The best of local, clean, fair food will be on the menu when Derry City and Strabane District Council hosts Northern Ireland’s first Slow Food Festival next month in the latest of a series of flagship culinary events celebrating NI Year of Food and Drink 2016.
The Slow Food Festival will be centred in Guildhall Square from 12noon until 6pm on Saturday, October 8th and Sunday, October 9th, supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme with assistance from Slow Food NI.
The free family-friendly event will incorporate a Slow Food Harvest Fayre, Slow Food Street Food Zone, Family Fun Zone and fringe events including a Made in Derry Slow Food Walking Tour and cycling tours around the city, tours of Butterlope Social Farm at Plumbridge by shuttle bus and an eco-tourism experience at St Columba’s Heritage Centre, which will bring to life stories of our forgotten and local foraged foods focusing on seaweeds and other edible, sustainable wild foods, their traditions, myths and cures.
Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Hilary McClintock, warmly welcomed the Council’s initiative in organising the upcoming event which will embrace the aims and objectives of Slow Food, a global, grassroots movement founded in Italy in 1989 which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. “Slow Food recognises the fact that Northern Ireland has a unique culinary heritage with indigenous breads, fish from the loughs, world class produce and progressive artisans contributing to the agri-food sector in the province,” says McClintock.
The Slow Food Festival is set to attract top NI producers such as Broighter Gold, Tamnagh Cheese, Scarpello Slow Food Company, Donegal Prime Fish, Pennyburn Playtrail, Pier 59, Baked in Belfast, Erin Grove Preserves, Red Dog Foods and more exhibitors are still to be announced.
Festival-goers will also be able to grab a bite from some of the North West’s mouth-watering creative slow food cuisine with Emmett Mc Court’s Irish Food Heritage, Lisnamulligan Farm, Hog Roast Company, Amara Dexter Beef, Coffee & Cream and Morelli’s Ice Cream all confirmed to attend.
Paula McIntyre, Director of Slow Food NI and Slow Food UK Board member, explained the Slow Food concept, noting that: “Slow food is the opposite of fast food, it’s not about slow cooking, it’s about slow production and letting things grow naturally, for example vegetables which are seasonal, hopefully organic but not always, and grown without pesticides.”
For further information on the Slow Food Festival and how to book places on the tours, visit www.derrystrabane.com/food where a copy of the programme will also be available soon.