Now in its 11th year, the West Waterford Festival of Food delivers an extraordinary array of events in an interesting, event-packed schedule over a weekend of fascinating discussions and great food. This year the overarching theme is one of celebration – Celebrating Our Farmers, from the land and sea.
This year’s festival runs from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd of April, officially kicking off on Friday 20th, with the Waterford Way Tapas Trail, the ultimate movable feast, starting on Friday night. Giving participants the chance to enjoy one hero dish in a selection of different restaurants, the Waterford Way Tapas Trail is a delicious, sociable introduction to this most friendly of festivals.
Also on the Friday night Chef Martijn Kajuiter, celebrating ten years in Cliff House Hotel, creates an intimate Chef’s Table dinner in the Michelin starred House Restaurant championing the local producers he has built close relationships with and showcasing their beautiful produce through a stunning shared table tasting menu. The Chef’s Table Dinner with wine pairings sponsored by Wines from Spain costs €95 per person and starts at 8.00pm
Other Friday night events include the Secret Suppers, a new festival element where four chefs – Eunice Power, Shane McGrath (The Cliff House Hotel), Arun Kapil (Green Saffron), and Chris McGowan (Wine & Brine) each cook for a small group of guests in a secret location. These will be four exclusive dinner parties created by four very different chefs set in four homes in the area, with numbers of guests extremely limited – get your tickets early!
Mexican chef and co-owner of Picado Mexican Pantry, Lily Ramirez-Foran will be cooking up a Mexican-inspired storm with a pop-up in the unusual venue of the brewery of Dungarvan Brewing Company on Friday night also, with a tasting of a range of the brewery’s many fine beers. Living and cooking in Ireland for 15 years, Lily is the lady behind the popular food blog, A Mexican Cook, and a woman on a mission to showcase Mexican food beyond its clichés and stereotypes, so this is an opportunity to try a true taste of Mexico.
On Saturday, join Peter Mulryan of Blackwater Distillery in Merry’s 1868 at 5pm to learn about the secret history of Absinthe: The Green Fairy. A precursor to the ‘Happy Hour’ known today, L’Heure Verte (5pm) transformed 19th century cafes into marvellous meetings of creative and artistic minds who all favoured the infamous Green Fairy as their drink of choice. Fall under the spell during L’Heure Verte and learn more about the botanicals that go into the spirit with a tasting of a sample selection from across Europe as well as Ireland’s first absinthe. Tickets are priced at €15.
For a supper with a difference, Saturday night sees a one-woman show – Charolais, written and performed by Noni Stapleton – in Dungarvan Mart. A 70-minute play which is a surreal, black comedy of love, longing and one woman’s intense rivalry with a Charolais heifer, appropriately, this is accompanied by a supper of beef stew by Eunice Power!
The Tannery continues the festival tradition of hosting exceptional cooking talent with Catherine Fulvio and Derry Clarke joining Paul Flynn in the kitchen for a Sunday lunch ‘Lords and Ladles’ style. Starting at 12.30pm, tickets are priced at €55 and can be booked directly with The Tannery.
Sunday sees journalist Catherine Cleary bring back The Appetite Talks for a special one-off session at the festival entitled Food Aisle or Food Isle. Taking place from 1-3pm, these are talks with teeth, looking at a crossroads moment for food and farming, where experts take a long hard look at where Irish food is now and what the future holds.
Every day of West Waterford Festival of Food sees a busy schedule of trails and tours, whether it’s seaweed or forest foraging, taking one of the interesting Bus Bia tours through the West Waterford countryside with their different itineraries full of fascinating visits to local farmers and producers, or simply dropping in to the many talks, tastings, panel discussions, films and demos running throughout the town all weekend.
Once again during this year’s West Waterford Festival of Food the Saturday focus is down by the water, with Quayside Saturday, an opportunity to enjoy fun activities like the RNLI Duck Race, gorgeous seafood as you browse the stalls or marvel at the talents in the Seafood Demo Marquee, or simply the beautiful views along the water’s edge. And another key event at every West Waterford Festival of Food is the hugely popular Farmer’s Market, this year on Sunday April 22nd. One of the largest artisan food markets on the island, this year is set to be the biggest yet with over 100 stalls showcasing the best producers and artisans of the region, along with a full schedule of live entertainment and a Meet the Makers chefs’ demo tent.
Always key to the West Waterford Festival of Food, and an integral part of this year’s programme are the little cooks. With plenty of events perfect for all from toddlers to teens, West Waterford Festival of Food 2018 will see little chefs shine with events and workshops so there’s plenty of options for a foodie day out for all the family.
Aon bhliain déag de bhia den scoth agus spraoi na féile atá á cheiliúradh ag Féile Bia Iarthar Phort Láirge i 2018, and this year has a special emphasis on being dá-teangach, with an ambition to be Ireland’s first food festival with a bi-lingual brochure, encouragement for the best use of Irish at one of the market stalls, and with many events and activities on offer both as Gaeilge and bilingually.
Full details on the 2018 programme will be available on the Festival website by March 21st, and for bookings and enquiries contact 058 41741 or visit www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com
West Waterford Festival of Food 2018 is the annual celebration of the vibrant food culture of this wonderful part of the world. You are cordially invited to join in Celebrating Our Farmers, from the land and sea, as well as enjoying the delicious fruits of their labours at this most hospitable of festivals.