Bringing you the Best in Artisan Food Production
- and bringing you to meet the producers
|Sally Barnes is a founder member of West Cork Food, a partnership of local food producers and providers whose aim is to encourage you to visit this beautiful part of Ireland and to taste for yourself its magnificent produce.
West Cork has a reputation as a centre of excellence for artisan food production; a reputation founded on the care, commitment and skill that the artisan producers and providers of this enticingly beautiful part of Ireland bring to all that they do.
Many of them have a lifetime’s worth of practical experience, and are more than happy to share their skill and passion with people who appreciate good food.
|West Cork Food has been created to bring the treasure-house of that experience within the reach of individuals like you, people who truly appreciate good food, how it’s produced and how it’s cooked.
During a weekend or longer, you get to meet and visit artisan producers, watch the experts at work, acquire some new skills, stay in quality accommodation and enjoy the captivating landscape and seascape of West Cork in all its diversity.
West Cork is an area served and supported by small businesses, a key element of its distinctive character. West Cork Food is itself a small, local business, and acts as a focus for the wide range of artisan producers scattered across the region so that they can provide food, cookery or gardening enthusiasts like you with a unique experience; an experience that incorporates the active participation of those producers themselves.
West Cork Food Provides:
• Breaks at specific times of the year for small groups of enthusiasts and also a capacity for groups to arrange their own preferred dates for holidays in West Cork
• A year–round presence for all participating artisan food producers, service and accommodation providers via its web site, a portal for interaction and a shop window for their products
• Food themed holidays that can be tailored to requirement and to incorporate other aspects of West Cork culture and environment, such as activities related to the natural environment, outdoor activities or music
• The opportunity for food enthusiasts to enjoy the local seasonal market, with autumn, Christmas and spring themed holidays
• Opportunities for corporate clients to arrange team building or reward short breaks
|West Cork Food also acts in partnership throughout the year with the prestigious West Cork Hotel to stage celebratory dining experiences that showcase local produce, often featuring guest chefs.
The annual Burns Night Supper in January is one such, creating a Celtic Fusion of Scottish cuisine and the best local produce complete with the piping in of the haggis, traditional toasts, songs and music. Tickets for the Supper always sell out weeks in advance.
|There is also the annual Celtic Cook Off, top-class chefs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man compete against each other in front of a live, and lively, audience. Why not book a West Cork Food short break for the week of the Cook Off and enjoy meeting the chefs, talking with artisan food producers and tasting their produce?
There’s also the special guest chef night that precedes the Cook Off night itself, last year saw the 2011 Celtic Cook Off winner, Roy Brett from Scotland, returning to create the stunning menu of his renowned Edinburgh restaurant, Ondine, for one night only at the Hotel.
About West Cork:
With its craggy coastline, small towns and scattered villages, ranges of low mountains and networks of small fields and narrow boreens, many visitors find similarities with the landscapes of Cornwall or parts of Scotland and Wales. Yet West Cork has its own unique character, it is truly ‘a place apart.’
Traditionally this is a farming community, which in turn has led to the large number of artisan cheese makers and organic growers in the area. Other speciality producers have been attracted here by the tradition of good food that has been built up and in turn contribute to the menu of savoury tastes on offer.
With its long, rocky peninsulas stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean, fishing has always been an important aspect of the economy in West Cork. More recently seaweed products are being developed, both for culinary and cosmetic use.
Local people are friendly and inviting with a laid-back attitude to life and a passion for conversation, story and music. People are attracted to live in West Cork from other parts of Ireland and many other countries; among these ‘blow-ins,’ as they are cordially known, are not only food producers with the heritage of their own gastronomic background, but skilled craft workers and talented artists and photographers.
Scenically breath-taking, West Cork is clean and green, peaceful and restful, yet the landscape never reveals all its secrets at once, that is why it is so fascinating, that is why there is always more to discover. It takes time to do that, time to stop and relax, West Cork time. Sometimes when you focus too hard on something, you miss what really matters. As the New York Times put it:
"Ireland can be that place you missed as you travelled around Ireland, looking for Ireland."
We know that essence can be found here in West Cork, along with the best in food, drink and company.