6 November 2015
By Bryan Smyth
A Cork artisan producer who founded Ireland’s only farm-based biscuit bakery will appear at the first annual Bite Food Festival in the RDS, from November 19-22.
Philip O’Connor of Seymours Irish Biscuits in Bandon will be just one of the country’s artisan producers showcased at the major new food festival, which is expected to attract over 20,000 Irish food and drink lovers.
Bite 2015 will feature top chefs and food experts as well as a huge range of producers, who are there to sell, sample and educate people about their unique products.
A must for food lovers, Bite 2015 will also feature tastings and demonstrations from chefs such as Donal Skehan and Domini Kemp as well as free cooking classes led by Lynda Booth of the Dublin Cookery School for adults and children alike.
After years working in the Dublin motor trade, Philip O’Connor returned to Cork in 2006 to start an agri-business in which he could incorporate butter made from milk from his nearby family farm.
“I decided to develop a niche Irish hand-cut biscuit brand and started initially with shortbread which has evolved into more products,” said Philip.
“Despite being a small business, we export about 10% of our products to retail customers in the US, Germany and Malaysia where our new Spirit of Ireland Biscuit Tin is especially popular.
“Sales are up 40% this year, thanks to local and tourism markets and I’m planning to invest in a new line of packaging in the New Year.”
The range of Seymours Irish Biscuits include original shortbread, cranberry and almond shortbread and various flavoured Irish cheese biscuits.
Presented by the organisers of the National Crafts and Design Fair, in association with Spar and Eurospar, the Festival promises to be Ireland’s first and foremost interactive food expo, with attractions for all the family.
“Bite 2015 is aimed at promoting Ireland’s vastly expanding artisan food and craft drinks sector, letting people with an interest in food experience just how much quality that we have in the field to the plate industry,” said festival organiser Patrick O’Sullivan.
“We will have Ireland’s tallest chocolate sculpture, the country’s smallest distillery, traditional foods with a contemporary twist, rare breed meats, organic products and much more – a range of quality exhibitors that will provide a full day out to even the most knowledgeable foodie.
“Every stand at Bite 2015 will feature quality products with unique stories behind them – encapsulating a rapidly growing industry.”
Bite 2015 takes place at the RDS Main Hall from November 19-22. Full details and booking can be found at www.bitefoodfestival.ie.