Select: Spring food festivals

A number of food festivals are taking place in the next couple of weeks, with lots of food-related entertainment, events and tours - along with some great things to eat

Comedy feast: Kiwi comic Danny Dowling plays Galway Food Festival and West Waterford Festival of Food. Photograph: Natalie Herzer-Greer/Boudoir Girls

Comedy feast: Kiwi comic Danny Dowling plays Galway Food Festival and West Waterford Festival of Food. Photograph: Natalie Herzer-Greer/Boudoir Girls

 

A number of food festivals are taking place around the country in the coming weeks, and along with the usual tastings, demos and special menus, there’s a feast (sorry) of food-related entertainment and interesting events on.

First up is Galway Food Festival, which runs from today until Monday evening. Some of the events taking place include a free bread-and butter-making workshop on Saturday morning at 10am in Kai, Sea Road, where kids will learn how to make these staples from scratch, before building their own grilled cheese sandwiches with their creations. Tickets are free, but limited. Tel: 091-526003.

Also for families, there’s a Teddy Bear’s picnic at Woodquay Market at noon on Saturday April 4th, with a DJ and food and the chance to make teddy bear masks (while mum and dad sample market fare such as Cáis Gabhair Árann goats cheese or a good cup of Badger & Dodo coffee).

For a grub-related giggle, head to the The King’s Head, 15 High Street, at 1pm on Saturday for Super Organic Me, where comedian Tomie James takes a light-hearted look at the world of organic farming, food allergies, GMO and supermarkets. Tickets €10, tel: 091-566630, thekingshead.ie.

There’s also comedy cooking at Kai restaurant on Saturday night where a three- course Kiwi-inspired menu will be served at 7pm, after which guests will be led in procession to Nun’s Island theatre for a pint of New Zealand craft beer Tuatara and Kiwi Danny Dowling’s Comedy Feast. Tickets €60 to include dinner, a beer and the gig, or €15 for a beer and the gig. Tickets from eventbrite.ie

Other fun highlights include a street food fair in Silke’s car park followed by a Silent Disco, from 4pm on Sunday April 5th (€10); a foraging morning on Monday with lunch of foraged ingredients at the Connemara Coast Hotel, from 11am on Sunday 5th, 091-592108 (€10, bring wellies and a bucket); and two foodie movies at An Taibhdhearc theatre on Middle St – the Pixar animation Ratatouille, tomorrow, Friday, at 12.30pm (€5) and Somm, on Saturday at 7.30pm (€12.50 with wine), a 2013 documentary following four sommeliers attempting to gain entry to Court of Master Sommelier. Tickets from antaibhdhearc.com.

Heading south, there’s a strong family feel to the West Waterford Festival of Food, which runs from Thursday, April 9th to Sunday 12th in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

There are the festival staples of demos, discussions and a food trail around the town on Saturday for lunch (€30) and again for dinner (€45). On the entertainment front, there’s a talk on Saturday, April 11th at 11am at the Waterford County Museum, Friary Street, where you can learn about milling and how it has changed over the years, led by Ireland’s favourite porridge purveyors, Flahavans (entry free).

Also on Saturday, Bus Bia tours depart from Shandon Carpark at 10am, taking different routes around the county to visit interesting producers and to taste their wares (€15, returning at 1.30pm). We like the Blackwater Tour, which visits Eamonn and Patricia Lonergan’s farm to taste their Knockanore cheese; Baldwins farmhouse ice cream also in Knockanore; and Barron’s Bakery in Cappoquin, where they still use 19th-century scotch brick ovens to make bread.

There’s comedy at this festival too, with Danny Dowling and Tomie James joining forces with Corkman Chris Kent for the Comedy Grub Club at Lawlor’s Hotel, Bridge Street for a at 9pm on Saturday 11th (€15, doors open 8.30pm)

There are two opportunities to catch The Lunchbox, Ritesh Batra’s wonderful 2013 film about a lonely housewife and an office worker who strike up a friendship thanks to Mumbai’s baffling lunchbox delivery system. It’s on Friday and Saturday night at 7pm at the Old Market House Arts Centre, with a wine reception to start. Tickets €12.50 from the festival website.

Finally, the All Ireland Chowder Cook-Off takes place in Kinsale at 2pm on Sunday, April 19th as part of the town’s Taste the Atlantic Way Street Food Festival. Street food stalls and a food market will take over the town centre and quay for the weekend.

The cook-off sees 32 professional chefs, fishermen and chowder makers represent their county to compete for the title of All Ireland Chowder Champion. The winner is chosen by the public – for €10 you get a score card, which you use to mark the samples of chowders (kudos if you can sample all 32). The winner represents Ireland in the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, Rhode Island next year. Tickets available on the day at Acton’s Hotel, Main Street, or tel: 021 4773571.

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