Highbank in Kilkenny attracts tours from multinationals

Highbank in Kilkenny attracts tours from multinationals
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Multinational IT companies are now flying their staff to Ireland for a tour of an organic Kilkenny farm, whose products will be showcased at the second annual Bite Food Festival in the RDS between November 18-20.

Over 20,000 people are expected to attend the Bite 2016, which will showcase the best of Ireland’s artisan food and drink producers to huge audiences in the run-up to the Christmas season.

The multiple award-winning products of Highbank Orchards including Ireland’s first single-estate apple gin, vodka and liqueur, from the country’s smallest distillery is set to cause a stir at the event.

It’s over 25 years since Rod and Julie Calder-Potts raised a few eyebrows when they decided to start farming organically, and now they are accommodating hundreds of tourists as well as international companies who want the experience.

“When we first started, a lot of people couldn’t believe that we would be able to grow apple trees organically,” said Julie

“Thankfully nowadays the benefits of organic farming are well-documented and, to compliment this, there has been a growing shift to agri-business tourism.

“This year alone, Highbank Orchards has given visitors from ten different countries, including the US, Israel, China, Germany and Sweden, a taste tour of the farm.

“I’ve taken calls from well-known IT companies in California, and companies to book in their employees for briefings or just visits, while one group from Italy came solely to Ireland to visit organic farms.

“We show them around our historically rich farm and distillery which dates back to the 17th century and we give them a tasting of our syrup as well as the alcoholic spirits and a non-alcoholic Driver’s Cider.”

Presented by the organisers of the National Crafts and Design Fair, this year’s Festival will feature a range of winners from the Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, the biggest competition for quality Irish produce.

Bite 2016 will also feature top chefs and food experts as well as a huge range of producers, who are there to sell, sample and educate people about their unique products.

Presented by the organisers of the National Crafts and Design Fair, the Festival’s Main Stage at Bite 2016 will feature a superb menu of many of the country’s top chefs and food producers demonstrating interesting ways to cook with the best of Ireland’s artisan food products.

Bite 2016 will feature an array of wine, beer and spirits demonstrations at the Drinks Masterclass, with experts on wine, spirits, coffee brewing, cocktail and smoothie making and vegetable juicing amongst others.

There will be a large amount of artisan food and drink options to eat at the Festival, ranging from Caffe Comino’s authentic Lazio region Italian artisan food to Klaw Crabshack Dining’s wonderful seafood cocktail bar, endless tasting and samples and an imaginative pairing partnership between Corleggy Cheese and French Wines which will see any choice from either matched with a perfect accompaniment.

There will also be free cooking classes led by Cook’s Academy which will allow Festivalgoers to get creative in the Hands-On Kitchen, with special classes for children on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Bite 2016 takes place at the RDS Main Hall from November 18-20.

For a full timetable of free events on the main stage, drinks masterclass and hands on kitchen, please see www.bitefoodfestival.ie.