Slow Food Ireland

What is Slow Food?
Up at the top of a Tuscan valley, there are only two eighty-year old men remaining who know how to make the local sausage, a delicacy based upon a similarly endangered breed of a hardy little red cow... This and similar scenarios led the Italian food critic and journalist Carlo Petrini in 1986 to found the Slow Food movement that went international in Paris in 1989.

Slow Food aims are first and foremost to educate people about wonderful local culinary resources in the face of the over-commercialisation, globalisation and homogenisation of our food. The Slow Food intervention involves the enlistment of young people to learn for example sausage-making techniques (see above!)... incentives for local farmers to breed and expand the shrinking herd of the rare cow... the recording of the production parameters... and assistance in seeking a wider, lucrative market, enabling the product to become self-sustaining, redounding to the benefit of consumers who are guaranteed access to the once-endangered food, the producers and the wider local socio-economy.


Click on this link to a feature on which was filmed at the Burren Slow Food Festival in May 2012

Burren Slow Food Festival 2010
Lisdoonvarna, 22 to 23 May 2010

On the hottest weekend of the year so far, the Burren Slow Food Festival 2010 took place in Lisdoonvarna. It was bigger than ever with food and crafts stall inside and outside the pavilion. The picnic benches were always busy with people enjoying the sun and sampling coffee, tea and all the delicious foods they bought at the farmers market.

See all our pictures of the 2010 Burren Slow Food Festival on our Facebook page!

Darina Allen was giving a cookery demo covering the making of drop scones, cheese scones with Burren smoked salmon and St. Tola's goats cheese and lamb kidneys. The audience also learnt how to make rhubarb and ginger jam.

And these are the other chefs who gave cookery demos on Sunday (from left to right):
Micheál McCurtin, John Sheedy from Sheedy's Country House Hotel, and Aidan McGrath from Wild Honey Inn.

Burren Slow Food Festival 2009

Lisdoonvarna, 15 to 17 May
The now annual event of the Burren Slow Food Festival took place in the Pavilion in Lisdoonvarna. You can click here for an online brochure of the event.

What a roaring success this festival was! People were flocking to the Pavilion in Lisdoonvarna long before Darina Allen delivered her passionate inaugural speech to a very attentive crowd. John McKenna (Bridgestone Guide) followed suit in his equally passionate and humorous speech about bottomless soup bowls and dangerous eating habits, among others.

The speeches took place inside the Pavilion hall which was set up with stalls full of delicious homemade cakes, breads, cookies, locally produced cheeses, quiches, honeys, jams and so much more. Outside the Pavilion was a barbecue stall, or the patrons could indulge in crepes or buy plants. It was truly amazing to see what our region had on offer! Even a café was there to allow the visitors to sit down and kick back.

People came from far to attend the festival: one man saw a flyer in a restaurant in Dublin and it enticed him to come down that weekend to his holiday home in the area to be able to go to the festival. And there was a lot to see, hear, taste and learn: apart from the informative opening speeches, there were cookery demonstrations taking place all afternoon and on Sunday, by Aidan McGrath (Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna), Donnagh Gregson (Bunratty Cookery School) and Darina Allen to name a few.

Not only did the spectators learn how to cook certain dishes and be inspired to try something new, there were also a lot of handy tips given in the process, like cooking your humble spuds with seawater. Even the kids enjoyed the demonstrations and sat on the edge of the stage, trying to get some of the salmon tastings that were passed around.

A special treat was the chocolate tasting: Natasha from Natasha's Living Foods talked about chocolate, and everybody had the opportunity to taste it as well.

On Saturday night, locally sourced evening meals were on offer in North Clare's high-class gastronomy: Sheedy's Country House Hotel, Cullinan's Seafood restaurant and Ballinalackan Castle served the best Clare has to offer, with the limelight on Gregan's Castle Hotel where a Slow Food gala dinner took place. Peter Ward from Country Choice in Nenagh, Tipperary, delivered the opening speech, and helped with the cooking.

The festival thrived on the local support not only from visitors, but also from members of the Ballyvaughan, Doolin, Kilrush and other farmer's markets. There was a tangible buzz and excitement in the air, and it was clear that people are getting more and more conscious about what they eat, where that food is coming from and how it was produced.

We are looking forward to the next festival in 2010! Hope to see you there.

Burren Slow Food Festival 2008
Lisdoonvarna, 23 to 25 May 2008

Following the spirit of the Slow Food movement, Birgitta Hedin-Curtin, the owner of the Burren Smokehouse, was organising the second Slow Food Festival (23 to 25 May 2008) in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare. This weekend festival was a treat for the whole family and all individuals who care about food. It offered a wide variety of  things to do: Each evening, there were different kinds of dinners on offer, for example a gala dinner on the Edge of The World (i.e. the Long Dock restaurant at the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre) and a Supper Theatre in the town hall. A farmers’ market and a barbecue were held around the newly renovated town hall.

A series of talks and cookery demonstrations by well-renowned food-associated celebrities like Clodagh McKenna, Aidan McGrath (Executive chef of Doonbeg Golf Club), John McKenna (Bridgestone Guide) and others took place. The visitors had the opportunity to get to know the artisan producers of the local area and the whole of Ireland who displayed their produce and talked about how they produced them. A guided walk through the Burren with a Slow Food lunch at Gregan’s Castle Hotel rounded this eventful weekend off.

It is planned to make this Slow Food Festival an annual event – something to look forward to!

For more information, please refer to Slow Food Ireland.

Clare Slow Food Convivium
Shannon Development Tourism
Local Service Providers (restaurant owners/chefs)
and local food producers