Now in its seventh year, the 2018 Galway Food Festival will take place over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, from March 29 to April 2. The west's premier food festival celebrates the city and county’s culinary landscape, showcasing the people, produce, and passion that have firmly established Galway as the food capital of the west.
This year's festival will feature five days of open-air markets, food trails, family fun and much, much more.
The festival theme, ‘Planting Seeds’, will resonate throughout a wide-ranging programme of more than 100 food-based events, celebrating the importance of sharing food together to promote a healthy community that starts in the home. This year’s theme is about the origin of our food, and much more — it is about planting the seeds of education and awareness, of economic growth and development, and getting back to our roots.
The festival will offer an engaging programme of talks, top class workshops, tours, and in-house events, all of which will encourage people to reconnect with where their food comes from, and learning more about what nature can provide for us and how we can connect to our communities by developing the relationship between food and culture.
Highlights of the festival include the return of Breaking Bread in Halla Bia (Connacht Tribune Printworks ) on Bank Holiday Monday, April 2. Co-produced with Cope and Galway 2020, Breaking Bread showcases and celebrates the varied and diverse cultural groups that form the bedrock of Galway’s vibrant modern community. Focusing on themes of inclusion, acceptance, and collaboration, Breaking Bread will feature exhibitions of culture and food by participating groups, including mouthwatering traditional and modern dishes to taste and share with the public. More than 3,000 people visited the event last year showing an enormous appetite from Galway people to share in the many cultures of the city and county
Also returning is the hugely successful Halla Bia, Galway’s first indoor food market, featuring a wide range of produce from almost 30 indigenous food and drink producers from the European Region of Gastronomy. The event was a huge success last year, for patrons and exhibitors alike, and the 2018 edition will showcase the best of the west with more than 40 producers and a wider variety of products, all in the Connacht Tribune Printing Works in the city centre.
Another highlight of the festival will be the Food Truck Village at the Spanish Arch, where guests can taste everything from hand-rolled sushi, fish and chips, and fresh juices, to local fudge and organic sodas for those with a sweet tooth.
An exciting range of cookery demonstrations will be presented by an impressive line-up of chefs, including cook and blogger Lily Ramirez-Foran from Dublin’s Picado Mexican; chef and owner of Michelin Star restaurant Sense, Dennis Middeldorp from The Netherlands; Jason O’Neill from the g Hotel; Brendan Keane from The King’s Head; and Jp McMahon from Aniar, Cava, and Tartare.
There will lots of entertainment for children in the demo tent this year, with Foodie Forum’s Jacinta Dalton and Cormac Handy presenting Where’s Dory? This is a fun, interactive, educational seafood workshop for children which will see young people engaging in a number of activities including identifying fish, learning a little about the ocean in terms of plastics, and cooking some fish, with a tasting at the end.
The ever popular selection of food tours return with events including the Bees, Seeds, and Beer Tour, a look at the future of the fate of bees and the impact that their decline will have in food industry. Guests will leave Galway city to travel to the Sliabh Aughty beehives to learn all about honey, then onto Heneghan’s Nurseries in Athenry to plant some bee-pollinating flowers and take seeds with them to plant at home, before finishing up at the Galway Hooker Brewery where guests can sample the brewery’s new honey beer.
Connemara Food Tours will be taking people to Connemara to sample the best of the west with a tasting tour. Other tours include joining Jp McMahon for a walk, talk, and forage in Barna Woods, the Beechlawn Organic Open Farm Tour, and a Galway Vegan Food Tour, as well as the regular section of Galway Food Tours which will run over the course of the festival.
Following last year’s success, Galway Food Policy Council cofounder and Third Space curator Martina Finn will once again curate a panel discussion on sustainable community food systems and the growing awareness of food sovereignty, bioregionalism, urban and regenerative agriculture practices, and the many community and environmental initiatives that support it.
Panelists include: Fiona Donovan, project manager for the Healthy Ireland - Healthy Cities and Counties Programme, Irish Seed Savers Association; Dr Ollie Moore, Food Sovereignty Ireland and ARC 2020; Eoin McCuirk, Cork Food Policy Council and director of Cork Simon Community; and Sinead Moran, Foodture.
Another fascinating talk is 'Veganism - Fickle Fad or the Future of Food?' in which the panelists discuss the impact of food choices on our bodies and surroundings, and consider if veganism really is the future of food.
In 2018, Galway plays host to the European Region of Gastronomy, which aims to contribute to a better quality of life in European regions by highlighting distinctive food cultures. Galway Food Festival is a partner of this event and recognises the festival as an integral part of the European Region of Gastronomy award for the region of Galway.
To see the full programme of events visit www.galwayfoodfestival.com Find Galway Food Festival Facebook or follow on Twitter @Galwayfood and #GFF2018.