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A Taste of Donegal Chairperson’s Message 2018

It’s absolutely worth making the journey North to visit “The Coolest Place on the Planet” by National Geographic and “The most beautiful County in Ireland” by the popular website ‘”Ireland Before You Die” situated along the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way. It has the best of everything that Ireland has to offer first class hospitality in Award Winning Hotels, unspoilt wild and wonderful scenery, outdoor attractions and pursuits, warm welcomes and Craic!!

A very warm welcome awaits you in Donegal Town when you discover the biggest hidden gem and Premier Food Event that is A Taste of Donegal 2018. As we approach our 10th Anniversary this has become the must attend Food Extravaganza Party of the North West equally rivalling the major Food Events on the Island of Ireland.

From humble beginnings we now attract Food Lovers from all over the world to our beautiful tented village on the Pier in Donegal Town with the backdrop of the Blue Stack Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.

This year’s Festival has once again gathered together Top Restaurants, Hotels, Food and Drink Providers. With an excess of 128 exhibitors, over the course of the weekend you can taste and purchase some of the finest food and drink available from all over the country.

As I prepare our 10th Anniversary Chairpersons message we are almost at full capacity with an ever expanding waiting list of exhibitors.

Over the weekend we will have tutored Cocktail, Whiskey, Gin, Irish Liquor and Craft Beer Masterclasses with tastings by Sliabh Liag Distillery, Coole Swan, and Donegal Brewing Company / Dicey Reilly’s, along with Cookery Demonstrations by high profile Celebrity Chefs such as Neven Maguire, Gary O’ Hanlon, Catherine Fulvio, Kevin Dundon, Brian Mc Dermott, Edward Hayden, Kwanghi Chan, Stephen Mc Allister, Ciaran Sweeney, Joe Shannon & Frank Forde, Shane Smith and Simon Delaney. We will also have our Local Celebrity Chefs Kieran Duey, Anthony Armstrong, Martin Anderson, Zack Gallagher, and Martin Hernandez. Our cookery demonstrations will be hosted by the “No Salt Chef” RTE‘s & BBC Radio personality chef Brian Mc Dermott.

Light entertainment over the weekend will be provided by the timeless music of Dean Martin and The Rat Pack performed by the wonderful Adrian Cullen. You are guaranteed to be entertained by Marcel So What Silent Mime Artist, simply one of the funniest street performers in Ireland. He is highly interactive with audiences, entertaining them with a string of hilarious facial contortions and ridiculous poses. He has been a favourite at many of Ireland’s festivals over the years. He appeals to both adults and children alike making him a perfect choice for our event.

Enjoy hilarious side splitting comedy by Irelands Comical Celebrity Chef Joe Shannon & Comedian Frank Forde in our Cookery Comedy Theatre. Maybe a bit of singing and dancing thrown in!! “Everything in the culinary world that you most probably don’t need to know!!

The Wobbly Circus Street Theatre will return with larger than life stilt walker Mary Poppins. Her old world charm will delight both young and old with her classic style and crowd interaction. Watch your back! No one is safe from a unique roving clown on a mini penny farthing bicycle with sound and special effects.  You’ll have plenty of time to get out of the way as you’ll definitely hear him coming! Expect honking horns, juggling tricks and most of all expect the unexpected Honk Honk, and off course Mickey & Minnie will make several appearances throughout the weekend to meet and greet young and old. Add in a bit of professional live Children’s close up magic with balloons and music by Mr Majestic.

Agri Aware will create an unique educational outdoor classroom where visitors of all ages will have the chance to meet a host of adorable animals including lambs, calves, goats and chicks and many more and learn about the role of the farmer in caring for these animals each day, whilst also understanding the importance of farmers in delivering quality, safe and traceable food and bring you on a journey “From Farm to Fork”.

We will once again be seeking out the best Chef in the area with our now coveted “A Passion to Inspire 2018 Competition”. The contestants will be tested by a world class judging panel led by our very own Anthony Armstrong C- G WAC, Peter Griffiths M.B.E. President, British Culinary Federation, Bob Mac Donald, C – G Master Chefs of Great Britain, Gerard Molloy The American Culinary Federation. This competition attracts entries from all over the North West Region and may I take this opportunity on behalf on the Committee to sincerely thank all the judges for taking time out of their busy schedules to judge this event for us and of course wish the best of luck to all our participating chefs.

Our Exhibitors will also be scrutinised over the Festival weekend with two competitions. The most attractive stand will be judged by The Local Enterprise Office and the best product will be judged by Bord Bia, LYIT Killybegs and Dave Lang Butchery Excellence. Once again good luck to all in these competitions and many thanks to our judges.

This year’s Festival opens on Friday 24th August at 4pm. The Official Opening will take place at 7 pm and our MC for the evening will be TV3’s Star and General Manager of Harvey’s Point Country Hotel, Mr. Noel Cunningham. Jules & Keith Mahon, founders of the Award Winning TheTaste.ie Digital Magazine will perform the Festival Opening. Music will be by Adrian Cullen “The Dean Martin Tribute Show”. This will be followed immediately by our first demonstration of 2018 by Gary O’ Hanlon and Stephen Mc Allister TV3 The Restaurant after which our Cocktail Masterclass with tastings will be hosted by Former World Cocktail Champion Deirdre Byrne and Distiller Sean Hanrahan Sliabh Liag Distillery. The night will conclude with a fantastic Fireworks Display over Donegal Bay.

On behalf of the Committee I would like to thank all our loyal Sponsors, Financial Contributors, Donegal Local Enterprise Office, An Garda Siochanna, Donegal County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Bord Iasciagh Mhara, The Media, Volunteers and anyone who helped to bring this project to fruition.

A Taste of Donegal is truly a food lover’s dream and will showcase Donegal Town and the surrounding area as a region of high quality restaurants and hotels with a vibrant and growing Artisan Food Production Family. So why not put us on your to do list for August 2018. All that is left for me to say is come along and tantalise your taste buds and as our caption says , “Discover, Dine and Delight in Donegal Town” over the Festival weekend and indeed every time you visit the region.

All relevant information about this year’s event is contained in this website or follow us on Facebook which is being constantly updated.

 

Ernan Mc Gettigan

Chairperson