The Hill of Tara, seat of the High Kings of Ireland, was the backdrop today for the launch of the 2015 Boyne Valley Food Series – a fitting setting for this innovative calendar of events throughout Summer and early Autumn weaving the region’s exciting food produce and cooking into its rich heritage.
Chefs, farmers and food producers gathered at the historic site today to celebrate all that this fertile river valley has to offer in terms of food produce and cooking. They were joined by John McKenna, author of the McKenna Food Guides, who launched this year’s programme of events.
Over 40 unique food experience events will take place over a 5 month period from May to September across almost 50 venues & locations throughout the Boyne Valley region, which stretches across counties Meath & Louth to the Eastern seaboard. This initiative, supported by Failte Ireland and Meath County Council, brings together almost 50 businesses working to create a food tourism offering based on visitor experience and quirky, authentic events rooted in the unique history and landscape of the area. The series will include foraging, farm walks, beer tastings and tapas trails, but also some more unusual events, such as a Mad Hatter’s Dinner Party, Braveheart Banquet and Gourmet Electric Bike Tour, and no less than 6 festivals.
“We are a group of businesses – restaurants, hoteliers, food producers and visitor attractions – who are passionate about food, keen to celebrate its journey from producer to the table, and to link it to the rich heritage of this region”, says Chair of the group and Failte Ireland Food Champion Olivia Duff of the Headfort Arms Hotel & Maperath Farm in Co. Meath,
“We have great farm produce and seafood, as well as incredible emerging artisan food producers and talented chefs, but what makes this series so special is the great bunch of like-minded people working together to tell our food story in a way that is fun and engaging”.
There really is something for everyone in this series, including many free and family events and plenty to get your out in the open air – with gourmet cycles and farm walks providing exercise to balance all the indulgence. Some of the highlights across the 5 months include:
- May offers 2 festivals; the Seafood festival in Kells and the Sheridan Irish Food Festival, as well as a craft beer & food pairing at Bru Brewery and a Dawn Chorus & Artisan Breakfast with Birdwatch Meath and Newgrange Gold farm.
- June there’s a Mad Hatter Dinner Party, Meath Food Safari, a Gourmet & Craft Beer Festival, and a Summer Solstice event.
- July events include Children’s Cookery Camps, a Gourmet Cycle and a 25km Producer Electric Bike Tour, as well as a ‘Dine in the Dark’ dinner, a Barnyard bash and a South American street food festival.
- August kicks off with the Navan Tapas Trail, back by popular demand following its success in 2014, followed by ‘The Boyne Valley Yank hosts a Hoe Down’, foraging on Girley Bog, and a traditional Garden Fete at Slane Castle. The series will also host a number of events for Heritage week from 22-30 August.
- September will incorporate no less than 3 festivals; the Sheridans Harvest Festival, the Slane Street Festival and the Slane Food, Film & Music Festival at Rock Farm
That’s just a taste of the diverse array of events on offer. Renowned dining destinations in the region will also offer special events as part of the series, including ‘Taste of the Estate’ Dinner at Tankardstown House, a ‘Braveheart’ Medieval Banquet at the Stockhouse, Trim and a Heritage Dinner at the Vanilla Pod restaurant in Kells.
|Food Writer John McKenna with Olivia Duff at the launch of the 2015 Boyne Valley Food Series|
Speaking at the launch of this year’s programme of events, food writer John McKenna said “This is an inspired idea…the range of events, covering every aspect of food, cooking and artisanship in the region, reveals the rich fabric of its culinary creativity and reflects the seasons as the year unfolds.”
He continued, “Nobody else has ever organised a festival of food in this way, as a series of stand-alone and yet related events with food at the centre of everything, and it’s a great tribute to the Boyne Valley area that they have such a wealth of local food and creativity to offer to locals and visitors as part of the Boyne Valley Food Series”
|View a larger size Map of events Here|
The Boyne Valley is known as the heritage capital of Ireland with the UNESCO World Heritage site Bru Na Boinne recognised as one of the world’s most important prehistoric landscapes. Now the region is rapidly building a food heritage to match, with its farmers, fishermen and new wave of food producers turning out distinctive foods from the area’s fertile, vibrant green landscape and rich coastline, and its chefs inspired by this natural larder and artisan craftsmanship to cook dishes that reflect the wealth of the region’s heritage.
The Boyne Valley Food Series, now in its 3rd year, brings all of this together, by offering a calendar of food events which weave through the region, embracing the area’s landscape and natural environment, as well as its built heritage and its more recent history allowing the visitor to really taste the region, to follow its trails, to interact with its rich heritage, to shake the hands that make the food..and to eat like Kings!
|Head of Food Tourism, Hospitality Education, & Standards at Fáilte Ireland – John Mulcahy|
Commenting on the Launch of the Boyne Valley Food Series 2015, John Mulcahy, Head of Food Tourism, Hospitality Education, & Standards at Fáilte Ireland said, “As overseas visitor numbers continue to grow, food tourism is becoming a very important component in the visitor experience with the amazing quality and authenticity of our food offering in Ireland. You’ll find some of the best raw ingredients in the world, expertly prepared then served simply and fresh… it’s as if you can really taste the place.”
“I am delighted to see so many food businesses in the Boyne Valley showcasing their food offering in a collaborative way to promote the variety of food related events taking place in their region,” he added.
The events kick-off this May Bank Holiday weekend with Blossom Walks in the Orchards of Boyne Grove Farm, with apple juice & cider tasting with Dan Kelly’s cider, and from there you can munch and taste your way through the months ahead with events every week until the end of September.
So if you are heading to the Boyne Valley Region or just looking for something fun to do make sure you check out www.BoyneValleyFoodSeries.ie