KINSALE GOURMET FESTIVAL CELEBRATES
FORTY YEARS OF FINE FOOD AND FUN
The Kinsale Gourmet Festival on 7-9 October 2016, marks the fortieth anniversary of this ever-popular event, and will be celebrated in high style.
The Festival is hosted by Kinsale’s ten Good Food Circle restaurants, and promises a weekend of fine food and wine in a fun atmosphere. Each restaurant works flat out to show off the talent of their chefs, whose beautifully presented food, featuring largely local ingredients from sea and land, is accompanied by carefully selected wines.
The festival will be opened by Brian Cronin, founding member of the Good Food Circle, who with his wife, Ann, established the original Blue Haven Restaurant. He will be flying in from Spain as a guest of the event, which will host many well-known personalities with close links to the Festival down the years, and several former restaurateurs.
Kinsale Good Food Circle was established back in the 1970s when half a dozen exceptional restaurants opened in Kinsale at around the same time. The owners quickly realised that in such a small town, it was more beneficial to co-operate than to compete, and formed the ad hoc marketing group, which has evolved into today’s Good Food Circle.
Familiar names hosting the fortieth Kinsale Gourmet Festival include the Blue Haven, the Man Friday and Jim Edwards. The Blue Haven, now managed by Ciaran Fitzgerald is part of the Blue Haven Group offering boutique hotel accommodation, lively bars and fine food. Man Friday has been owned and managed by Philip and Joss Horgan since 1978. At that time the Vintage Restaurant was the rising gastronomic star under the late Gerry Galvin, who moved on in 1990 to establish Drimcong House near Moycullen with his wife, Marie.
Jim Edwards is still owned by the original family, under the management of Jim and Paula’s son, Liam. The owner-chef-and-family tradition is continued at Finn’s Table, where chef John Finn’s wife Julie runs front-of-house, while the meat comes from his parent’s, Finn’s Butchers of Mitchelstown. The White House pub named the Restaurant d’Antibes to celebrate Kinsale’s twinning in 1990 with Antibes in the south of France.
The White Lady continues the gastropub theme, as does Toddies at the Bulman, while Sydney’s Brasserie at Acton’s Hotel and Pier Oneat The Trident show what a hotel restaurant can do at full throttle. There is a direct link between old times and new at Fishy Fishy: TV chef Martin Shanahan, who owns and runs this restaurant with his wife, Marie, started his career at Jim Edwards, returning to Kinsale following a stint as a seafood chef in San Francisco, to open his own place.
The Festival kicks off in style with a Laurent Perrier champagne reception at 6.30 on Friday 7 October, followed by a celebratory five-course Taste of West Cork Black-tie Dinner at Acton’s Hotel. The menu will feature locally sourced produce including seafood and shellfish caught off the coast of West Cork, locally reared beef from Kinsale’s craft butchers, and farmhouse cheese from West Cork, accompanied by wines from Christy’s Wines and C&C Gleesons. Barry Murphy will be MC on the night, and the dinner will be followed by dancing to the Paul O’Donnell Band well into the small hours.
Saturday’s Musgrave MarketPlace Mad Hatter’s Taste of Kinsale, is an escorted ‘foodie walking tour’, in a fun atmosphere, as people show off their colourful headgear and fancy dress costumes. Wine, beer and other refreshments will be supplied by Longueville Wines, Christy’s Wines, Irish Distillers, Blacks Kinsale, Stag Ban, Hop House and Stonewell Cider.
The Mad Hatters assemble at Acton’s Hotel at 11.30am for a sparkling send-off, and will meet up again at The White Lady to end the afternoon with dancing to live music from Crazy Chester.
The town is transformed into party mood, as brightly dressed participants in amazingly imaginative hats parade along the streets following Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse to four venues for a dazzling lunchtime spread of the finest food from Kinsale’s Good Food Circle restaurants. Prizes will be awarded by the Good Food Circle for hats and costumes in various categories, and featured in the Cork Independent, GFC’s media partners.
The Festival concludes on Sunday with the 4-course Fruits de Mer Spectacular , an elegant luncheon with platters of lobster, crab prawns and other delights from the sea. The drinks reception will be sponsored by Tindall Wines, while the wine for the luncheon will be sponsored by C&C Gleesons. Food sponsors include Clóna, Pallas Foods, Bewley’s, O’Connell Meats, the Good Fish Company and Haven Shellfish.
The lunch will be followed by a Charity Auction where the bidding is traditionally strong, as the generously donated prizes raise money for local charities such as the Ciara O’Brien Fund. Dial a Diamond, sponsored by Victoria’s Antiques, Cork will be a highlight.
Participating restaurants in this year’s Festival are Restaurant d’Antibes@The White House, Blue Haven, Finns’ Table, Fishy Fishy, Jim Edwards, Man Friday, Pier One@the Trident Hotel, Toddies at The Bulman, Sidney’s@Actons Hotel and The White Lady