The West Waterford Festival of Food, one of Ireland’s largest and longest running food festivals, promises to be even bigger and better this year, the dates for your diary are 14th to 16th April 2023.
The 14th annual festival will again showcase the very best food from the region as visitors enjoy upwards of 70 events including a food stage, pop-up dinners, a full children’s programme, foraging trails, bus tours, cooking demos, top chefs, high-end and casual dining experiences, plus one of Ireland’s largest outdoor markets.
The main hub for the 3-day festival is in the harbour town of Dungarvan with events also taking place in Lismore and throughout the West Waterford region, making it a truly local celebration.
Newly appointed festival director Eunice Power brings a wealth of food passion and credentials to the table for this year’s festival. Eunice is a founding member of the festival and a well-known chef, TV chef, and food journalist who will bring her own unique vision to the event which attracts almost 70,000 visitors.
Commenting on the launch Eunice explained, “Over the years the festival has been a showcase of the food of the region, provides a forum for important conversations around food as well as hosting many top chefs, fresh interesting venues, and diverse influences. This is one festival where there is something for everyone. For 2023, the theme is the continuing adventure of Irish food, hearing from food producers, food economists, chefs, and restaurateurs about the ever-changing landscape of Irish food.”
Eunice predicts a lot of light-hearted humour, great food and lots of fun!
New event highlights to look forward to at this year’s festival will include a very special dinner at Lismore Castle honouring the culinary contribution of Paul Flynn, cooked by ‘past pupils’ of the Tannery. Another special dinner will bring fun and flavour to the unusual location of The Courthouse in Dungarvan. This year there will also be a sensory experience on hand for children on the autism spectrum.
During the festival, visitors will have the opportunity to forage for seaweed and other wild produce on local beaches and forests to discover the incredible edibles under your nose and see how it’s used in cooking.
Also new this year will be some creative elements including a food photography workshop with food and travel writer and photographer Cliodhna Prendergast, while Sinead Connigle Palmer will host a ‘The Art of Tablescaping’ workshop at the newly opened Cass & Co followed by dinner cooked by culinary duo Eamon Connors and Roisin O Connor.
Tapping into the trending topic of ‘Mood Food’ will see psychotherapist and nutritional expert Evie Flynn hosting a brunch and walk set at the scenic Mount Congreve house and gardens in Kilmeaden- one of the ‘great gardens of the world’ and having just reopened in 2022 this is sure to be a popular outing!
Taste Waterford – Waterford’s food and drink members network – will of course be on hand at the festival to tell Waterford’s food and drinks story with cookery demos and drinks workshops. Members showcased will include Mezze, Dun Bakery, Blackwater Spirits, Dungarvan brewing company, Eunice Power, Paul Flynn, and John McGrath, the famous Lismore Butcher to name but a few. Guest chefs including Mags Roche and Aisling Larkin will also be on hand to highlight the produce.
High profile chefs set to feature in this year’s line-up include Paul Flynn, Chef and Owner of The Tannery Restaurant, Townhouse and Cookery School and Mark Moriarty Irish Chef and Presenter of RTE cookery programme ‘Off Duty Chef’. Richard Jacob formerly of Idaho is launching ‘Bia not Bluster’, an exciting collective of thinkers and doers from the food industry which promises to be both engaging and fun.
Other food industry figures expected at the festival include Fiona Touhy, Caitlin Ruth, Cliodhna Prendergast, Jenny Flynn (Faithlegg) Grainne Mullins (from Grá Chocolates) Shane McGrath, Paddy Lee and Hilary Casey.
Festival favourites set to return include daily markets and the famed Festival Market on Sunday when over 100 stalls fill the town centre bringing the best of local and Irish artisan food to the fore; ‘Bus Bia’ food tours through wonderful West Waterford by bus; and the ever-popular food trails.
One of the aims of organisers is to run a plastic-free festival with an emphasis on food sustainability, and in line with this a ‘Food Waste Workshop’ will demonstrate how to reduce food waste in cooking at home, making the best of your leftovers.
The Food Cloud Ireland ‘Zero Waste Food Truck’ will be in situ during the festival and the social enterprise with a mission to transform surplus food into opportunities to make the world a kinder place will bring their expertise into play for a Food Cloud Dinner.
The West Waterford Festival of Food is funded by Waterford Council, Waterford Leader Partnership, Fáilte Ireland, Foras na Gaeilge and Waterford LEO and would not be possible without the support of sponsors, friends circle and the community.
For full event details, see www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com