Sunday 22 September 2019

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Cork Independent

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September is food festival season in Cork!

Wednesday, 4th September, 2019 4:47pm

I remember the first time I visited the West Cork Food Festival – it was just a few years in existence and focused around Skibbereen.

I had just gotten my driving license and it was a great adventure for me to be driving all alone to a place I actually have never been to (I have made up for it since!).

I arrived in one piece, found a parking space and walked around the town looking for a place to stay (it was a spur of the moment situation) and found the most enchanting B&B called Bridge House.

My host was Mona who should become a visitor ambassador, as she is the quirkiest and most welcoming host you could wish for.

I joined a wine tasting, a talk on sustainability, listened to Diarmuid O’Driscoll talking about his childhood memories which had everyone in laughing fits and had a great chat with the legend Bill Hogan who produced the delicious Gabriel & Desmond cheeses.

I visited the festival market buying my way around amazing produce. I left feeling the love of West Cork and understood why people come and never leave.

In the years since, the festival has grown into something encompassing the entire area of West Cork with more than 290 events in 50 towns, villages and islands.

One event I never miss is the Rare Cookery Books Workshop at Urru in Bandon. Last year, I was honoured to MC the event discussing the life and work of Mrs Myrtle Allen. Mark your diary for Saturday 7 September.

A new addition to the festival is the Forrest Bathing event – Avril Allshire-Howe is inviting people to connect again with nature, taking time out and be in the moment and enjoying a tasty lunch. I am looking forward to this event, which takes place on Friday 6 September.

With so much on offer, it can be tough to decide on events but it also makes this festival one of the most exciting ones. The festival is happening from 6–15 September. More details are available on www.atasteofwestcork.com.

September seems to be festival month as the Waterford Harvest Food Festival takes place from 6–8 September with over 70 events happening in the town. The market is worth a visit and Marie Power is normally at hand to show you the beauty of Irish seaweed. When in Waterford you have to visit the GIY Headquarter – a working farm and restaurant, bringing field to fork to new heights. More details are available on www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie.

The East Cork Food Festival is in full swing this week, ending this weekend with a great programme. This was once a boring festival but has grown in the last two years to something very interesting with a new team in charge. Events include seafood stories, Midleton Market and Restaurant Trail and a restaurant take-over by Martin Shanahan of Fishy Fishy and Paul Flynn of The Tannery. More details are available on www.feastcork.ie.

And last but not least, the Macroom Food Festival is happening from 19 to 22 September – one of the youngest food festivals, it has grown nicely over the last few years and includes a school cook-off, a tour to Macroom Buffalo farm, comedy, food trail and the main market. More details are available on www.macroomfoodfestival.com.

So, there is no excuse for you to be bored in September – loads on for food lovers. Hope to see you at one of the events!

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