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Oonagh O’Dwyer from Wild Kitchen and Carol Gleeson Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark 

Hundreds of people gathered at the Pavilion theatre in Lisdoonvarna last weekend to mark the return of the Burren Slow Food Festival returned after a gap of three years with confidence expressed that the area can benefit from the GEOfood banner.

Organised by Slow Food Clare, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and the Burren Ecotourism Network, the event has been a highlight of the Irish food calendar since 2005, regularly attracting high profile chefs and speakers.

As well as food tastings, cookery demonstrations, and a Burren producers’ market, this year’s event included a seafood buffet in Inis Oir and a Burren slow food buffet at the Storehouse in Lisdoonvarna. The event was sponsored by Calor Gas Ireland and supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Food producers from the Burren Ecotourism Network took to the Calor Gas Kitchen for a variety of food tastings and demonstrations on the Saturday. These included Burren Smokehouse, Burren Gold, Burren Free Range Pork, Burren Beef, St Tola Irish Goat Cheese, Linalla Ice Cream, Burren Fine Wine and Food, Flaggy Shore Oysters and Wild Kitchen.

Cookery demonstrations by chef Jess Murphy of Kai restaurant and local chef Niamh Fox of Little Fox in Ennistymon paid tribute to Ukraine with a showcase of Ukrainian food.

One of the highlights of the event was the launch of GEOfood in Ireland, by Sara Gentilini, who developed the concept of GEOfood at the MAGMA UNESCO Global Geopark in Norway. Speaking via video link from Norway, Sara explained that GEOfood is a global brand that promotes local food produced in UNESCO Global Geoparks and aims to connect people with the local traditions, geology and heritage of the place through local food.

John McKenna from McKenna Guides and Eva Hegarty from Burren Free Range Pork.

Nine producers in the Burren meet the GEOfood brand values, Carol Gleeson, Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark confirmed. “The plan is to build on these to create a wide network of producers, local restaurants and retail outlets providing sustainably produced food from our unique Geopark,” she added.

Birgitta Curtin of the Burren Smokehouse and Slow Food Clare noted that the festival featured several members of the Burren Ecotourism Network “and has given us all a platform to showcase our food to the public”.

Acting Head of Tourism with Clare County Council, Deirdre O’Shea believed there was huge potential for GEOfood in the Burren and indeed in Ireland. “GEOfood reminds me of the Wild Atlantic way, all marketed together under one banner. I am confident that with the support of everyone in the region and with an appropriate and effective marketing strategy, we can and will deliver significant benefits to the local tourism sector and visitor alike and I look forward to playing my role in all of this”.

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