Ballina gears up for a weekend of food and more

The Food Fleadh Ballina makes a welcome return to the North Mayo capital from August 25 to 27 and over the weekend, visitors can enjoy a number of great family-friendly events including family foraging, food demonstrations, a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ competition, children’s cookery classes, the inaugural ‘Yeast Meets West’ Craft Brew fest, cocktail-making demonstrations by award-winning mixologists, featuring the finest spirits from Ballina’s Connacht Distillery - all while enjoying the finest of North Mayo food.

Food Fleadh Ballina opens on Friday, August 25 at 1.30pm with a guided seashore foraging trip along the Wild Atlantic Mayo coastline with experienced cultural guide Denis Quinn of Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours. Departing from and returning to Belleek Castle, guests will explore the coastline, gather seafood and plants, and return with their bounty to Belleek Castle to learn how to prepare and cook it. Later that evening, the Food Fleadh Opening Night takes place in the brand new Jack Fenn Café, at Belleek Castle’s newly renovated courtyard space. Visitors can sample fresh, seasonal bites accompanied by local brews in this beautiful rustic space.

The Food Fleadh Market takes place on Saturday, August 26 from 11am under the unique canopy cover in the historic Military Barracks from 11am, ensuring that regardless of weather, food lovers will stay dry as the day’s programme unfolds. Visitors will get to sample the culinary specialities of Ballina and North Mayo’s gastrobars and restaurants in an intimate, friendly atmosphere, with some of the finest dining businesses in the region in attendance including Belleek Castle, The Broken Jug and Luskin’s Bistro and Wine Bar. Local farmers and independent artisan producers will showcase their products as Ballina’s Farmer’s Market and Ballina Community Market also partake in the market. Throughout the day there will be live cookery demonstrations with our top local chefs.

Interspersed with the cookery demos, local mixologists will show you how to prepare the perfect cocktails using Connacht Whiskey Company’s locally produced Concullin Gin and Strawboys Vodka. New to this year’s Food Fleadh Ballina festival is the inaugural ‘Yeast Meets West’ Craft Brew Fest, featuring a number of breweries based along the Wild Atlantic Way. Meanwhile for the little ones, Food Fleadh Ballina’s Kids’ Corner features the ever-popular Children’s Cooking Classes, arts and crafts workshops and cookie dressing.

Gerry Luskin, Ballina Chamber vice-president and Food Fleadh Ballina chairman, said: “This is the place to be for all foodies and gin fans! Meet the chef from your favourite restaurant or let the local artisan producer tell you the history of their local natural food product. Sample our delicious cocktails using our own local spirits. We are delighted to bring together all these talented people to showcase their produce on the one day. Having so many talented chefs and food producers makes us very proud to be from this beautiful region and this is a gastronomic experience not to be missed.”

Visit www.ballina.ie, www.mayonorth.ie, or Food Fleadh Ballina on Facebook for more information.

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