We’re well and truly into food festival season. There’s a dizzying array of dates for your diary coming up, a list of which you’ll find at Discover Ireland’s food pages and details of which I’ll be keeping you posted on here in coming weeks.
But if my recent reports from Waterford’s less discovered corners whet your appetite for the charms of the sunny south east, this coming weekend is the time to dive in for yourself. Dungarvan plays host the Waterford Festival of Food (April 12–15), now one of the strongest food festivals in a busy calender. Why so? Thanks to a healthy mix of the family-friendly (biscuit decorating workshops, community picnics and mobile farms) and the high-falutin’ (such as legendary British chef Angela Hartnett taking time out of her Michelin-starred kitchens to come cook with Paul Flynn in The Tannery). There’s also a generous helping of grazing opportunities on offer thanks to the Farmers’ Market Extravaganza in Grattan Square and an inspiring array of educational workshops and classes in everything from baking to cooking with seaweed to health and nutrition.
If you’re looking to get active, you could get yourself on one of the weekend’s foraging trails or Bus Bia Tours (featuring some of the highlights of my recent Irish Food Trip, including Barron’s Bakery, Baldwins Ice-cream and Knockanore Cheese). Or if you’d rather sit back and be entertained there’s lots for you too, from music and food extravaganzas, to Surf’n'Turf demos from TV chefs Martin Shanahan and Paul Flynn, to a fast and furious ‘Ready, Chef, Go’ cookery contest hosted by RTE Radio broadcaster, John Murray and featuring Michael Quinn from Waterford Castle Hotel pitting himself against the local talent.
If you’re based in Dublin like me, we’re talking a drive of less than two hours. The beautiful area is well worth exploring and there’s bits and pieces going on in nearby towns such as Lismore to get you out and about.
See www.waterfordfestivaloffood.com for more details or contact The Tannery on +353 (0)58 45420 to check if there are any places left at their dinner events (which include a traditional Irish dinner with Richard Corrigan).