Chocs away!


The Hans Sloane Festival in Co Down this September is a must for chocolate lovers

THIS Sunday, September 23 Sir Hans Sloane returns to his birthplace Killyleagh, County Down for the second Sloane 350 Chocolate and Fine Food Festival at Killyleagh Castle, with some of his medicinal compound – milk chocolate.

Sir Hans Sloane (a.k.a. local author and historian Clive Scoular) will be on hand throughout the afternoon to welcome everyone, and answer questions about the man’s life and legacy. He will sample a few delicacies from the chocolatiers and fine food vendors and pose for photographs in front of the Castle where he received his education.

The day will be jam-packed with fun and fine food, with a grand marquee on the front lawn filled with the finest food producers in the Co Down area and a selection of the best chocolatiers in Ireland. Visitors can browse the many stalls, taste, nibble and buy from a wonderful array of goodies.

With the support of Good Food NI and the NITB there will be a dedicated Demonstration Kitchen for foodies to watch the experts and pick up tips and recipes. Cooking are Danny Miller of Balloo House (12-1pm); Liz Moore of Liz Moore Cooks (1-2pm); The Belfast Cookery School (2-3pm);Glassdrumman Cookery School(3-4pm) and Niall McKenna ofJames Street South(4-5pm).

It will also be a great free day out for the children with a Climbing Wall and Archery Area just outside the castle front door. On the lawn throughout the day there will be Stilt Walkers, Clown and Jugglers and children will be invited to take part in the Circus Schools and be part of the Circus Samba Band.

Hans Sloane
Hans Sloane

During the afternoon there will be a special ‘come and play’ musical session with the Silver Fish Band offering the chance for all the kids to play musical instruments. There will also be an outdoor Stage Show and the Chocolate Dance Workshop.

Sir Hans Sloane (16 April 1660 – 11 January 1753) was a British physician and collector of Irish birth, notable for bequeathing his collection to the nation, providing the foundation of the British Museum, and giving his name to streets such as Hans Crescent and Sloane Square in London.

Sloane was born at Killyleagh in County Down, Ireland, hence the chocolate festival in his name. Sloane encountered cocoa while in Jamaica, where locals drank it mixed with water, which he is reported to have found nauseating.

However, he devised a means of mixing it with milk to make it more pleasant and when he returned to Britain, brought his chocolate recipe back with him. Initially, it was manufactured and sold by apothecaries as a medicine, but by the nineteenth century, the Cadbury Brothers sold tins of Sloane’s drinking chocolate.

Adult admission is £2.50 with accompanied children free. Killyleagh Castle Gates will open at 12noon and close at 6pm. See





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