THE Taste of West Cork festival, which got underway last weekend, has foodies, chefs, producers and restaurant owners from across the country making a beeline to the southwest to sample the offerings.
And with everything from a lobster garden party with Masterchef winner Diana Dodog in Courtmacsherry, to medieval feasts at the castle in Baltimore, or a chance to roam with the (water) buffalo in Macroom, there is certainly a diverse range of events in the diary.
The sold-out conference Our farms, our food, our future took place in Skibbereen while West Cork Paradox: Famine to Feast in Baltimore featured EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, among other speakers, and there was also a chance to feast on Michelin-starred delicacies at the Chestnut in Ballydehob, with Galway Loam’s Enda McEvoy and West Cork’s own Rob Krawczyk.
If all that wasn’t enough, patrons could head for the whale-watching, farmers’ markets, drawing classes, beekeeping, stone carving events or the Father Ted-inspired dining experience at The Castle in Castletownshend.
Remember, all this packed into just the opening weekend, an ‘Amuse Bouche’, so to speak, to whet the appetite for the daily events planned for the following 10 days.
‘The opening weekend of A Taste of West Cork is always special,’ Fiona Field told The Southern Star. ‘Even the wet weather on Saturday didn’t harm the festival atmosphere. There is lots more to come, with guest chefs from the USA and food bloggers from around Europe writing and showing the world just what West Cork has to offer. The Taste of West Cork is just beginning.’
Visitors should note that lots of events are completely booked out. ‘However, extra events at the same venues may be organised so be sure to check with our Facebook page for updates,’ Fiona said.
Some of the highlights of the coming week include this Friday’s foraging extravaganza at the Eccles Hotel in Glengarriff.
First, you can accompany chef Eddie Atwell to the hotel’s polytunnel, where the organic edibles for the hotel’s Garinish Restaurant are grown. Then, you can take in the sites and scenery of the local area by going on a kayaking trip around the islands in Bantry Bay. Later back at the hotel, it will all come together in a Feast of West Cork dinner. There is also a walk of the stunning Three Castle Head near Goleen on Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday there is the open day at Galley Head lighthouse, and of course the grand finale for the festival takes place from noon until 4pm on the streets of Skibbereen, with the now annual Sunday Street Market.
Full details of all these events, and more. and contact numbers, are on the festival site at atasteofwestcork.com