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Michelin-star chefs cook up a feast in the Burren

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Chef John Sheedy

The rising popularity of the Slow Food movement in Ireland will be demonstrated in County Clare this week when Michelin Star chefs and food producers come together once again for the Burren Slow Food Festival 2015.

Supported by the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, the highlight of the festival is the weekend gathering in the Lisdoonvarna Pavilion on the weekend 23rd-24th May, with daily food events taking place from May 16th at various locations throughout the Burren.

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Land and Sea’, which will be the central focus of a cookery demonstration hosted by Michelin Star chefs Derry Clarke of L’Ecrivain, JP Mc Mahon of Aniar in Galway and Ross Lewis of Chapter One. Using local ingredients Burren Beef & Lamb and New Quay Lobsters & Crab, the chefs will highlight the range and quality of local food produce available in the Burren.

Other highlights in Lisdoonvarna include a talk by Sally and John McKenna of McKennas’ Guides (formerly The Bridgestone Guide), a Food Producers Forum, a guided walk outlining the history of family farming in the Burren, a Wild Food Foraging Walk, a Farmers Market, a Food History Lunch focusing on the history of food preservation in Ireland, and a family Grow It Yourself (GIY) Demonstration and workshop.

Now in its 9th year, the Festival extends for the first time over a full week, from May 16th-24th.  In partnership with the Burren Food Trail, the extended Burren Slow Food Festival in 2015 will feature 3 food events per day at various locations around the Burren such as Tubber, the Cliffs of Moher, Ballyvaughan, Inagh, Doolin, Aillwee Cave and Fanore where each morning the public can meet a producer of the trail and uncover the secrets and history of food production in the region, as well as meet the providers each afternoon and sample one of the many evening dining experiences in the Burren. The week is rounded off with the flagship weekend taking place in Lisdoonvarna Pavilion Theatre.

Other festival participants include local award winning chefs John Sheedy and Aidan McGrath, Richard Donnelly of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), UCC-based food historian and food writer Regina Sexton, Lamb Producer Donal Monaghan, Erik Robson from the Ely Restaurant Group, Craft Butcher Neil Hawes, Oonagh O’Dwyer from Wild Kitchen, Kasia Connolly of Hazel Mountain Chocolates, Master Brewer Peter Curtin and Thomas Galvin of Moyasta Oysters.

“Slow Food is all about finding and enjoying the very best and freshest local food,” said Birgitta Hedin-Curtin, founder member of Slow Food Clare and the Burren Slow Food Festival.

Ms. Hedin-Curtin, who recently received a prestigious Irish Food Writers Guild Award for her ‘Notable Contribution to Irish Food’, added: “Our festival aims to promote the Slow Food cooking method enabling members of the public to rediscover the flavours and savours of regional cooking. By doing so, we also hope to showcase the Burren’s established local producer and supplier network and how it is utilised and promoted by local businesses.”

“This is the first time the festival has extended to a weeklong event and we are looking forward to hosting locals and visitors right around the Burren region, highlighting the breadth and scale of activity ongoing in the Burren as well as the prospering local food tourism sector,” she concluded.

“The Burren Food Trail is delighted to support the Burren Slow Food Festival.  The pioneering work of Birgitta and Slow Food Clare over the past decade has raised the profile of slow and sustainable food, which is fast becoming the hallmark of what we offer in the Burren” commented Tina O’Dwyer, Burren Food Trail Co-ordinator.

“This Festival provides a platform for all Burren food producers to showcase themselves to the local community and tourists alike, while at the same time having an opportunity learn from the experiences of industry experts from outside the region,” said Ms. O’Dwyer.

Visit http://www.slowfoodclare.com of Facebook (slowfoodclare) for more on the Burren Slow Food Week Festival 2015.

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