Sweet Second Helpings
Second Westport Food Festival programme unveiled
The programme for the second Westport Food Festival – scheduled for September 21 – 23 – was unveiled on the back of an imaginative music video which Fáilte Ireland intends to market globally, so impressed is the tourism body with its creative ideation and inventive representation of Westport’s food credentials.
Westport Food Festival video: Food, Festival Food!
Food Festival Food! represents a first for festival marketing, featuring the ‘cast’ of the Westport Food Festival who sing and perform in their own musical production. The eclectic bunch includes chefs, a cheese maker, bee-keepers, fish monger, baker, restaurant owners, hotel and marketing managers, bar and waiting staff.
They are joined by five members of Westport’s historic brass band, under Larry Hingerton, who stars as a continuous thread throughout the video, and six Westport children: Claudia Lennon (11), Conor Clarke (11), Jamie Byrne (7 ½), Milo McManus (9), Sinéad Brogan (14) and Kitty Harburn (9).
Food, Festival Food! is an adaptation of Food, Glorious Food! from the movie Oliver! using a soundtrack provided by BH backing track. The video was specifically produced for viral, allowing it to be seen by more and more people as it gets shared online through social media and will promote the festival nationally and internationally.
Launched in tandem with Food Festival Food! is this year’s food festival programme that includes a business arm and a host of foodie events unique to Westport.
In a new departure this year, the Westport Food Festival has partnered with Mayo County Enterprise Board to offer a one-day business event for small food businesses, food lovers and those with an interest in the food industry. Recipes for Success: The Business of Food will provide idea generation, shared knowledge and showcase how various food-related enterprises achieve business success. The event will take place in the Castlecourt Hotel on the opening day of the festival as part of Mayo Ideas Week.
“The business element to the festival this year demonstrates that Westport Food Festival is more than just a programme of great food events but is becoming a driver in creating a community of good food business practice through the exchange of knowledge and experience. We’re delighted to be partnering with Mayo County Enterprise Board in this initiative”, said Sinead Lambert Barroso, chairperson Westport Food Festival and owner of Sol Rio restaurant and café.
Last year’s star dining event, Come Dine with Me, returns by popular demand and will be hosted by Hotel Westport. A sparkling wine reception will precede a six-course dinner with Westport’s finest chefs divided into teams and each responsible for a different course. A video link to the kitchen will allow diners to watch the chefs cook up a storm before voting for their favourite team. Master of ceremonies on the night will be much-loved celebrity reporter from TV3’s Ireland AM, Noel Cunningham.
This year the festival Food Village will move to the Octagon and in front of the town hall. Hotels, restaurants and food producers will host individual marquees from noon to 5pm on the Saturday, September 23. Once again, festival goers will be able to purchase “covey shillings” to exchange for food.
Central to the Food Village will be a series of Master classes/Demos by local producers on a variety of subjects such as ‘Square Foot Gardening’ – growing your own in a confined space – and Farm to Fork Meat Cuts. Complimenting the food village, local food producers will again form a Food Fringe at the Clock Tower featuring individual tasting stalls.
The Westport Bee Keepers will organise an observational hive at the Clock and demos how to use local honey in cooking. A series of Kiddie Korner activities, including face painting, balloon modelling and a performance of The Grace O’Malley/Granuaile story (sponsored by Westport House), will take place between 11am and 5pm in the courtyard behind Westport Tourist Office.
Saturday evening will see each of the restaurants and bars in Westport offer a €25 three-course Westport Food Festival menu showcasing ingredients from local food producers.
On Sunday morning, fit foodies can partake in a Seafood Summit on Croagh Patrick. Organised by Myles O’Brien, proprietor of The Tavern in Murrisk, climbers will be rewarded with refreshments, mussels and oysters at the top of the Reek. Elsewhere, Knockranny Woods will be the location for a morning of mushroom foraging.
The Quay will form the centre of festival activities on Sunday. The Westport Food Festival BBQ will take place from noon to 5pm with lots of sideline activities for all the family. They include: demonstrations on how to catch, clean, fillet and smoke your own fish; a Covey Cocktail competition sponsored by Dillon’s and a live pets on-site as part of a demo on caring for pets. Face painting & balloon modelling, a bouncy castle and a performance of the Grace O’Malley/Granuaile story will complete the line-up. The Carlton Atlantic Coast Hotel will be the venue for the Westport Tourism Dessert Competition with €1,000 value prizes to be won.
On Sunday evening, Sol Rio restaurant will host The 40-Mile Meal, a tasting menu dining experience with all of the ingredients sourced from within a 40-mile radius of Westport.
Speaking at the announcement of the programme, Westport Food Festival chairperson Sinead Lambert Barroso commented, “The Westport Food Festival was a great success last year and was the inspiration for the Galway Food Festival earlier this year. Our programme for the second year of the festival, and the brilliant Food Festival Food! video, demonstrates that the Westport Food Festival is not just gaining reputation as a great food festival but, creatively, is establishing a real point of difference to other food festivals in Ireland”.
For further information and bookings, visit the Westport Food Festival website.