From deep-forest foraging to food from farm and seashore — once you’ve had a taste of West Cork, nothing will ever compare.
The Taste of West Cork Festival, which has been running successfully for more than a decade, kicks off later this week featuring a galaxy of culinary delights, from a pop-up-chocolate café to an island seafood banquet, a top edible-seafood specialist, and food from the wild, wild, woods.
The event runs across 32 towns and villages and eight islands from this Friday until Sunday, September 13.
The country’s largest food festival will see 140 events in 80 venues and feature guest chefs, cookery workshops, two conferences, formal and informal dinners, exhibitions, food demonstrations, and great country markets, as well as farm visits and on-water activities.
Street markets will feature locally produced foods, Sherkin Island hosts a seafood banquet, there are appetite-inducing walks through spectacular scenery, and, for dedicated chocoholics, a pop-up chocolate café appears in Abbeystrewery Skibbereen.
There is a foraging expedition at Castelfreke Woods and, for those who wish to slake their thirst, a tour of the West Cork Distillery to sample the unique taste of the local Drombeg Spirit. Products distilled on the premises include whisky, gin, and vodka, which are developed and manufactured with Irish spring water and Irish ingredients.
Young nature and food fans are in for a sweet treat as a bee-keeping workshop, aimed at children between 7 and 16 years, will take place at Liss Ard Estate, Skibbereen. The workshop, which will include demonstrations, a question and answer session, and honey tastings, will be given by Trevor Danann who, although aged just 14, is a certified beekeeper and the owner of 12 hives.
The village of Ahakista has got in on the act, organising a packed programme of events for September 11 and 12 in conjunction with the festival.
“Ahakista has participated in the festival before but, this year, we have extended it to a two-day event with everything from music to seaweed, and seafood,” says Eiliís Cohalan, a founder and former chairwoman of the festival.
Helen Collins, chair of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival, said: “Our 20-page programme of events is now available or listings are continuously being updated online.
“Where else would you get all this? From Bandon to Clonakilty to Skibbereen to Schull to Bantry, Allihies and all towns and villages in between — we are on side to welcome visitors to the region with open arms. We are determined to provide top class culinary and fun experiences for families, groups and independent travellers.
“From the opening night’s culinary fiesta to the festival finale — the Sunday Street Market in Skibbereen on September 14 — we are on high alert to ramp up this festival to even better heights this year.”
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