Kinsale Gourmet Festival proves winning recipe

Food tastes have changed over the last 39 years, but the event is still going strong

“Pâtés are still popular but we no longer have a whole morning devoted to them.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

“Pâtés are still popular but we no longer have a whole morning devoted to them.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Take a fresh idea, add a smidgen of imagination, a dash of ingenuity and hey presto, you have the highly successful Kinsale Gourmet Festival.

Now in its 39th year, Kinsale Gourmet Festival attracts an estimated 5,000 lovers of good food from all over Ireland as well as the UK and further afield to the west Cork town.

Festival chairman, Liam Edwards, whose family runs Jim Edwards Restaurant and Bar, said tastes have changed over the past 40 years. “Back in the early days, we used to have a pâté tasting morning where guests sampled pates and terrines – pâtés are still popular but we no longer have a whole morning devoted to them.”

Local produce

The rising numbers of craft beers is also on show and this year’s festival boasts two local brews, Stonewall cider and Kinsale Pale Ale .

The festival is hosted by Kinsale’s 11 Good Food Circle Restaurants which also feature in the popular Mad Hatter’s Taste of Kinsale on Saturday, an escorted foodie walking tour of the town where participants turn up in fancy dress.

“It’s inspired by the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland,” he says. “Participants follow guides dressed as Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Fieldmouse to venues.”

Opened yesterday by the US ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, the festival also hosted the Cork heat of the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-off.

Twelve chefs from county restaurants competed to represent Cork in the national competition, with the Rising Tide from Glounthaune being successful. RTÉ’s Dáithí Ó Sé is the MC for a Fruits de Mer Luncheon on Sunday.

The festival will not be without some sadness as guests remember its great champion, the late Derek Davis.

“This will the first festival in 25 years without Derek. He was a real ambassador for Kinsale – he loved Kinsale and Kinsale loved him back and he worked wonders for us for the festival,” said Edwards.