PHOTO GALLERY 1: Waterford Harvest Festival brings taste bud tingling foodie fun to the city

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WATERFORD was a fusion of food and fun as the city centre played host to the 10th annual Waterford Harvest Festival last weekend. 

Events kicked off early on Friday with the Baby HQ LiveWell Day, followed by the LEO Love Local lunch, Glanbia Sports Nutrition talk, Deise Hurlers Cook-off, Bread is Gold workshop, Just Desserts at La Boheme and Mezze pop-up at Garter Lane.

The city was teeming with food and craft fairs, festival markets, sparkling lunches, foraging, health and wellness sessions, chef collaborations, food trails, feasts and live music.

Despite a rather damp and blustery Saturday, visitors took to Arundel Square, John Robert’s Square, along Waterford’s Cultural quarter and up to Ballybricken to sample the very best of local produce in the dozens of food and craft stalls at the festival markets, popped into the many cookery demonstrations and cook-offs, enjoyed the craft beer and gin trails, tried their hands at cocktail making and met the makers along the way.

Harvest Festival director, Tommie Ryan was delighted to wrap up yet another success festival. “Once again, it was an exciting programme to work on.  While the start to Saturday was a little inclement, the rain stayed away for the remainder of the weekend and visitors to the festival got the opportunity to graze their way through the city.

“The calibre of events was well received and moving the festival into the heart of the city centre and along the Cultural Quarter seemed to work well.  I think it gave the festival a more intimate feel, while still having a broad and appealing range of events for food lovers, fun lovers and families. It’s quite an eclectic programme, and while food is at the very heart of it, it’s fused with fun, engagement and the chance to learn more about the fantastic food and drink producers in the region.

“The festival markets are always a great draw as visitors can chat with the producers and find out more about the products they are taking home.  The restaurants, once again, pulled out all the stops to create unique quality dining events. Waterford restaurateurs and chefs are quite ingenious when it comes to putting together stand-out dining experiences for their customers,” Tommie said.

In addition to the exciting restaurant events, some of Munster’s top chefs demonstrated their skills in producing great dishes using local produce during the Dawn Meats Festival demos in John Roberts Square.  Food The Waterford Way showcased the produce of its award-winning producers, The GastroGays drew a full house at Walsh’s Bakehouse as they combined Scandinavian flavours, local produce and of course the ubiquitous blaa to create a feast fit for a Viking, and GIY produced a packed line-up of food photography and styling workshops, cottage market collectives and GROW COOK EAT workshops.

Ballybricken of yore was brought to life with the Ballybricken Fair. The Green bustled with birds of prey, shire horses, reptiles and farm animals at Agri Aware’s mobile farm, while Junior HQ provided the younger harvesters with the tools and advice to sow and grow, try their hand at acting and drama.  Garter Lane laid on a packed programme of poetry, theatre and film for those looking for something a little more artistic.

“The festival markets that skated from Arundel Square down to O’Connell Street did a brisk trade as visitors grazed their way through the Cultural Quarter.  And the Apple Market proved itself the perfect setting for the StreetFeast as local restaurants put on a sumptuous Harvest feast.

“While the festival thrives on the locals and visitors to the city who come along over the three days and support the producers, traders, restaurants and cafes, we are indebted to our sponsors, in particular, Waterford City and County Council, Dawn Meats, Glanbia, Sanofi, Se2 and Handheld.ie for providing the support to help it grow and hopefully continue for another ten years,” Tommie added.