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”.
The festival which was launched recently in The West Cork Hotel will run from September 9th – 16th.
A Taste of West Cork which is now in its ninth year is Ireland’s longest running food festival and 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 our food heritage with special homage being paid to the humble spud with Ireland’s favourite tuber taking 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 also see students challenged to create unique dishes centred on the potato. There will 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 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, 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 at the launch, John Field, Field’s SuperValu Skibbereen, 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.
“SuperValu has always been a huge supporter of local suppliers and providing customers with the best fresh food available.
“As a recent winner of a national award for best large supermarket for our choice of fresh and local foods, we are especially delighted to support the festival and showcase the tremendous produce that originates from the West Cork area.”
Also speaking at the launch, Festival Chairperson Clare Gallagher said, “The Festival understands how important local food is to our economy and with our wealth of artisan food producers, supportive retailers and markets, talented chefs and award winning restaurants we shall continue to attract visitors to West Cork.
“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.”
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, there is definitely something to suit everyone’s pocket. To view the entire list of events, times and prices please visit www.atasteofwestcork.com.