Handmade fudge and chocolates, sourdough bread and goat burgers will be among the fantastic fare on offer in Derry this St Patrick’s weekend during the 2014 LegenDerry Food Festival.
Sponsored by the DARD NI Regional Food Programme, Invest NI and the City of Culture Legacy programme, the festival will take place from Saturday 15th until Monday 17th of March. Guildhall Square will be filled with mouth watering aromas drifting from the immense marquee which will house a feast of local produce given the star treatment by some of the biggest names in Irish cooking, and the very best local chefs. The event is organised by Derry City Council with support from Food NI.
The city’s Mayor, Councillor Martin Reilly, said the festival was a fantastic addition to the St Patrick’s weekend festivities. “The North West has always enjoyed the finest produce and the LegenDerry Food Festival provides the ideal opportunity to sample and celebrate some of the finest food available right on our doorstep.
“Food tourism is a massive industry and with such fantastic resources and great emerging talent in our restaurant kitchens, we should all support the local producers and chefs endeavouring to put Derry on the food map. I would encourage everyone to come along and enjoy a delicious and entertaining culinary day out.”
From RTE’s Nevin Maguire to BBC Radio Ulster’s Paula McIntyre, there’ll be demos and tastings aplenty. Compere Brian McDermott aka ‘The No Salt Chef’ will be introducing chefs from Derry who will be sharing recipes and staging live cook offs throughout the weekend. Seven local producers will also be showcasing a range of quality regional produce, including Broughgammon Farm’s cabrito burritos made with meat reared near Ballycastle, as well as a wide range of handmade baked goods.
Among the local talents revealing the secrets of their signature dishes will be chefs from La Sosta, Browns, The Sooty Olive, The Custom House, Harry’s, Primrose Café and many more. Irish Chef of the Year 2013, Ian Orr, will talk about the importance of local supply and celebrity chefs will share their insider tips. There will be many opportunities to try and buy some of the finest local products, including award-winning delights like Abernethy Butter, Broighter Gold rapeseed oil, Passion Preserved chutneys and relishes and Braemar Farm ice-cream, as well as a whole host of freshly prepared dishes.
Event organiser Mary Blake said the festival was simply a celebration of the best local food. “With themes from ‘caught here not brought here’ and ‘grown here not flown here’, the focus really is on local food,” she emphasised. “We’ve got great taste in Derry, and LegenDerry produce on offer from farm to fork.
“Many of our restaurants are continually raising standards and monitoring the latest in culinary trends, so this event promises to be a foodies’ paradise. Food Tourism is key to Derry and the second highest area of visitor spends. Out-of-state visitors to NI spend over a third of their money on food and drink and make a massive contribution to the NI food and drink industry. In fact, while the food service sector was worth an estimated £1.52 billion in 2011, food tourism has been one of the driving forces helping this sector to return to growth.”
During the festival, nutritionist Jane McClenaghan will be giving a talk and signing copies of her new cookbook and local chef Emmet McCourt will also be there with his new book Feast or Famine, charting the fascinating food history of the North West. Street food is also a growing trend and Tricycle Trading’s and Pyke and Pommes sweet and savoury offerings are sure to please.
We can’t promise good weather, but we can promise great foodie fun this St Patrick’s weekend.