Taste of West Cork 2017

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | September 7, 2017 0

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival is a celebration of all that is wonderful about West Cork.  The food, the landscape, the seascape, the history, the  culture, the art and craft and the people.

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival, kicks off on Friday, September 8 and runs until Sunday, September 17. The 2017 Festival is so much more than just a festival which happens to be about food. It is a festival that celebrates all that is unique about West Cork – the food, the producers, the landscape and the people – the magic ingredients. The beauty of West Cork draws so many artists, writers, craftsmen and food producers to West Cork.  A Taste of West Cork Food Festival showcases the wonderful food and food creators of this very special place. It brings together a unique mix of food markets and cooking demonstrations, food tasting and cookery competitions, special dinners, brunches and banquets, talks and exhibits, children’s events, adventures and more. This year, it has expanded to include more events in Macroom and Dunmanway.

A Taste of West Cork which is one of  Ireland’s longest running food festival, and is fast becoming a premier event on the food calendar.  The festival  is one of the best opportunities for the  many local producers and chefs to showcase their wares to people passionate about food. The Festival programme includes the much loved traditional open air street food and craft market, daily walks, interactive workshops,  food demonstrations and tastings; themed nights in restaurants, traditional music sessions and much, much more. There is something to tempt every palate and many of the events staged throughout the festival week are free or minimum charges apply so there is something to suit everyone’s pocket. his year’s festival has over 230 events and 33 guest chef events.

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…

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.

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.

‘Our Farms, Our Food, Our Future…’ Monday 12th September: A forum discussing the interdependence between modern farming and food production practices and health – with Ella McSweeney (RTE Ear to the Ground), Darina Allen, Professor Ted Dinan of UCC, Madeline McKeever of Brown Envelope Seeds, Dr Don Huber Professor Emeritus of Purdue University, Ann Darcy and Majella O’Neill. Location: West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen – 3-7pm – €10pp

BEARA SAFARI – FRIDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER: Two Day Tour – Meet at Casey’s Hotel, Glengarriff @ 10.30am, Price: €149pp (including accommodation)

SUNDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER: Festival Finale, Sunday Street Market, Main Street, Skibbereen, 12noon – 4pm – Free

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


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