all supplied by local producers of poultry, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and confectionary. This festival is the perfect opportunity to show off Clonakilty’s commitment to fine food, with some fine entertainment thrown in for good measure.
Along with a huge array of individual events organised by venues and detailed in the festival programme, a Food Trail on the afternoon of Saturday September 9 will allow shoppers to sample small but perfectly crafted dishes, most costing between just €3 to €5, that show off the culinary expertise of various shops, gastro pubs, restaurants and delis throughout the town. These dishes will be available from 12-4pm and there will also be many free tastings along the route.
Below is a mouth watering suggested circular route of the town, which will ensure you don’t miss a single bite!
Beginning at Wolfe Tone Street, the first stop is Richy’s. The chef here is a regular on TV and you’ll see why with his Thai chicken satay with basmati rice and a hot peanut dipping sauce for €5. For 15 years Richy’s has been serving world flavours with locally sourced ingredients – a ‘think global, eat local’ message.
Across the road is a stop for seafood connoisseurs; the renowned An Súgán is offering West Cork crab fritters with a saffron aioli as its trail dish. The seafood theme continues at Astna Square where Áris, owned by the same family as An Súgán, will have a dish of garlic and chilli prawns.
Next door to Arís is the appropriately named 1 Astna Square – although this is a new venue it is run by the owners of the Fig & Olive who have brought their expertise to a West Cork hotdog, which is available on trail day.
If you’re already looking for dessert at this stage, head across the street to Harts Coffee Shop which has a slice of blackberry and apple pie with a coffee for just €5, or turn up McCurtain Hill to Clonakilty Homemade Icecream, where you’ll find a selection of sundaes for just €4.50. Owner Caroline is looking forward to the trail as another opportunity for customers to try one of her 21 delicious flavours, “We create a homemade product using only local ingredients so you’re really getting a taste of West Cork here. I love getting involved in festivals because they create such a buzz in town and this will be no different I’m sure.”
Heading along Pearse Street, pick up some fishcakes and local ham and cheese parcels at Walsh’s Pantry, a grocery and delicatessen that has a strong focus on homemade products – breads, cakes, home-cooked meats and more, and it provides great quality coffee.
Next stop is O’Neills Butchers, a traditional victualler whose slogan is ‘from farm to fork, food miles at its lowest’. Taste their sausages and blackpudding free of charge until 2pm.
De Barra’s traditional Irish pub across the street has a nice mix of food and music to enjoy with its Jazz Brunch from 12 – 3pm. This is incredible value at €10 including American style pancakes, a complimentary Bloody Mary or Bellini and live music by Clonakilty Jazz Collective.
In the middle of the street you’ll find two very different but equally delicious options. Twomey’s Butchers has a Clonakilty black pudding, sausage and mash for just €3 whilst Maya Asian Restaurant is doing a malaysian chicken curry for the trail. Clonakilty blackpudding uses a secret recipe that originated in this very butcher shop in the 1880s. Since the Twomey family took responsibility for the shop and the recipe in the 1980s, the popularity of the black pudding has continued to grow.
Further up Pearse Street, Gearoidíns has some gorgeous miniature versions of their baking selection to try – scones, cakes, chocolate brownies etc, all free of charge. Owner Geraldine is passionate about supporting local producers and all food, poultry, meat and fish is sourced within a five-mile radius.
Next head around the ‘bank corner, to Emmet Square and The Emmet Hotel whose dish for the food trail is the delicious sounding Rosscarbery pulled pork with a Vietnamese style carrot and mooli salad.
Coming to the Fire Station you’ll have to go both left and right to not miss out, to the right Lettercollum – gourmet food with a healthy attitude – is serving Mexican enchiladas with salsa and sour cream, whilst to the left, Sticky Bun, a friendly hub where everything is made in house from scratch using local quality ingredients, is offering an satisfying soup using local Timoleague vegetables.
As you roll out of Sticky Bun, think about heading back to Astna Square to let things digest – Heavy Billy, playing live from 2pm. Look out also for the Red Strand Coffee van, displaying its beans and wares, as well as main sponsors of the event, Clona Dairies and Irish Yogurts.
The day is rounded off with a social evening for residents, visitors, food producers and business owners alike. The Courtyard Bar is hosting a full BBQ for €10, including chicken, burgers, sausages and salads. There will be a great selection of craft beers – including from Clonakilty Brewing Company who are celebrating their first birthday – to accompany your food, some of which you will be able to sample. A trad session will really get the evening going from 7pm.
The organisers wish all who attend Clonakilty events throughout the whole A Taste of West Cork festival “Bon Appétit”!