Monday, April 23, 2012

Waterford Festival of Food

I had the pleasure of attending the Waterford Festival of Food last weekend for the first time and it didn't disappoint! The festival programme was jam packed with tons of events for foodies and non-foodies alike. Some of the events were ticket only and all were very reasonably priced, there were also lots of free events on offer too. We attended the bar-b-que in Lawlors Hotel on the Friday night and for €20 we had a delicious big plate full of fresh local pork, lamb and chicken. It was slow cooked over a large bbq and served with beautiful salads and finished off with scoops of local farmers ice cream and tasty hot brownies! As the dance floor became packed we made a quick exit and hit my favourite bar in Dungarvan, Merrys Gastropub. There was great craic in Merrys and we heard all the news from people spilling in from across the road in The Tannery (my favourite restaurant in Dungarvan) where Michelin Star Chef Angela Hartnett was guest Chef for the evening.

On Saturday we had booked ourslves on the 'Bia Bus' tour which was a fantastic experience. We all piled on to our minibus where a local school teacher was our tour guide for the day. He was full of really interesting stories about the many townlands we passed through as we headed through the beautiful scenery of West Waterford and along the Blackwater river. Our first stop was Eamon Lanergons farm where he produces Knockanore Irish Farmhouse Cheese. We got to meet Eamon as he brought us on a tour of his cheese making facility and we leant all about the history of his farm which finished with an opportunity to taste the wonderful cheese he produced in his farm. My favourite was his Oakwood Smoked Semi Soft Cheese. From there we headed to a neighbouring farm ran by Thomas Baldwin where he produces Baldwins Farmhouse Icecream. Even though it was a cold day, we couldn't resist the tub of tiramisu ice cream Thomas gifted us on our departure form his farm and it was fabulous! The final stop on the Bia Bus Tour was at Lismore, a really beautiful heritage town overlooked by the beautiful Lismore Castle. After a stroll around the small farmers market we had a well deserved cup of tea in the local tea rooms before our bus took us back to Dungarvan. We really enjoyed the bus tour and I even had the pleasure of meeting fellow blogger,the lovely Ailbhe from  www.simplysplendiferous.com

Saturday night we attended the most unique and exciting event of the weekend, The Pop Up Restaurant in the local Civic Offices. The event was called 'The Brewer, The Baker, The Blogger' and was ran by three local Dungarvan ladies;Claire Dalton (Dungarvan Brewing Company), Eunice Power (Cooking for You) and Niamh Shields (Eat Like a Girl). They transfomed the atrium of the civic offices into a top notch restaurant and I have to admit that the food was better than a lot of restaurants I've eaten here in Dublin. My favourite was the duck terrine starter (above) and I also loved Niamh Shields bacon jam. For main course I had a beautiful monkfish and mussels dish and I finished off the meal with a scrumptious chocolate mousse. The evening was a great success and we really enjoyed all of the fantastic food, wine, local beer and entertainment.

Sunday saw the main event of the festival as the town square was turned into a wonderful Farmers Market displaying all the best produce Waterford and the surrounding area has to offer. It was by far the best and laregst farmers market I have been to in Ireland and what made it special was that every single stand had high quality local produce on offer. We came away with tons of goodies, including local honey, chutneys, cheeses, pork produce and eggs. We were entertained througout the afternoon by local musicians as we made our way through all of the stalls tasting the produce on offer.

I am a regular visitor to Waterford but this was my first time at The Waterford Festival of Food and I have to say it was one of my most enjoyable weekends away in a long time. The festival was really well organised and it had a very local feel to it. I got to see parts of Waterford on the Bia Bus tour that I hadn't previously seen and as always Waterford never fails to surprise me with its diverse beauty. I can safely say that The Waterford Festival of Food will be an annual event for me and I am looking forward to 2013 already!     

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paula, great meeting you over the weekend. That was my second WFF and my second Bus Bia tour which I agree is a fantastic way to see parts of the pretty countryside around Dungarvan and meet local producers. Hope you've recovered from the weekend. Took me a few days!

    ReplyDelete