Hundreds of people gathered at the Pavilion theatre in Lisdoonvarna at the weekend, as the Burren Slow Food Festival returned after a gap of three years.
The event which was organized by Slow Food Clare, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and the Burren Ecotourism Network has been a highlight of the Irish food calendar since 2005, regularly attracting high profile chefs and speakers.
“The Burren Slow Food Festival featured several members of the Burren Ecotourism Network, and has given us all a platform to showcase our food to the public. This is a great opportunity for people to “meet the maker” and we are delighted that so many people attended on Saturday and Sunday last” said Birgitta Curtin of the Burren Smokehouse and Slow Food Clare.
As well as food tastings, cookery demonstrations, and a Burren producers’ market, this year’s event included a seafood buffet in Inis Oir and a Burren slow food buffet at the Storehouse in Lisdoonvarna.
On Saturday, food producers from the Burren Ecotourism Network took to the Calor Gas Kitchen for a variety of food tastings and demonstrations. These included Burren Smokehouse, Burren Gold, Burren Free Range Pork, Burren Beef, St Tola Irish Goat Cheese, Linalla Ice Cream, Burren Fine Wine and Food, Flaggy Shore Oysters and Wild Kitchen.
On Sunday, the event played tribute to Ukraine with a showcase of Ukrianian food, with cookery demonstrations by Chef Jess Murphy from Kai restaurant in Galway and local chef Niamh Fox.
One of the highlights of the event was the launch of GEOfood in Ireland, by Sara Gentilini, who developed the concept of GEOfood at the MAGMA UNESCO Global Geopark in Norway.
Speaking via video link from Norway she explained that GEOfood is a global brand that promotes local food produced in UNESCO Global Geoparks and aims to connect people with the local traditions, geology and heritage of the place through local food. Products that meet the GEOfood criteria, have a distinctive brand and label which gives them a unique selling point.
Carol Gleeson, Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark said: ‘“We have nine producers in the Burren that meet the GEOfood brand values and the plan is to build on these to create a wide network of producers, local restaurants and retail outlets providing sustainably produced food from our unique Geopark.’
Also in attendance was Deirdre O’Shea A/ Head of Clare Tourism, Clare County Council who said that there was a huge potential for GEOfood in the Burren and indeed in Ireland.
“GEOfood reminds me of the wild Atlantic way, all marketed together under one banner”
She said: “I am confident that with the support of everyone in the region and with an appropriate and effective marketing strategy, we can and will deliver significant benefits to the local tourism sector and visitor alike and I look forward to playing my role in all of this.
The event was sponsored by Calor Gas Ireland and supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.