The food and drink celebrations are in full swing after Wednesday's official launch night.
Some brand new extras have been announced for A Taste of Donegal Food Festival 2019, which will take over the Donegal Town Pier in just one month’s time.
Taking place on 23rd-25th August, the 11th annual celebration of great food and drink is set to be the “best yet”, according to Chairman Ernan McGettigan.
The official festival launch on Wednesday in the Abbey Hotel was the perfect place for the committee to reveal the newest elements of the family-friendly event.
A special award will be launched in memory of a great friend of the festival, Chef Gerard Molloy.
Mr Molloy, who was an esteemed Passion to Inspire judge, sadly passed away in January of this year. In honour of his lasting contribution to the festival, Mr Molloy’s family have sponsored a trophy to celebrate a newcomer chef or restaurant at A Taste of Donegal.
“We were sad to lose one of our judges, Gerard Molloy from New York. He will be sadly missed by all of us. He was very highly regarded in New York by the American Culinary Association,” said Ernan McGettigan as he announced the new contest.
Mr McGettigan also welcomed plans for a brand new kids’ marquee in the festival village next month. The idea, which was four years in the making, will bring children together to learn about food biodiversity, food management, waste management.
With part-funding from Donegal County Council and Tidy Towns, the 9x6m space will incorporate a bespoke kitchen from Cherrymore Kitchens for budding young chefs to work with the experts and chefs of the festival.
A Taste of Donegal attendees can look forward to another packed programme of tastings, demonstrations, local and celebrity chef appearances, expert masterclasses and much more in August 2019. Over 120 exhibitors are already lined-up to join the major event.
“This is the 11th year of the festival and we are getting stronger and stronger. This year is going to be no different,” Mr McGettigan said.
Over 150 guests attended the launch of the festival last night, where they were treated to a sparkling reception, An Dúlamán Gin, a delicious dinner and a surprise performance by the Donegal Contemporary Choir.
The committee was also delighted to announce that Donegal Town has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s Foodie Destination 2019 awards.
The committee called on all supporters of the festival and Donegal Town’s food scene to vote for them in the much-coveted awards at www.foodiedestinations.ie.
The Food Coast Donegal’s Good Food Initiative is also nominated for the award. Mr McGettigan commented that the two nominations are a great advantage for the county.
“It creates an opportunity for all of us in Donegal to focus on what we know is the best thing in Ireland – our food and our hospitality,” he said.
A Taste of Donegal 2019 was officially launched by Donegal Chef Zack Gallagher from the Irish Food Guide.
Mr Gallagher said: “The overall quality of any product in the food and hospitality industry is only as good as the ingredients used to create it.
“In this room tonight, we have some incredibly passionate people who are making, selling and promoting superb food tourism products and events like A Taste of Donegal.”
Mr Gallagher led a tribute to organisers Mary and Ernan McGettigan and the committee for their many years of dedication to the event.
“A Taste of Donegal, situated in that beautiful tented village on the pier has, since it started 11 years ago, demonstrated the potential tourism that can be created by a well-organised food event,” Mr Gallagher said.
Cllr Niamh Kennedy, Leas Cathaoirleach said that A Taste of Donegal Food Festival has become an important part of the annual calendar of events in Donegal:
“Donegal County Council is delighted to be associated with A Taste of Donegal Food Festival, that attracts large numbers of tourists to the area and generates an important economic spin off for the town and its businesses,” Cllr Kennedy said.
Mayor of Donegal Town Pauric Kennedy commended the committee for driving the festival forward to make it world famous coming into its eleventh year.
“It’s a great occasion and a great way of bringing the community together,” he said.
“It’s great to see so many exhibitors taking part and enjoying Donegal and seeing what we have available up here. It really adds to the tourism and is one of the key dates in the calendar year for Donegal.”
Make sure to add the dates of 23rd-25th August to your calendar for A Taste of Donegal 2019!
Browse the 2019 Festival Programme at: https://www.atasteofdonegal.com/2019-programme/
Check out more photos from the launch event below.