Feast Cork 2018, the East Cork Food & Drink Festival, runs from September 2nd to 9th, again based in the market town of Midleton with its rich food heritage, but with a strong focus on the wider region and a sure sense of place.
A festival that happens at harvest time – appropriately for a gathering up and bringing together of the best of what the area has to offer – Feast Cork is a fresh blend of conversations, dinners, markets, foraging, mixology, produce, producers, landscape, heritage and storytelling.
Beginning with the official opening on Sunday night, September 2nd in the Jameson Heritage Centre, the week of Feast Cork 2018 has food-focused events every night, leading up to the main event on Saturday September 8th, when the entire town of Midleton is animated by this vibrant festival from early in the morning to late in the evening.
Whether it’s sampling cheese, seeing behind the scenes in a boutique chocolate factory, expert-led mushroom foraging or searching for edible seaweeds by the seashore, Feast Cork promises an up close and personal take from the people who make and produce some of the region’s most distinctive foods.
On Tuesday September 4th explore the range of artisan, handmade, natural Ardsallagh Goats’ Cheese made by the happy goats of the Murphy family, over a glass or two of wine. On Wednesday 5th, meet Dutch native Stephen Bender and his wife Michele Cashman, the couple behind Ballinrostig’s fine gouda-style goats’ cheeses, in their dairy and their permaculture-inspired homestead, with a trip to the pub afterwards. Meet Jameson’s Head Cooper Ger Buckley and Blender Dave McCabe at the Cooperage pop-up at Sage during the day and indulge in an evening of exquisite food and culinary insight at Ballymaloe House, also on Wednesday.
On Thursday 6th, Ballyvolane House will be hosting Bertha’s Revenge Gin distillery tour and tasting, followed by a long-table lunch in the dining terrace. Enjoy a different perspective in the evening with a long table dinner by chef Kevin Aherne of Sage in partnership with food historian, food writer, broadcaster and cook, Regina Sexton.
Spend Friday evening exploring the cocoa bean in the beautiful East Cork countryside in the company of the folks behind delectable artisan chocolates, Rostellan Chocolate. Go down to the woods on Saturday 8th for an exploration of the fungi to be found with Mark Cribbin from award-winning mushroom specialists Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms. Learn about identifying and using sustainably harvested seaweed and then forage for some with marine biologist Frances Gallagher on Sunday 9th, then linger over East of East, a leisurely Sunday lunch on the last day of the festival in Sage created by Kevin Aherne and guest chef Takashi Miyazaki who has two much-lauded Japanese restaurants in Cork city.
The big day out at Feast Cork is on Saturday September 8th, with the street market, farmers’ market and gardening workshops running all day from Midleton Community Garden and GIY. With an East Cork restaurant tent packed with chef demos, and a Future of Food dialogue & lunch in Sage, there’s plenty for people to get their teeth into, and town will be buzzing.
Kicking Saturday morning’s events off, Jameson Distillery Midleton are hosting a special extended tour of the famous distillery for those who want to discover a deeper understanding of Irish whiskey. The tour will take guests across the grounds, with behind the scenes access to the micro-distillery, cooperage, maturation warehouse A1 and the distiller’s cottage, followed by a tutored tasting of the premium range of whiskeys.
From the individual and small-scale but crucial producers, farmers, fishermen and cooks in the region that add layers of authenticity and history to the community, to the ethos originally created by Myrtle Allen at Ballymaloe House and Cookery School that has become a global force of nature that can be felt in the best kitchens from Sydney to San Francisco, East Cork resounds with a genuine sense of celebration of the local, the seasonal, the real. Feast Cork capitalises on and magnifies that shared ethos and those shared values in the most celebratory way.
Feast Cork has grown from the strong roots put down by the Midleton Food Festival over the past 15 years, and now this harvest celebration holds out its arms to the wider region, creating new coordinates for this vibrant young festival, coordinates that they hope will shine brighter each year on the food festival map of Ireland — coordinates that are pure Feast Cork.
For the full programme and details and prices of booking dinners and events, see www.feastcork.ie.