Two great Galway food festivals and competition time

Here is something a little different for those of you with a competitive streak. The granddaddy of all Irish food festivals, Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, has a really exciting competition for you, marking its 59th year. If you are passionate about food and local products, its Best of the West recipe competition, run in conduction with, has been designed to showcase all the wonderful food and producers of the entire western region.

There are some great prizes up for grabs, including an overall prize of a coveted place at the Aniar Boutique Cookery School, the only Michelin star restaurant in the west of Ireland. Other prizes include gorgeous Irish delicacies such as Burren Smoked Salmon, Wild Irish Sea Veg, and more. There will be a selection of prizes for all finalists including complimentary family tickets to the festival.

Entry is easy — just submit a recipe via the Facebook page. You must upload a picture of the dish, nothing fancy (a phone pic will do ) just to give the gist of the finished dish. The only requirement is that recipes submitted must use one or more products from the western region. We are spoiled here in the west with great producers, so there are loads to choose from, Kelly Oysters, Green Earth Organics, Donegal Rapeseed Oil, Connemara Smokehouse, and St Tola Goats cheese to name just a few. I have thrown my own hat into the ring with a tasty little starter featuring Castlemine Farm beef, as I have my eye on one of the prizes, a very cute Ursula Celano pinny to add to my collection. I could of course just buy one, but this is a far more interesting way of trying to nab one.

After the recipe submission closing date (Monday September 16 ), a selection of recipes from each of the seven counties in the western region – Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim, and Donegal — will then be shortlisted for a public vote. Voting for your favourite recipe will close on September 24.

The judging panel includes JP McMahon, chef and owner of Aniar Restaurant, Mary Keaveney from, and Suzanne Meade, manager of the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival. They will select four finalists from the most popular recipes to go through to recreate their recipe in the festival marquee on Sunday September 29. We are expecting to discover some great culinary talent in the process.

If you think your recipe has what it takes to win, then submit your recipe online at It promises to be great fun, and may the best recipe win. But don't forget, that apron is mine!

For more information on the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, September 26 to 29, see or call (091 ) 575875.

From the oldest of Galway's food festivals to the youngest. Bake Fest Galway will be the largest baking festival in Ireland. If, like me, you are one of the many viewers who have been glued to the last few series of The Great British Bake Off, then this event is a must visit for all baking enthusiasts. It will showcase all the latest baking ideas, feature live demonstrations, as well as competitions for professionals and novice bakers. The lovely Catherine Leyden of Odlums will be there along with one of my favourite authors and bloggers, Lily Higgins from Make, Bake, Love, plus our own Emer Murray of Goya’s. Throughout the two days they will demonstrate the skills, tips, and tricks used to make the finest cakes, pastries, and breads. Being a family centred event with free entry, there will be a strong focus on re-instilling traditions and time spent together when baking, as well as encouraging the use of local produce throughout the process.

This event will also give those who love to decorate cakes a chance to show off their skills and passion. It doesn't matter if you are a child, adult, professional, or master, there is a place for you at the Bake Fest Competition. Everything from soda bread, pies, sponges, and biscuit cakes to elaborate wedding cakes will be on show for judging. If you fancy channelling your inner Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood you can check out the Bake Fest Galway Facebook page for further details. The deadline for entry is approaching fast and hundreds of entry packs have already been sent out. The closing date for receipt of entry is September 13. The entries will be judged under the guidelines of the British Sugarcraft rules which have the same standard in every competition. Gold, silver, and bronze certificates awarded according to marks gained. For your entry pack and further information you can e-mail [email protected]

Bake Fest Galway is a two-day national event taking place in Leisureland, Galway, on Saturday October 5 and Sunday October 6. Opening times are Saturday 10am – 7pm and Sunday 10am – 6pm, with proceeds going to ACT for Meningitis.



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