This year’s Taste of Donegal Food Festival was always going to be special as the event marked its tenth birthday.
But organisers are absolutely delighted that once again, more than 25,000 people came through the doors of the marquees on the pier in Donegal Town over the three days.
Committee member Mary McGettigan said: “Given that the Pope was in Ireland that weekend and also that the weather wasn’t great, we are over the moon with the turnout.
“This year’s festival was a big milestone. Little did we know when we started out with 30 stands and 3,000 visitors that ten years on we would be looking at 130 stands and more than 25,000 visitors today. Thank you to everyone who has helped make A Taste of Donegal what it is today.”
The festival has become one of the biggest and best known in the country among producers and food lovers alike. This is really remarkable given that it is run on an entirely voluntary basis by the organisers who began A Taste Of Donegal as a way of promoting the town and its local food producers.
It really is testament to the hard-working committee and the team of volunteers that an event of this scale is run so successfully year after year. It contributes massively to the local economy and is a great late summer boost for the hospitality and retail sectors.
The stand-holders too make a huge difference, and not just by their array of goods.
“Everyone makes a big effort and that contributes to the atmosphere,” said Mrs McGettigan. “I would like to commend this year’s Best Produce winner Kwanghi Chan with his range of Chan Chan Sauce and also the Most Attractive Stand winner, Sliabh Liag Distillery with Dúlaman gin.”
Mr Chan is a renowned chef who was born in Hong Kong but raised in Buncrana. His deslicious range of Chan Chan sauces combine elements of Mr Chan’s Irish and Chinese heritage. The sauces are created in the south east Asia tradition. They are based on miso paste made using Japanese kombu seaweed farmed on Irish Atlantic shores. The sauces which also include ingredients such as chilli, lime and Irish kelp were a huge hit at the festival.
Locally farmed seaweed is also a feature in Dúlaman gin. Distilled in Carrick using Dúlaman seaweed, this unique Donegal gin is part of the Sliabh Liag Distillery company. And it is fast becoming a familiar sight in bars and restaurants not just in Donegal but around the world. As well as having a stand throughout the weekend, Sliabh Liag distillery held a gin masterclass. This went down very well with festival goers.
All in all, the tenth anniversary festival was a resounding success. And once the marquees come down, the organisers can enjoy a well deserved rest.
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