A feast for all the family at Galway Food Festival this weekend

Traders and Festival Goers were delighted with Galway Food Festivals latest addition, Halla Bia. Photo Boyd ChallengerA busy Halla Bia at last year's Galway Food Festival.

Traders and Festival Goers were delighted with Galway Food Festivals latest addition, Halla Bia. Photo Boyd ChallengerA busy Halla Bia at last year's Galway Food Festival.

The 2018 Galway Food Festival returns this weekend to celebrate the people, produce, and passion that have firmly established Galway as the food capital of the west. Now in its seventh year, the west’s premiere food festival will take place over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend from March 29 to April 2, with five days of mouthwatering markets, delicious demonstrations, tasty talks, and a feast of family fun.

The festival theme of ‘planting seeds’ is evident in the wide-ranging programme of more than 100 food-based events which will cast a spotlight the origin of our foods, as well as sowing the seeds of education and awareness; of economic growth and development; and most importantly, of the sheer enjoyment of food culture in Ireland and abroad.

Between this evening’s official opening in the Kitchen Café, and the return of the popular Breaking Bread on Easter Monday, the festival will present an engaging programme which will encourage people to reconnect with where their food comes from, and learn more about nature’s bounty.

Highlights include the return of the lauded community feast event Breaking Bread at the Connacht Printworks on Bank Holiday Monday April 2, in collaboration with Creative Ireland. Co-produced with Cope and Galway European Capital of Culture 2020, Breaking Bread uses our shared love of food to showcase and celebrate the 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.

Entry to the event (and a plate for the feast ) can be attained by making a donation to Cope Galway.

Festival organisers are also inviting individuals throughout Galway city and county to get involved by hosting their own Breaking Bread event, bringing together family and friends to share food, tell stories, and celebrate our communities as part of a shared interactive experience.

Halla Bia

Also returning is the very successful Halla Bia. Huge numbers visited Galway’s first indoor food market last year, which cast a spotlight on a wide range of produce from almost 30 indigenous food and drink producers from along the European Region of Gastronomy. Halla Bia provides an opportunity for small local food and drink producers to showcase and sell their products, and this year the festival has linked with local enterprise offices along the Wild Atlantic Way to bring a wide range of local food producers to Galway.

Halla Bia is part of the wider effort in Galway to encourage and promote local food and drink producers who are growing and creating employment throughout the region, and this year sees producers from Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, and Donegal selling their products at the vibrant indoor market in the Connacht Printworks on Market Street over the weekend.

Food tours

The ever popular selection of food tours return with events including Galway Food Tours at Night, where participants can taste the best food and drink across Galway, traversing the city from east to west over the course of three hours as the sun goes down; the Aniar - EAT Galway Taste Trail, a food and wine taste trail in Aniar, Tartare, and Cava Bodega; the Half Day Wild Atlantic Way Tour which includes Connemara Abalone Farm, Connemara Organic Seaweed (light meal included ), and Poitín Micil tasting; Cava on the Corrib, a boat tour and Barbeque on the Corrib Princess; and Galway Vegan Food Tours which showcases the best of Galway’s plant based food scene on a six-stop tour.

Other tour highlights include Bees, Seeds and Beer, highlights the importance of bees with visits to Sliabh Aughty Honey in Loughrea, and Heneghan’s Nurseries in Athenry, where participants will learn how to help the bees’ plight by planting pollenating plants, before finishing at the Galway Hooker Brewery in Oranmore to sample the delicious new honey beer. The Beechlawn Organics Farm Tour explores the fundamentals of growing organic veg, with a walk among the spring seedlings in the polytunnels of Beechlawn Organic Farm in Ballinasloe. The daily Galway Food Tours are the best way to get to know Galway’s culinary scene, and meet the people involved.

Demonstrations

The festival will also feature a tantalising array of cookery demonstrations, presented by an all-star line-up of chefs and culinary professionals including Dennis Middledorp from The Netherlands on contemporary Michelin cooking, Jp Mc Mahon and Castlemine Farm on the beauty of raw beef, Ultan Cooke talking about creating the perfect lobster roll, Lisa Corbett and Sinead O’Halloran’s nutrition and labelling workshop (for parents and children ), Geraldine Moran and Anna Burke with Tales and Tastes of Joyce Country, and Lily Ramirez-Foran’s insights on Mexican salsas and chillies.

Panel discussions

Third Space Galway curator Martina Finn has once again been invited to curate a panel discussion on sustainable community food systems for Galway Food Festival, taking place in the Mick Lally Theatre, Druid Lane, on Saturday April 31.

Panels include Growing Space - Community Food and Urban Agriculture, in partnership with Galway Food Policy Council, which explores some of the innovative community actions being taken to date in meeting the sustainable food challenges of our times. Meanwhile Food Futures... Ireland at a Crossroad will discuss the growing awareness and importance of food sovereignty, urban and regenerative agriculture practices, and the many community and environmental initiatives that support it locally, nationally, and internationally.

For more information on the events throughout the festival weekend visit www.galwayfoodfestival.com Follow Galway Food Festival on Facebook and on Twitter, @Galwayfood and #GFF18.

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