Wednesday 16 October 2019

All in the best possible taste!

Food and Wine Fair in Selskar Square -- Alan, Cora and Sinead Donaghy
Food and Wine Fair in Selskar Square -- Alan, Cora and Sinead Donaghy

Maria Pepper

Wexford's fifth annual festival of food and wine drew an estimated 10,000 people who spent up to €500,000 during the weekend.

Sunshine was a key ingredient in the huge success of the event which started humbly as a fundraiser for St. Iberius national school in 2008.

On Saturday and Sunday, the town was transformed into a buzzing outdoor market filled with tantalising sights and smells.

The Mediterranean moved to Wexford and made everyone feel like they were on holidays a thome.

The sound of licking lips was the only noise to be heard as food producers performed magic under marquees in Selskar and South Main Street , offering delicious food to eat on the spot or take home.

Familiar food rubbed shoulders with exotic dishes. There were hot dogs and hamburgers, prawns on skewers, fresh strawberries in molten chocolate, sculpted cupcakes, olive oils and chilli sauces.

Welsh producers offering traditional pasties and beef came across on the ferry and took part for the first time.

Their trip was sponsored by Stena Line which also offered a 30% Food Festival discount to passengers.

The prize for Best Food Stall went to Wexfordman and Masterchef Ireland finalist Pierce Maher and his South African wife Marilee who launched a new business venture The Pot Belly Cafe at the fair.

They served up mouth-watering pork and beef brisket as well as churros with the ethos 'slow food on the move'.

There was nothing slow about the trade they did over the weekend though.

Pierce and Marilee won a weekend for two in Kelly's Hotel which hosted a night with celebrity chef Martin Shananan on Thursday last.

The runner-up exhibitor's prize, dinner for two in Kelly's, went to Tom and Laura Sinnott of Wexford Home Preserves.

The festival's chief organiser Gary Johnston of Wexford Insurances has been inundated with text, Facebook and Twitter messages of congratulations from delighted, traders, sponsors and customers.

One of them was from the former Green Party TD Mary White who now runs Blackstairs Eco Trails.

She held a foraging trail in The Raven in Curracloe and was very pleased when 65 people turned up to take part.

Greenacres which held a cookery demonstration with chef Richie Trappe on Friday evening, has now decided to put a food stall on the street every Saturday, such was the feedback last weekend.

The original inspiration St Iberius school was not forgotten.

Wexford's own celebrity chef Phelim Byrne and singing Chef Tony Carty were assisted by clergymen Fr. Jim Fegan and Rev. Arthur Minion in a fundraising food demonstration called Heaven's Kitchen: From a Fast to A Feast at the Ferrycarrig Hotel last Wednesday night.

The event hosted by Cllr. George Lawlor, was in aid of St. Iberius and Our Lady of Fatima School.

A hog roast organised by 2nd class parents in St. Iberius, was held in Wexford Harbour Boat Club. A constant refrain over the weekend was – 'this is fantastic, why don't they do it more often?'

'The cost is just too prohibitive to do it on a regular basis, ' said Gary.

'It cost us over €25,000 and at that, we did it on a shoestring.

'We could only do it if we got more funding.'

Wexford People

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