The Old Butter Roads Food Festival 2019 (May 24th to June 1st) returns for the third year running and, this time, the flagship event will be the Old Butter Roads Food Festival (May 24-26) taking place over two days in the award-winning O’Mahony’s Gastropub & Courtyard, in Watergrasshill, where food writer Joe McNamee’s Grub Circus curates and hosts a family-friendly programme of fun food-related events for all ages as well as assembling a range of top guest speakers and contributors including Irish food legend Darina Allen, for the Old Butter Roads Food Symposium. As always, The Old Butter Roads Food Festival 2019 will showcase the splendid food produce, hospitality venues and tourism and leisure activities to be found along the trails of Cork’s historical Old Butter Roads region and delivered by the members of the Old Butter Roads Food Trails network.
THE OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD FESTIVAL 2019 PROGRAMME
The festival kicks off on the Friday night (May 24th) in O’Mahony’s gastro-pub, in Watergrasshill—freshly crowned as Best Gastropub in Munster, at the recent Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) Awards—with music and storytelling from the Gab Group before Joe McNamee’s Grub Circus takes over on Saturday morning to present an eclectic two-day programme that promises fun, food and frolics, along with the more serious business of the Old Butter Road Food Symposium.
THE OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD SYMPOSIUM
The Old Butter Road Food Symposium will take the form of two panel-led discussions and information sessions (Saturday & Sunday) hosted and MC-ed by Joe McNamee, to establish a template for promoting the OBR members and their activities and the overall region as a tourism and food tourism destination.
Over two days, some of the heavyweights of the Irish food world, led by Darina Allen, will assemble to offer insight, guidance and inspiration based on their own experiences in the food, tourism and hospitality sectors.
Old Butter Roads Food Symposium Speakers include: Darina Allen (Ballymaloe Cookery School), Sinead Hennessy (Head of Food Tourism, Failte Ireland), Tim Magee (Owner-Operator, Host PR, Ireland’s leading food and hospitality PR company), Birgitta Curtin (Owner/Operator, Burren Smokehouse, Co-founder Burren Food Trail and Burren Slow Food Festival, RAI Co Clare Food Champion), Keith Bohanna (Food Activist, Co-founder Real Bread Ireland, Founder, Bia Beag), Anthony O’Toole (Chef, Food Activist & Fáilte Ireland Food Champion), Host/MC: Joe McNamee (Grub Circus Founder & Food Writer, Irish Examiner, Sunday Business Post 101 Great Irish Restaurants)
OLD BUTTER ROADS COOKERY DEMOS WITH CHEF MICHAEL QUINN
Top chef Michael Quinn (formerly Waterford Castle, now lecturing at WIT) will give a series of rolling cookery demos over the weekend, presenting delicious yet simple recipes all featuring produce from OBR members and producers, with plenty of samples available for the audiences. There will be additional opportunities to sample during the Blind Tastings, in which the general public competes for prizes by identifying various foodstuffs while blindfolded.
CHILDREN AT THE OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD FESTIVAL
The Courtyard will host a BBQ stall and ‘market’, with stalls featuring OBR members’ produce and children are especially well catered for over the course of the weekend with nationally-renowned actor and puppeteer Dominic Moore bringing his puppet show to ‘Granny’s Garden’, the specially designated kidzone, adjacent to the Courtyard.
Moore will also oversee hands-on butter making sessions, allowing children to make their own butter and a Kidz Kookoff Kompetition will see two teams of children under chef mentors competing against each other for some lovely prizes. There is also face-painting and other entertainment.
FUN FOR ‘BIG KIDS’ AT THE OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD FESTIVAL
Big ‘kids’ are equally catered for with: a Food Quiz open to the general public, who will compete for top prizes; a Craft Beer vs Craft Cider Food Pairing competition that sees producers compete against each other to find the best beverage to pair with chef Michael Quinn’s dishes and with the general audience as judges. The audience will also be called on to adjudicate in the ‘High Spirits Cocktail Competition’ as they sample cocktails from OBR member-producers Bertha’s Revenge, Longueville House (and, potentially, Killahora) and make the final call as to which they like the best.
WHO AND WHAT IS THE OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD TRAILS GROUP?
The Old Butter Roads Food Trails is a co-operative of family owned and operated food and hospitality businesses, producers, growers and leisure activity providers, trading in the Avondhue, Blackwater, Duhallow and Muskerry areas North of Cork city, on the trails of the ‘Old Butter Roads’, in a region that once produced the majority of butter sold in Cork, when the city dominated the global butter trade from its world renowned Butter Exchange, in Shandon.
Butter producers would dispatch their precious dairy ‘gold’ in giant 56lb barrels called ‘firkins, into the city along the original ‘Old Butter Roads’, most of which can still be travelled to this very day and are now being used as ‘Trails’ along which visitors can travel to sample the food, hospitality and leisure activities available in the region
The annual Old Butter Roads festival is designed to promote the region as an area for tourism, most especially food tourism, drawing on centuries of tradition and heritage in food production and hospitality to showcase the wealth and variety of finest award-winning local produce and foodstuffs, including cheeses, beef, lamb and pork products, beverages (gins, ciders, apple brandy, craft beers and more) along with a wide range of top quality fruit, vegetables, breads, jams and preserves.
LIST OF MEMBERS
HOSPITALITY: Ballinwillin House, Ballyvolane House, Longueville House, O’Mahony’s of Watergrasshill, The Square Table, The Old Blarney Post Office Café, The Thatch & Thyme; Praline Pastry Shop & Café
FOOD PRODUCERS: Hegarty’s Cheese, Toonsbridge Dairy, Twomey’s Butcher, McCarthy’s Butchers Kanturk, Annabella Farm, Follaín, O’Brien’s Free Range Eggs, Hydro Farm Allotments, Longueville House Beverages, Bertha’s Revenge Gin, Ballinwillin Farm
TOURISM & LEISURE ACTIVITIES: Activity Days, Butter Museum, Shandon Bells & Tower
HISTORY OF THE OLD BUTTER ROADS
Butter producers on the rich and fertile farmland of the Old Butter Roads region began sending their butter to Cork city from as early as the 1600s but from the 1800s onwards traffic increased massively, as the Cork Butter Exchange, in Shandon, established itself as the centre of the world butter trade and Cork butter became Ireland’s first global food brand. Butter was often transported to the city in 56lbs barrels known as Firkins (hence, the Firkin Crane Dance Centre, in Shandon, originally built to service the needs of the Cork Butter Exchange.) and by 1875, over 70,000 farmers were supplying around 400,000 firkins each year, valued at £1.5m and Cork remained the world leader until the late 19th century when new technology being used elsewhere made Irish handmade butter less commercially viable.
ADDITIONAL OLD BUTTER ROADS FOOD FESTIVAL 2019 EVENTS TAKING PLACE ELSEWHERE IN THE COUNTY
In addition to the weekend festival programme in O’Mahony’s, in Watergrasshill, there will be other Old Butter Roads events taking place throughout the region including: Food Tours in Cork city, Old Butter Roads Menu available in member restaurants, cafes and eateries, Old Butter Roads Bus Tours, an Apple Blossom Orchard walk at Longueville House and a Bertha Sessions live music and supper on Saturday 1st June in Ballyvolane House. For a complete list of events, further details and event booking are available on the website www.oldbutterroads.com.