Burren dishes up tasty Food Fayre

Burren dishes up tasty Food Fayre

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Goat's Cheese, Sheedy's Hotel & Restaurant
Goat’s Cheese, Sheedy’s Hotel & Restaurant

The Burren Ecotourism Network has announced the programme for the third annual Burren Food Fayre in Lisdoonvarna on Sunday, October 26th.

This year’s Fayre, which is supported by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, features a comprehensive programme of food demonstrations and talks, hosted by food writers, producers, nutritionists and restaurants from throughout the Burren and further afield.

There are also workshops, walks and food stall displays with tastings to cater for the estimated 1500 people expected to pass through The Pavilion on the day.

This year’s Fayre is also inviting budding chefs to create a dish comprising home-grown ingredients and wild and foraged foods from around the Burren. The judging panel for the Burren Masterchef Cookery Competition, which features two categories for adults and secondary school students, includes Willie McCurdy (Belfast Chef and UK Masterchef regional finalist), Valerie O’Connor (Cook and Food Writer, Photographer and Author of ‘Bread on the Table’) and Chef John Sheedy (Sheedy’s Hotel, Lisdoonvarna).

Tina O’Dwyer, Sustainable Tourism Co-ordinator, Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark described the Fayre as “a celebration of food produce and cooking techniques throughout the Burren.”

“This festival invites members of the public to really ‘taste’ the Burren where local food producers and restaurants have established a reputation for providing quality, locally produced and sourced food,” stated Ms. O’Dywer.

“For example,” she continued, “menus in local restaurants provide state the source of local produce, information on local food events, as well as a true commitment to maximise the use of local ingredients in prepared food. There is also ongoing investment by the local business community, supported by the Burren Ecotourism Network and Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, in food education, training, development and employment.”

“We are delighted to once again host the Food Fayre to Lisdoonvarna, which the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) named as one of 10 finalists in the ‘Foodie Town of Ireland’ competition due to its promotion of locally sourced food, investment in the food sector and innovative food promotions,” added Ms. O’Dwyer.

The Fayre opens at 12.30pm with tastings of local produce being provided at the array of food stalls inside The Pavilion.

The cookery demonstrations get underway at 1pm when Mathew Strefford (Head chef of Moy House Hotel, Lahinch) cooks a tasty meal using local goat’s meat and home-grown vegetables. Valerie O’Connor (Cook and Food Writer) will demonstrate simple ways to cook Boxty at 2pm and Linn Thorstensson (nutritional therapist) will “cook meals to keep your immunity strong during winter” at 3pm. Meanwhile, Cearbh Fhinnghusa will demonstrate how herbal drinks as alternatives to coffee and tea can be created using locally gathered wild herbs, flowers and seaweed.

As for talks and tastings, Cathleen Connole of Burren Fine Wine and Foods in Ballyvaughan will host “An Introduction To Fine Wine” at 1.45pm before Martina Sweeney of Burren Sea Foods in Newquay presents a talk on ‘ How to keep your Seafood fresh’ at 2.45pm.

From 1.30pm to 2.30pm, Wild Kitchen’s Oonagh O’Dwyer will host a foraging walk, sponsored by Lisdoonvarna Community Council, before hosting a workshop from 3-5pm in which she demonstrates how to turn foraged ingredients into edible dishes.

The Fayre concludes at 5.00pm with the announcement of the ‘Taste of the Fayre Award’ and the ‘Most Attractive Stall Award’, voted by the public.

There will also be a raffle at 4.45pm featuring a first prize of Afternoon Tea for four at Father Ted’s Parochial House, courtesy of the building’s owners Cheryl and Patrick McCormack, and a Hamper of locally produced goods for a second prize. Meanwhile, first prize in the adult section of the Burren Masterchef Cookery Competition is a half-day Cookery Course for two at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School, courtesy of Darina Allen. The winner of the junior section will receive the prize of a half-day foraging walk and cooking demonstration at the Wild Kitchen with Oonagh O’Dwyer.

The 2014 Burren Food Fayre takes place from 12.30pm to 5.00pm on Sunday, October 26th. Visit www.burren.ie for more.

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