Serving up for Savour! Perfecting their whisking skills for Savour Kilkenny – Festival of Food is Jill (9), Jack (5) and Senan Dempsey (8) at Kilkenny Castle Picture Dylan Vaughan
Over 30,000 visitors are expected for this year’s Savour Kilkenny – Festival of Food 2017. The number of exhibitors has grown six-fold since the festival began in 2006. From just 15 stallholders there are now over 100, making Savour Kilkenny one of Ireland’s largest and most popular food festival’s.
Savour Kilkenny from October 27 to 30, will host a festival of firsts this year with new events, new venues across the county, new producers and some of Ireland’s best-known personalities making their cookery demonstration debuts in Kilkenny. Festivities will be held by Kilkenny Castle and throughout the city, with the finale in Thomastown for the first time. With over 100 events, mostly free, and 100 stallholders Savour Kilkenny 2017 features a packed programme for all ages.
This year adds a second chef demo stage on the city’s Parade. Chefs making their festival debut include MasterChef Winner and Olympic sprinter, David Gillick; actor and Celebrity MasterChef finalist, Simon Delaney; food and travel blogging duo, The Gastro Gays and Oliver Dunne of Bon Appétit, Ireland’s youngest chef to receive a Michelin star. The festival also welcomes national treasure and Chairperson of the National Ploughing Association, Anna May McHugh, demonstrating delicious favourites and talking about her incredible life experiences with TV Chef, Edward Hayden. Festival favourites Neven Maguire, Rory O’ Connell, The Happy Pear, River Cottage’s Steven Lamb and Stuart O’ Keeffe are back by popular demand.
Darina Allen will also feature this year taking part in a new addition to the programme – ‘Fats: Facts & Fictions’ at Highbank Orchards and Distillery. This evening promises a lively discussion on the role of fats in our diet featuring Ben Colchester who makes Ireland and the UK’s only organic rape seed oil and Karen Cryan, Ireland’s first and only olive oil sommelier.
Kilkenny’s new Medieval Mile Museum presents A Medieval Food and Craft Village giving a ‘step-back in time’ glimpse into medieval food and craft making. Festival visitors can also enjoy a Gunpowder Gin Mixology Class at The Wine Centre, a Mushroom Hunt at Castlecomer Discovery Park, Agri-Aware’s Mobile Farm, food meets science with ‘Foodoppi’ Molecular Gastronomy Demonstration for children, an action packed programme for children and families, and lot’s more.
Another exciting addition is a brand new Savour Kilkenny Taster Trail. Presented by Pallas Foods, visitors can taste their way across the city while Taste Kilkenny Food Producers Association will launch its first ‘Hero Buyer Award’ to honour buyers’ commitment to buying local. Renowned food writer, John McKenna will interview some of the ‘fishwives’ who contributed recipes to Mag Kirwan’s award-winning ‘Fishwives’ recipe book. This exciting event will be held in Harper’s Restaurant with a cookery demonstration by acclaimed Japanese Chef Takashi Miyazaki.
The largest Craft Brewers and Distillers Pavilion yet is set to be one of the most popular attractions with DJ beats and an array of craft beers, ciders and spirits from across Ireland, including Kilkenny’s Highbank Orchard Gin, a Wine Makers Tasting Table and local craft brewers O’ Hara’s Brewery, Costello’s and Sullivan’s Brewing Company. Ballykeefe Distillery will also premiere at the festival with master-distiller, Jamie Baggot, giving an exclusive insight into how he started growing with the humble potato which now makes his ‘Best Gin in the World’ as awarded in San Francisco last year.
The city’s new and most popular restaurants will also host special events – including the Michelin starred Lady Helen Restaurant at Mount Juliet and new openings Butler House and Gardens ‘Tea Rooms’ and Kernal Bar and Kitchen.