Food producers who will be taking part in the Donegal Food Coast Food Coast Experiences pictured with Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney and Eve Anne McCarron Local Enterprise Office
There is more to Donegal than spectacular scenery and wonderful wildness, because it is the food you’ll eat here and the people you meet here that makes Donegal such a special place to visit.
Donegal’s Food Coast Experiences - an exciting range of food-related events – launched in Castlegrove House this week, combines not just celestial cuisine using the county’s rich parlour of ingredients, but also memorable moments that visitors will cherish.
“Food plays an intrinsic role in the visitor experience and the series of food events planned for Donegal this year will offer extraordinary experiences celebrating Donegal food and its champions,” said Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise in Donegal.
He added that through the Food Coast Initiative, the Local Enterprise Office has tried to impress on Donegal’s producers and food outlets over the past few years that offering a wide range of food offerings will help the county secure a greater share of that tourism food spend – adding that the tourists can just as equally be locals and visitors from within the county as those from outside Donegal.
"Our aim, when we launched the Food Coast Experiences, was to develop a calendar of food events that offers an experience celebrating Donegal food and its champions. When we commenced the project we had a gathering of interested food parties who heard from other regions where successful visitor experiences have been built around local food.
That meeting really set the ball rolling and helped people here really understand how we in Donegal can collaborate to make Donegal famous for food," he said.
At that launch two years ago, Failte Ireland’s Sinead Hennessy told food industry professionals that while tourists don't necessarily come to Ireland for its food, it is a key part of their experience and they spend €2 billion on food every year with 35% of their total spend going on food.
Indeed, Fáilte Ireland are following up on that potential in September of this year when, Taste the Island will promote the island of Ireland’s extensive catalogue of food and drink experiences to domestic and international visitors, creating opportunities for Irish businesses to attract higher numbers of visitors outside of the already busy summer months.
The Taste the Island programme will be extensive, including everything from visits to food producers, distillers and brewers; food trails and food festivals; participation in traditional skills; opportunities to forage and fish; and chances to sit back and enjoy the best of modern Irish cuisine in traditional pubs, small-town cafés, restaurants, city bistros and Michelin-starred experiences.
Producers and food businesses pictured at the launch of the Donegal Food Coast 2019 Food Coast Experiences in Castlegrove Country House this week with Michael Tunney and Eve Anne McCarron Business Advisor from the Local Enterprise Office
“The chance to experience local food in a completely authentic way is one that visitors from across the globe have sampled in Donegal over the past two years. Through those experiences visitors can learn more about the local traditions and get to know the people through their food. Our own Donegal Food Experiences, coupled with the Taste of Ireland launch will give Donegal food businesses a brilliant opportunity to tap into this growing market,” the Head of Enterprise added.
He said the Food Coast was truly delighted with the range and diversity of ideas this year, suggesting it was clear evidence that those working in the food sector are keen to build on the calendar of events to make it even better year on year.
“The stakeholders have really grasped the opportunity to add to the Donegal food story and really expand on the potential it has for all involved,” Mr. Tunney concluded.
Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020.