West Waterford Festival of Food
Every year during the West Waterford Festival of Food the town of Dungarvan and its hinterland come together in a true community spirit to deliver an extraordinary array of events in an 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.
Now in its 11th year, this year’s festival runs from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd April, kicking off on Friday 20th, with the Waterford Way Tapas Trail, the ultimate movable feast. 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 the festival.
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. Also on Friday night Chef Martijn Kajuiter celebrates ten years in Cliff House Hotel and creates an intimate Chef’s Table dinner in the Michelin-starred House Restaurant. Friday night also sees Mexican chef and co-owner of Picado Mexican Pantry, Lily Ramirez-Foran cooking up a Mexican-inspired storm with a pop-up in the unusual venue of the brewery of Dungarvan Brewing Company.
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.
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. Sunday also sees journalist Catherine Cleary bring back The Appetite Talks for a special one-off session at the festival entitled Food Aisle or Food Isle. 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.
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.
Combining the best of food and drink, engaging events, pop-up restaurants, one of Ireland’s largest farmers’ markets, trails and tours, kids’ cookery, and much more, the 11th annual West Waterford Festival of food is a must visit for food lovers everywhere.