Thousands of food lovers are set to descend on Guildhall Square on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday 30 for the Slow Food Festival - a two day celebration of the best of local artisan produce from across the North West.
The event, organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council, is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the city centre each year.
The exciting programme for 2018 includes a host of music, family friendly activities, talks, demos and master classes from celebrity chefs as well as a mouth-watering selection of al fresco dining to sample or take home.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle warmly welcomed the return of the third Slow Food Festival and said he was delighted it could build on its awards for ‘NI Food and Drink Experience of the Year 2018’ from Tourism NI and ‘Best Tourism Event’ at the North West Business Awards
“I am delighted to launch the 2018 Slow Food Festival which has grown year on year and is now established as one of the key dates on the Food and Drink calendar,” he said.
“The award winning festival affords the public a unique opportunity to enjoy a weekend sampling and learning more about the story of our local food and drink offering while soaking up the family friendly atmosphere and entertainment in Guildhall Square.
“As a Council we are proud to be at the forefront of the Slow Food movement, a global, grassroots organisation that promotes the true enjoyment of good, clean and fair food with a commitment to the community and the environment.”
The centre of the action will be the festival’s Main Marquee where the public are invited to delve into an incredible natural larder ‘from Foyle to field’ and ‘plot to plate’ at the Slow Food Harvest Market that will include fayre from butchers, beekeepers, bakers and artisan makers.
Harvest Fair exhibitors will include Donegal Prime Fish, Tamnagh Foods, Abernethy Butter, Whiteoaks Acorn Organic Farm, Kennedy Bacon, Granola Goddess, Quinn’s Fudge and Corndale Farm while there will also be talks and demos from Celebrity Chefs Paula McIntyre and Aine Carlin and culinary stars from local restaurants throughout the city.
Guildhall Square will also host a wide range of street food options with Mekong Street Food, Linen Hall Street Kitchen, Scarpello, Baz & Eds and Morell’s Ice Cream all off a selection of traditional al fresco options.
The festival’s specialist beer garden will host taster sessions and offer a wide range of local craft beers and cocktails from the Walled City Brewery, Northbound Brewery, Dopey Dick, the Baronscourt Brewery Company and Muff Gin.
A wide variety of Family Fun options will include a petting farm, street animation and kid’s workshops where children can learn about where their food comes from and get hands on in a fun and interactive way.
Jennifer O’Donnell, Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said they were delighted with the high calibre of contributors and exhibitors secured for this year’s event.
“We are delighted to unveil our line-up of local artisan producers, craft brewers and talented local and celebrity chefs joining us for our award winning Slow Food Festival,” she said.
“Our region is blessed with a wide variety of award winning chefs, restaurants and quality producers and this event is the ideal way to showcase and celebrate that offering.
“We are particularly pleased to welcome the Director of Slow Food NI, Paula McIntyre, as well as acclaimed food author and blogger Chef Aine Carlin who will be performing a talk and demonstration in her home town.”
The Slow Food Festival is FREE admission and takes place in Guildhall Square on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September from 12 noon to 6pm each day.
For further information, including details of exhibitors and timetable for cookery demos and talks, musical entertainment and children’s activities visit www.derrystrabane.com/food.