The Burren Food Fayre 2020 will go ahead as a virtual event this year. The 12-day event includes a virtual series of food demonstrations starting on 23 October, which will be streamed on Facebook.

Often referred to as the “Fertile Rock,” the Burren is home to many food producers including fish smokers, beef, dairy, sheep and oyster farmers, as well as distillers, foragers, herbalists, cheesemakers, bakers and chefs.

International stage

Jarlath O’Dwyer, CEO of Burren Ecotourism Network and organiser of the event says the fayre is an opportunity to share the local produce in the region on a national and international scale.

“We want to showcase the rich food culture we have here in the Burren and bring the recipes of our hugely successful book, Burren Dinners, alive,” he says.

Written by Trevis L. Gleason, with a foreword from Neven Maguire, Burren Dinners features recipes made from local ingredients. The book also shares the personal stories of Burren-based chefs and food producers.

Although the usual event has been compromised by COVID-19 restrictions, organisers are optimistic about the new approach they are taking to sharing what the Burren has to offer to members of the public.

“This event is particularly important this year as it brings the Burren to attendees who are unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions, as well as those who have a connection to the area. It means we are still able to offer a taste of the Burren in a safe and responsible way,” says Jarlath.

Quality local produce

“We’re trying to keep the Burren alive at the moment and keep our food producers in people’s minds,” says Julie Carr, marketing manager at Burren Ecotourism.

“We want people to see the variety of different products on offer in the Burren and showcase the top-quality, local produce that is available,” she added.

Over the course of the Burren Food Fayre, each chef and food producer involved will provide a 20 minute online demonstration. These videos will be available on the Burren Food Fayre's Facebook page every evening at 7pm.

“It is a great opportunity for attendees to tune in and learn the recipes from the book and get expert tips and advice from chefs, producers and growers in the Burren,” says Jarlath.

Culinary experts

Those taking part in the demonstrations include head chef Robbie McAuley from Gregan’s Castle hotel, John Gilmartin from Hotel Doolin, Birgitta Curtin from the Burren Smokehouse, Siobhán Ní Ghairbhith from St Tola Goats Cheese, Oonagh O’Dwyer from Wild Kitchen and Ciara O’Halloran from Flaggy Shore Oysters.

Through their collaboration with Tourism Ireland, organisers are hoping they will extend their social media reach and have worldwide audience.

“We are hoping to reach a bigger audience on the social media platforms and also to give more people a chance to see some of our well known chefs, producers, cheesemakers, foragers and bakers in action. If people like what they see, when it is safe to travel again they can visit the Burren and taste the foods in person,” concluded Jarlath.

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