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A Taste of Donegal Food Festival 2019 on from Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th August

This year’s "A Taste of Donegal Food Festival" runs from Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th August 2019 and is again sited in the beautiful tented village, on the Main Pier, in Donegal Town.

Now in its 11th year, this is the premier food event in the northwest's foodie calendar attracting excellent crowds and growing in size and stature every year. From humble beginnings this food festival now attracts food lovers from all over the world to the beautiful tented village on the Pier with the backdrop of the Blue Stack Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.

This year’s Taste of Donegal Food Festival has once again gathered together top Restaurants, Hotels, Food and Drink Providers, with over 130 exhibitors, giving you a chance to taste and purchase some of the finest food and drink available from all over the island of Ireland!

Cookery Demonstrations will be by nationally renown Celebrity Chefs such as Neven Maguire, Gary O’ Hanlon, Catherine Fulvio, Kevin Dundon, Brian Mc Dermott, Edward Hayden, Oliver Dunne, Joe Shannon & Frank Forde, Maire Dufficey.

They will also have Local Celebrity Chefs, Anthony Armstrong, Christopher Molloy, Martin Anderson, Paul Brady, Chef Influencer Zack Gallagher, Food Enthusiast Pauline Sugrue, Richard and Andrew Mc Kee.

The Cookery Demonstration tent will be hosted by  award-winning celebrity chef/author and chef-proprietor of the newly restored Foyle Hotel in Moville, Brian McDermott.

Over the weekend there will be tutored Whiskey, Gin, Vodka and Irish Liquor Masterclasses with tastings by Sliabh Liag Distillery, Muff Liquor Company, and Coole Swan. New for 2019 a Coffee Roasting Demonstration by Mark Langford of Triskele Coffee.

Once again the “A Passion to Inspire 2019 Competition”, will be seeking out the best local Chef in the region. 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. This competition attracts entries from all over the North West Region.

It is also planned to have a Special Chefs Award in memory of one of the judges, Gerard Molly, who passed away recently, as a tribute to his love of food and his outstanding contribution to A Taste of Donegal Food Festival, over the last ten years.

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 and highly acclaimed and accomplished musician Zara Montgomery.

Enjoy hilarious side-splitting comedy by Irelands Comical Celebrity Chef Joe Shannon & Comedian Frank Forde in our Cookery Comedy Theatre.

Corvenieo's Entertainment will add some innovative and unique visual audio to this year's event with their Comedy Chef Mascot, Juggling Stilt Walkers and Moving Robots. 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 magic with balloons and music by Mr Majestic.

This years to celebrate Heritage Week the Committee in association with The local Authority Waters Programme have planned an awareness Nature Walk along the River Bank. Recently enhanced in the hope of nurturing a feeling of protection and appreciation in children and adults for the plants and animals in this habitat. This will be conducted by Aengus Kennedy of Nature North West.

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, Butcher Magazine.

This year’s Festival opens on Friday 23rd August at 4pm. The Official Opening will take place at 7 pm and the MC for the evening will be TV3’s Star and General Manager of Harvey’s Point Country Hotel, Mr. Noel Cunningham.

Brian McDermott, author and chef-proprietor of the Foyle Hotel in Moville, will perform the Festival Opening. This will be followed immediately by our first demonstration of 2019 by Chef Gary O’Hanlon accompanied by Eoin Murphy (Entertainment Editor The Irish Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday) after which there will be a Wine Pairing Masterclass by Wine Expert & Sales Director Eoin Murphy of Wines Direct. The festival organisers are delighted to be partnered this year with Wines Direct for this Food & Wine Pairing Extravaganza at our Chefs Table.

The night will conclude with a fantastic Fireworks Display over the waters of Donegal Bay, a breathtaking event which has become a massive crowd-puller, in itself, over the last ten years!.

Mr Ernan McGettigan, on behalf of the Festival Committee said, "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, Donegal Local Development Company The Media, Volunteers and anyone who helped to bring this project to fruition."

He added, "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 2019. 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."

You can find out more by Liking the A Taste of Donegal Facebook Page just here:

and details are also available on their website at

Now you have another great reason to go to Donegal!

International Launch of Food On The Edge 2019 takes place in London

‘Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme’ Announced at London Launch.

The international launch of Food On The Edge 2019 took place this evening at Robin Gill’s newly-launched Darby’s restaurant in London. The event saw the announcement of the 2019 venue, the themes and list of speakers to date, as well as the launch of the Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme.

Food On The Edge takes place in Galway, Ireland, on Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd October 2019. The venue for this years Food On The Edge event was also announced at the London launch, as being held in NUI Galway, Galway city’s university, for the second year.

JP McMahon, founder and symposium director of Food On The Edge, said, “We are delighted to launch Food On The Edge 2019 in London this year and to use this event to announce our new Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme. Each year we receive a large number of inspirational applicants hoping to partake and speak at Food On The Edge. These applicants are very often doing wonderful things for Irish food and developing the industry in their own way. While we have limited capacity of speaking slots, we wanted to do something to acknowledge these food champions. I hope this initiative will widen the reach of the Food On The Edge and act as its legacy into the future, eventually expanding onto a global scale.”

Six people who are working to change the landscape of Irish food and are exemplifying the Food On The Edge ethos, will be selected to be the Food On The Edge Ambassadors for 2019. The Ambassadors will be invited to speak in a discussion at Food On The Edge 2019
on the work they are doing, as well as receiving a two-day ticket to Food On The Edge and a profile on the Food On The Edge website. Food On The Edge Ambassador applicants are urged to go to the Food On The Edge website HERE for more details.

Mark Anderson of Gather & Gather officially launched the Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme and discussed the profound impact Food On The Edge had on him. Mark said, “It has had a massive impact on the food team at Gather & Gather. As a group of chefs it inspired us, motivated us, and changed how we think about the future of food. It helped us to put workplace catering on the same stage as some of the most brilliant forward-thinking people in the food world, which gives us the confidence to challenge the industry today, and inspire where we want to be tomorrow.”

Signature snacks at the launch celebrated Irish food and were prepared by London-based Irish chefs. Robin Gill prepared Dooncastle Oysters cooked over coal with Connemara Seaweed, Kevin Burke served up St. Tola Goats Cheese and Pepper Barbajuans, Anna Haugh created Black Pudding wrapped in Ballymakenny Spuds with Apple Purée, Aidan McGee prepared Braised Irish Beef Scrumpet, Horseradish and Aged Parmesan, and Shauna Froydenlund made Treacle Cured and Turf Smoked Trout, Dill on Sourdough Crumpets.

Speakers at the launch included UK-based chefs and Food On The Edge supporters such as  Pierre Koffmann, Skye Gyngell, Tom Brown, Claude Bosi and Doug McMaster.

JP McMahon said “The feedback from last year’s event was so positive and the facilities and support provided by management and staff of NUI Galway meant it was a very easy decision to make. The University is so close to the city centre and as Food Education is a driving factor behind the Food On The Edge ethos, NUI Galway itself is leading the way internationally in terms of third level education, so the fit is perfect”.

JP McMahon then went on to reveal the full list of confirmed speakers to date to add to the already  impressive line-up which includes cult
chefs and stars of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, namely Brazil’s most influential chef Alex Atala of D.O.M, and New Zealand-born Ben Shewry of Attica Restaurant. Columbian chef and winner of 2017 Best Female Chef in Latin America  Leonor Espinosa of Leo Cocina y Cava will be attending as well as trailblazer Daniel Giusti, former head chef of Noma in Copenhagen, who set up Brigaid, a project which puts professional chefs into public schools to transform and rethink school food.

Australian chef Mark Best of Bistro and Netflix fame from The Final Table; Prateek Sadhu of Masque, the number five ranked restaurant in Mumbai; British-Indian chef, presenter & food writer, Romy Gill of Romy’s Kitchen in Thornbury; Irish chef Derry Clarke of Michelin Star l’Ecrivain in Dublin; and Dalad Kambhu of Michelin Star Kin Dee in Berlin are just some of the ground-breaking chefs due to speak.

Other confirmed speakers are Alan Jenkins, editor of the Observer Food Monthly; Korean-born Danish chef Kristian Baumann of Michelin Star Restaurant 108 in Copenhagen; chef, cookbook writer and activist Sophia Hoffmann of Berlin’s Café Isla Coffee; ‘Contemporary’ pizza chef Denis Lovatel of Pizzeria Ezio in the mountains of Belluno; and Brazilian chef Alberto Landgraf, of Oteque in Rio de Janeiro.

Food On The Edge 2019, the two-day programme of 15-minute talks, panel discussions, masterclasses and networking activity, with an artisan food village showcasing the best of Irish and West of Ireland food produce. The event will take place on the 21st and 22nd of October in Galway.

Early Bird Tickets for Food On The Edge are available at a reduced rate of €350 until the end of June which includes admission on both days, lunches, and entertainment on both nights. Installments plan payments are also available. Purchase Tickets Here 

Gather & Gather will be a principal partner of the event again this year, and the Food On The Edge team are delighted to announce Fáilte Ireland as a principal partner for Food On The Edge 2019. San Pellegrino, who have been on board since day one, are returning as major sponsors along with new major sponsors, Galway Bay Brewery.

For more information see Check out @FoodOnTheEdge on social media and follow the official hashtag #FOTE2019 for regular updates.

All Ireland Butchery Team determined to regain title of Best Butchers in the World

Team Ireland's Butchery Excellence Team are heading over to compete at Dalziel’s Butchers Show, in Harrogate, UK, this weekend, as part of their journey to the 2020 World Butchery Challenge.

Each team, in this weekend's competition, have just two hours and fifteen minutes to break down a range of primal meat cuts and turn them into a world class display of pre-determined products and their own creations.

Butchery Team Ireland are focused on ensuring they remain Best Butchers in the World!

Ireland is the current reigning World Champion with the Best Butchers in the World title and this nine-strong Irish team will compete at the next World Butchery Challenge which is taking place in Sacramento, California, in 2020. The team is made up with Butchers from all over the island of Ireland.

The World Butchers' Challenge will see teams of six butchers, each team representing different countries from around the world, going head to head. The butchers will have to go in front of a team of highly qualified judges, preparing innovative and creative meat products.

Leading the team is team Ireland's captain Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town.

Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town

Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town is the Team Captain

Keith is joined in the team by his uncle Liam Walsh, also from Eddie Walsh & Sons butchers in Donegal Town, who is competing following his success in the team in 2018.

Also on the team is Conor Reynolds, who recently won gold at the International Young Butcher competition in Perth and will represent the team in the young butcher category from M & W Farm Meats, Portadown Co.Armagh.

The other members of  team Ireland include:

  • vice-captain Paul Hamilton from Gary Coote Meats, Fivemiletown 
  • WBC Ireland Judge Sean McKay from McKay's Family Butchers in Ballycastle 
  • Jim Murphy from Murphy's Family Butchers, Tullow 
  • Ger O Callaghan from Drinagh Eurospar, Skibereen 
  • Bryan McNamee from B & M Meats, Newry 
  • Steven Dobson from Dunbia, Dungannon.

“Our win in 2018 was incredibly tough as the competition from across the world is extremely high, and our win was hard fought, but we don’t intend on giving up our crown." said Keith Walsh, team captain. "For the next 12 months, the team and I are focused on ensuring Team Ireland remains the Best Butchers in the World,” he added.

Team Ireland is managed by Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.

Team Ireland is managed by Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.
Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.

"Team Ireland will be demonstrating how our win in 2018 - the first year that Team Ireland competed – wasn’t down to the ‘luck of the Irish’ – it was a true reflection of the level of skill of our butchers here in NI and Ireland.” said Rhonda Montgomery.

For the next 16 months Team Ireland will be in training for the World Butchery Challenge, which is taking place in September 2020.

Wishing the Best of Success to the Irish Butchery Team!

Irish National Brown Bread Baking Competition Sponsored by Aldi, Launches for 2019

And there's up to €15,000 on offer for the overall winner!

Aldi are once again sponsoring The National Brown Bread Baking Competition, in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).

 Relaunched five years ago by the NPA, the event has proven to be a huge success, with entries from each one of the 26 counties. NPA MD Anna May Mc Hugh and ICA President Josephine Helly were joined today by Sile Seoige (MC of the competition), Emma Ferguson (2018 winner) and Eileen Brennan (NPA) to announce details of this year’s competition.

The National Brown Bread Baking competition is open to both members and non-members of the ICA, and baking enthusiasts have the opportunity to earn some serious 'dough', with a share of the profits from the sale of their winning loaf once it goes on sale in Aldi*.

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said “Given the huge popularity and success of the National Brown Bread Baking competition at Ploughing over the past four years, we are once again delighted to be renewing our partnership with Aldi and the ICA.  It is wonderful to see the long and great tradition of baking in Ireland alive and well at Ploughing.  The total attendance figures for the 2018 National Championships  came to over 240,000 and this year’s event in the new location of Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow looks set to be bigger and better than ever.”

The 2018 Aldi Brown Bread Baking Competition Winner, Emma Ferguson from County Meath

Once again this year, entering the competition will be easier than ever, and Aldi is encouraging any bakers over the age of 16 to take part to be in with a chance of seeing their bread on shelves nationwide.

Keen bakers can enter via the Aldi heats by dropping their bread off at the following locations on the following dates:

  • Aldi Ireland Head Office, Newbridge Road, Naas, Co. Kildare (12th June 2019 from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Regional Office, Limerick Road, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork (12th June 2019 from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Store, New Town Centre, Oranmore, Co. Galway (19th June from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Store, Wexford Retail Park, Clonard Little, Wexford (19th June from 10.30am – 1pm)

All entries must be clearly marked with the bakers Name, Address and contact number.

Group Buying Director, John Curtin said, "At Aldi, we are a proud supporter of Irish suppliers so we are delighted to sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition again, celebrating something as quintessentially Irish as brown bread. ‘Emma’s Brown Bread’ has proven a hit with our customers, and we hope the winner this year will achieve the same success with their brown bread. Now, we are making it easier than ever for people to enter with our regional drop off points, and so we hope to see keen bakers getting involved. At Aldi, we sell a range of great value baking essentials in our 137 stores nationwide so consumers can stock their pantries and make home baked goods all year round.”

ICA members can participate in the competition through local Guilds, with heats taking place nationwide and regional finals taking place at An Grianán, ICA Adult Education Centre on July 18th

Speaking at the launch, Josephine Helly, President of the ICA said, Our members are once again delighted to be taking part in the National Brown Bread Baking Competition to find the best Brown Bread baker in Ireland.  There has been huge interest and the winner will be generously rewarded.”

The four finalists selected from the Aldi bread drops, along with the four finalists selected through the ICA will compete at the National Finals. The National Finals will be held from 17th – 19th September at the Aldi Marquee during the 2019 National Ploughing Championships in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow.

If you think you have the recipe for success, log onto or for information on how to enter and further details about the county finals.

The winner’s brown bread will also be stocked in all Aldi Stores in Ireland for twelve months and they will receive a share of the profits, which could reach €15,000 for the year.

Also keep an eye on hashtags #AldiPloughing and #Ploughing19 on all social media platforms!


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