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West of Ireland food writer Anne Marie Carroll introduces the 2017 Galway Food Festival, a celebration of ‘Community and Food’ to be held over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend
If you’re looking for inspiration this Easter weekend, then Galway - and the 6th annual Galway Food Festival - is the place to be. Celebrating the relationship between ‘Food and Community’, this year’s theme focuses on Galway’s 21st century cultural identity through food and - through the involvement of food producers, suppliers and outlets located along the western seaboard, and in the festival’s markets and events programme - the festival aims to build on Galway’s growing reputation as the Food Capital of the Wild Atlantic Way.
And, with Galway having the honour of being selected as the European Region of Gastronomy in 2018, the Festival will build on Galway’s food story and the important role that food tourism will play throughout the entire West coast.
Exploring the theme of ‘Community and Food’, a stimulating programme of over 100 food-based events will celebrate the importance of sharing food together to promote a healthy community that starts in the home.
Through an extensive programme of talks, workshops, tours and in-house events, the festival will encourage people to reconnect with where their food comes from, tapping back into our knowledge of what nature can provide for us.
Aiming to unite the diverse communities and groups that exist within Galway City and County, the festival will explore their relationship with food and their cultures of sharing food together. Communities will include new immigrants, sports, schools and youth groups, also the restaurant and food community. It aims to highlight the strength among the Galway food community and the contribution to Galway food.
Festival events will include the pairing of diverse community groups with leading chefs, working together in creating a healthier and happier life through good food. Sports teams will visit community gardens to learn about healthy eating; immigrant communities living in Galway will come together to share their food culture; different sectors within the food industry will be challenged to work together; and there will be a massive ‘Community pot luck’ - a tradition where families or guests bring a cultural dish from their particular country of origin and it is shared among the community.
Galway Food Festival and Slow Food Galway will collaborate on My Grannie’s Recipes, inviting the public to explore food with your Grandmother (or Grandfather, Aunt, Uncle or Parent). Young people are encouraged talk to their grandparents or other family members about food, and ask them questions about what they liked to eat when they were young, what historical family food stories they may have, and traditional recipes that have been passed down through generations.
The 10 best entries will be invited to showcase their recipes and a dish at The Kitchen Restaurant in Galway City Museum on Good Friday. The winner and runner-up will win a cookery demo with one of Galway’s top chefs for themselves and their class.
Breaking Bread, a community driven event, will bring together various cultural, religious, sporting and special interest groups to share food, stories and ideas. The event will be hosted by Galway Food Festival in conjunction with Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture; it hopes to create a legacy of community inclusion and collaboration, and will include a charity food drive.
The Festival will also initiate The 5-Day Week Challenge, a campaign challenging families to share five meals together each week, in partnership with ALIVE charity, promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
The challenge will highlight the numerous benefits of sharing food in terms of food education, life skills, an enjoyable way of communicating and sharing stories with family at the table while discussing the issues of the day that might be present.
Visitors can once again savour the many foods available at the open air markets and Festival Village at Fish Market Square, Spanish Arch. Additional events will include an extended food trail, the ever popular talks at Druid’s Mick Lally Theatre, the ‘Made in Galway’ demo tent and an expansion of the eclectic programme of Food Tours.
There will be lots of in-house events that will include exciting pop ups, cocktail classes, wine and whiskey tastings and a comprehensive schedule of talks on a range of topical issues within the food and drinks industry.
Over 70,000 people attended events at last year’s festival, which drew huge interest among the national and local media and a resulted in a marked increase in the number of domestic and international visitors who travelled to Galway specifically for the festival. Festival applications are open until Friday, 24 February.
Markets interested in participating can email firstname.lastname@example.org Festival participants (restaurants, bars, cafes and food retailers) can contact email@example.com
6th annual Galway Food Festival, Easter Weekend, 13th -17th April 2017 For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or view Festival 2016 video footage, photographs and regular Festival 2017 updates at www.galwayfoodfestival.com
Anne Marie Carroll is a freelance food writer and member of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild who lives in Galway with her husband and two children.
With a background in design and illustration, Anne Marie made the switch to journalism with a regular food and wine column in The Galway Advertiser. Her work now mainly focuses on restaurant reviews, writing and editing recipes, the development of food photo shoots, including styling and photography. She also writes for a number of other publications and works as a consultant for small producers, food retailers and restaurants.
Anne Marie writes about all things food from the West of Ireland at her blog, Warm & Snug & Fat. You can also find her on twitter as @Biscuits4ABear