DINGLE FOOD FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS 2018

Dingle-dweller Deanna O’Connor on the foodie highlight of the year in Dingle (in fact in all of Ireland!)

You weren’t in Dingle for the first weekend in October? You were missing out! It’s the time of year for the annual Dingle Food Festival—and considering that Dingle bears the title of top foodie town in all the land, it’s quite an event.

deanna

Every year, food experts descend on the town a few days in advance of the Festival to judge the national food produce awards (Blas na hEireann - Taste of Ireland). You’ll know winning products as you’ll see the medal on emblazoned on their packaging.

There is also a series of talks and panel discussions, which, if you’re in the food industry, are a must-see. Along with talks on pitching, selling and financial planning, this year’s speakers included Aoife McElwain, author of Slow at Work, with an inspiring talk about mindfulness, which made a big impression on some of those entrepreneurs who were burning the candle at both ends.

Before the madness of the festival took over the town, I grabbed a quiet corner for a chat with Dee Laffan, a renowned food journalist and editor of foodandwine.ie, who was one of the judges for Blas, about why she loves to visit the Dingle Food Festival every year.

The Sights and Smells

The Food Trail is one of the highlights of the Festival, taking place across the town between 1pm and 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. The books of tickets for the Food Trail are available from the Festival HQ on Main St, beside Geaneys pub, priced at €20 for a book of 9 tickets (each ticket is worth €2 and the final €2 goes towards the cost of running the festival). The book of tickets which will allow you a tasting plate or cocktail in each of the participating establishments and street stalls—luckily the sun seems to know to come out for the Food Festival so you can wander the streets and enjoy the music and street performances.

I wish the technology for Smell-O-Vision was invented because it would be the best way to give you a sense of the festival. Driving into the town the first place I passed was the Fish Shop, which was serving seafood barbecue and a chowder for their Festival Food Trail dishes, priced at 2 tokens for the barbecue and 1 token for the chowder. But I couldn’t stop, firstly because there was no parking (your best bet is to park out of town and take the shuttle bus in) and secondly because the Food Trail tokens are the official currency and I needed to get down to HQ to buy my book of tokens before I could start!

There is so much choice to taste. A popular favourite every year are the kangaroo skewers, but if like me, you couldn’t bring yourself to eat poor Skippy, then there is everything from a huge choice of seafood, delicious local oysters, vegetarian options, raclette…the best thing to do is follow your nose! 

STOP PRESS... Don't miss out, book early for the Dingle Food Festival 2019!

The Dingle Food festival us being held on Friday 4th to Sunday 6th October 2019  so book early if you want to stay in the coolest, boutique homes in the heart of Dingle town and on the Dingle Peninsula. https://www.stayyna.com/dingle-cottages/

A variety of cookery demonstrations take place in the somewhat unusual location of St James’ Church on Main St—it’s better known as the concert venue for the famous Other Voices music festival, but this weekend, it plays hosts to chefs including Wade Murphy from 1826 Adare, JP McMahon, chef patron of Galway’s Michelin-starred Aniar restaurant, and Jean Marie Vaireaux of Dingle’s Out of the Blue.

There are also lots of free concerts, events and parties for all the family to enjoy—this year’s activities included everything from workshops on fermenting, whiskey tasting and herbal remedies, to fun Zumba for kids and adults, yoga focusing on digestive health, and Sing Along Social (like karaoke, but everyone in the pub joins in!).

Go Eco!

Be sure to get your hands on the eco-friendly Food Festival kit which contains reusable bamboo plate, bowl and cutlery, for €10. There are rinsing stations on the street where you can clean them off before you go for your next course—it’s a fantastic innovation, started when people counted up the number of plastic single use plates that were used.

STOP PRESS... Don't miss out, book early for the Dingle Food Festival 2019!

The Dingle Food festival us being held on Friday 4th to Sunday 6th October 2019  so book early if you want to stay in the coolest, boutique homes in the heart of Dingle town and on the Dingle Peninsula. https://www.stayyna.com/dingle-cottages/

 

 

 

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