Cantillon calls for Cork to host big events every six weeks

Cantillon calls for Cork to host big events every six weeks

Ernest Cantillon, Keith O’Sullivan, and Barry Fitzgerald at the launch last year of the Cork Whiskey Festival.

Cork city should have a big event every six weeks publican and businessman Ernest Cantillon has said.

He was speaking in the lead-up to his fourth food and drink event in Cork: The Dessert Festival.

Mr Cantillon has founded FestivalCork.com, which organises events in the city and county, to showcase the finer elements of what Cork has to offer.

The organisation was set up to compete with Dublin and Galway in terms of celebrating Cork food and drink and the produce available in the city.

“Places like Dublin and Galway have a number of events and I felt we were not offering enough competition.

“We have a great reputation for our raw ingredients like the produce in the English Market, but not such a great reputation for what we do with them.”

The Whiskey Festival was one of the first food and drink festivals he helped organise.

“The Whiskey Festival was a great success, there were 40 venues involved and whiskeys from all over the world as well as local whiskey.

“We had a lot of people coming down from Dublin and that is a good start.” 

Following the Whiskey Festival was Taste Cork Week in October. Joining forces with Rebecca O’Keeffe from Taste Cork, Ernest was able to get a wide variety of people involved.

High on the success of Cork Taste, Ernest turned his attention to the most depressing month of the year, January.

“January is a tough month. It can be very boring, so we wanted to do something fun.

“We thought about it and we realised people did not have a lot of money for fine dining after Christmas so we picked something affordable: Burgers."

40 venues were involved in the Cork Burger Festival and competitions were run for the best burger and best event.

“All these festivals are a series of small events. It is a lot of work, but I am not alone. We employ 120 people across our businesses and there is a good skillset there," he said.

Mr Cantillon's next event is the inaugural Dessert Festival taking place on July 26 - July 2.

The celebration of all things sugary and sweet will be taking place in 31 venues across the city with a number of unique products on sale including beer floats at the Franciscan Well and a giant Sundae at Casanova Gelato.

The week will culminate with a ‘Cake Club’ at Electric on July 2.

The free charity event, which will be raising money for the children’s ward at Cork’s University Hospital, will have 40-50 cakes baked by amateur bakers on display for those with a sweet tooth to try.

Looking to the future, Ernest is planning on organising another event the week before the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival on October 17-30.

"We are setting up a festival called ‘Taste meets Jazz’ there will be jazz bands and food events. Diageo are involved."

“Like all the festivals, it will be very community orientated."

For more information about The Dessert Festival visit: www.festivalcork.com

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