The members of the renowned A Taste of West Cork committee, along with food producers, restaurateurs, hoteliers, chefs and many more talented members of the region’s culinary community are excitedly gearing up for the beginning of 2017’s A Taste of West Cork Food Festival, which kicks off on Friday, September 8 and runs until Sunday, September 17.
Preparations for the 10-day annual Festival have been underway for months, as organisers have worked tirelessly to ensure that this year’s amazing line up of events surpasses both that of previous years and people’s high expectations. The dedicated committee, along with their key sponsors have achieved just that and are proud to present a programme of activities that incorporates everything from cooking demonstrations, food tastings and themed dining nights to adventure tours, art exhibitions and discussion-based conferences and forums.
With over 230 culinary and adventure events set to take place across 36 towns and villages and eight islands, this year’s Food Festival took a lot of hard work and dedication to come to fruition, but with all of the ingredients now in place to make an amazing event, the committee are excited to get started and for guests and visitors to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Speaking ahead of the event, Chairperson of the A Taste of West Cork Food Festival committee, Helen Collins, said: “After months of imagining, organising and coordinating, we are finally ready to get this amazing Festival off the ground for another year. We are so excited to showcase what our beautiful part of the country has to offer in terms of food, culture and landscape and we have no doubt that West Cork and its people will – as always – exude a unique brand of charm that can be rare to find.
“I would like to thank everyone who put such effort into making the event a reality this year and for helping to create what is shaping up to be the best Festival to date. We are so looking forward to welcoming many new and old friends over the course of the 10 days and we hope to inspire visitors to make a return journey next year!”
One of the key elements of this year’s A Taste of West Cork Food Festival is once again the involvement of a carefully-selected group of GUEST CHEFS from all over the world. Guests of this year’s festival will be spoiled for choice, as the line-up for 2017 is bigger and better than ever. From homegrown talents like Derry Clarke, Neven Maguire, Danni Barry, Bryan McCarthy and Ross Lewis to name but a few, to international chefs like Calin Talpos, John Granaghan and Florencio Fons, the 10-day event gives festival-goers a rare opportunity to sample the culinary delights created by these world-renowned chefs at a variety of fabulous venues all around the West Cork region.
While culinary adventures and food samplings will be in abundance throughout the course of the Festival, there will also be an opportunity for those involved in the food industry on a professional level to discuss pressing issues during a number of forums and conferences. One such conference, entitled THE FUTURE OF FAIRS and MARKETS IN IRELAND, will take place on Friday, September 8 from 11am to 5pm at the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen. This event is for market traders, council officials involved in the regulation of markets and consumers who shop in the markets. The conference will discuss the markets and their importance to local food economies, as well as how to find a creative way through the legislation governing them. After lunch, the conference attendees will divide into groups to discuss some of the problems regarding the legislation from the perspectives of traders, consumers and regulators. The conference will be presented by Madeline McKeever, in conjunction with Skibbereen Farmers Market Committee and features guest speakers such as Darina Allen and Ciaran Casey of MAST (Markets Alive Support Team).
Those in search of a truly unique foodie experience will no doubt be enthralled by the vast selection of dining choices. From Singing for your Supper with Rob Krawczyk at Levis’ in Ballydehob to The Man behind the Curtain with John Granaghan at Riverside Cafe, Skibbereen, there is something for everyone, but be sure to reserve early as guest chef dinners book out incredibly quickly.
Aside from these fabulous highlights, the A Taste of West Cork Food Festival programme is packed from cover to cover with a wide range of activities to suit all tastes and agendas. Here is just a handful of some of the activities to look out for…
For the adventure lovers…
BEARA SAFARI ‘TWO DAY TOUR’ – Friday September 8 from 10:30am. Take a guided safari of the wild and beautiful Beara Peninsula with author and photographer, John Eagle. This specially designed figure of eight Beara safari includes the picturesque villages of Allihies with a visit to the Copper mines, Eyeries, Ardgroom, Adrigole and the fishing port of Castletownbere, with a stop on the way at Milleens Cheese. Visit Bere Island and learn about the island’s strong military history. Travel in comfort along the spectacular winding roads that make this peninsula so exciting, including the dramatic serpentine road of the Healy Pass rising high above Glanmore Lake crossing over the Caha Mountains.
For the fit foodies…
FUEL FOOD BREAKFAST AND LUNCH – Good Things Skibbereen, Monday, September 11, from 8:30am. As part of a plant-based day at Good Things, author, nutritionist and chef Oliver McCabe presents a fuel food breakfast cookery demonstration, followed by a lunchtime discussion on how important healthy eating is in this day and age. There will also be a Q&A session with Good Things’ proprietor Carmel Somers.
For those in search of a culinary journey…
GUBBEEN FARM AND GARDEN TOUR – The Old Smokehouse, Gubeen Farm, Schull, Tuesday, September 11 from 11am-3pm. Gubeen Farm – home of the multi-faceted Ferguson Family – will open its iconic doors to welcome people into the working farm and the home of the famous cheese and salami. Meet Clovisse Ferguson for a guided tour around this beautifully-situated farm, visit the food production area and indulge in plenty of tastings and tour the gardens. After the tour enjoy lunch at Clovisse’s Garden Café.
For the little foodies…
THE VERY GREEDY BEE BUFFET – Community Garden, Bantry Road, Dunmanway, Tuesday, September 12 from 10am-12pm. Parents and pre-schoolers are invited to the Dunmanway Community garden to learn all about bees, while enjoying a morning filled with storytelling, games, crafts and of course, yummy snacks! This event promises to be a fun, informative and interactive morning for all.
To book accommodation/events, to see the full A Taste of West Cork Food Festival programme online or to buy a copy of the recently-launched West Cork Artisan Food Guide, featuring the best that West Cork has to offer, see www.atasteofwestcork.com.
The A Taste of West Cork Food Festival is supported by Cork County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Fields of Skibbereen, Bord Bia, Calor Gas, Sean and Rose O’Driscoll and many other supporting sponsors and patrons from the region and elsewhere.