fEAST Cork 2022, the East Cork Food and Drink Festival, returns this weekend after a two-year break enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The festival, which runs from Sunday, August 28 to Sunday, September 4, happens at harvest time, and promises a gathering up and bringing together of the best of what the area has to offer.
The team at East Cork, led by husband and wife duo Réidín and Kevin Aherne of Sage Restaurant in Midleton, believes that all food festivals are a good thing — that anything that gets people into their towns, villages, cities and communities to eat together is important,
“fEast is all about coming together and if there’s one thing we all missed over the last few years it was the ability to be together — opportunities to collaborate, celebrate and converse together were so few and far between,” Réidín Aherne told The Echo.
For families, the fEast Cork festival schedule offers a variety of indoor and outdoor events to keep all ages entertained.
Among the highlights of the festival are a Saturday lunch with a difference and dine alfresco while on the hunt for mischievous fairies at the Family Picnic and Fairy Trail at Castlemartyr Resort, and an evening of organic, biodynamic and natural wine-tasting with award-winning sommelier Colm McCan at The Ballymaloe Grainstore.
On Tuesday 30 August, visitors can meet the ‘Happy Holstein Herd’ at Rostellan Farm to see how their milk is produced and enjoy a tasting of their farm fresh milk and milkshakes from their self-service milk vending machine.
There are also lots of activities to enjoy on market day, the finale of this year’s festival, with a special Cully & Sully family zone with bee education, music, a visit from some of the animals from Leahy’s Open Farm, storytelling, face painting and more.
For visitors and locals who look forward to any occasion to dine out, fEast Cork definitely delivers, partnering up with some of the finest chefs, restaurants and innovators in the region.
On Monday, August 29, Ballymalloe House will host A Taste Of Ballymaloe, a tribute to their own gardeners and local producers, and head chef Dervilla O’Flynn’s dedication to seasonal farm to fork cooking.
Sea Church Ballycotton will serve up the perfect coastal combination of Ballycotton IPA and Seafood at their Surf & Turf BBQ and there’s also a chance to savour some delicious Indian cuisine in The Blackbird Ballycotton when The Field Kitchen hosts a night of Indian Cuisine with Christopher Braganza, aka The Spice Genie, recent winner of RTÉ’s Battle of The Food Trucks.
Ferrit & Lee Midleton is preparing a night of seafood to ‘feast’ your eyes upon, showcasing the best of local East Cork produce with wine pairing, carefully chosen by Jen Newman.
For those who can only venture out over the weekend, the schedule is still brimming with choice.
Chef Patryk Suchojad hosts a feast from Europe’s east at Surf & Turf, Midleton. This five-course dinner will showcase local ingredients with techniques and recipes from Patryk’s home country with influences also from his time in Cyprus and here in Ireland.
On Saturday morning you can brunch in The Courtyard Midleton as SAGE presents Hash Bash and Beats and brings back some brunch staples from the much-loved Greenroom Menu, the brunch of choice for meat lovers, veggies and vegans alike.
On Saturday, September 3, you won’t want to miss the action at Inch beach, Whitegate when Danú Wellness hosts Food for the Soul in association with Cully and Sully and Clean Coast Ballynamona.
From yoga and beach blast workouts to meditative sounds baths and talks of wild adventures, there’s something for everyone.
These and many other events lead up to the big finale on Sunday, September 4, when, from early in the morning to late in the evening, the entire town of Midleton will host a market day which includes an all-day street market, live music, local food stalls and a variety of dining and social events.
To see the full festival programme, with details on event dates, tickets and reservations, please see www.feastcork.com or follow fEast Cork on its social media channels.