14 November 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Over 25 artisan food producers will take part in the Spectacular Christmas Food Emporium at the biggest-ever City Hall Crafts and Design Fair in Cork from November 24-26.
This the first time that there has been a dedicated food emporium at the traditional start to the Christmas season in Cork, and the exhibitors include Kinsale Mead Co. who will showcase refreshing honey mead from Cork’s first meadery in centuries.
Owners Kate and Denis Dempsey started the business after discovering the taste of mead while on a trip to the US.
“We make an Atlantic Dry Mead from a traditional mead with refreshing citrus orange honey while our Wild Red Mead is made from a Spanish dark forest honey with tart blackcurrants and sweet cherries,” said Kate.
“It’s such a fantastic drink and very few people know what it tastes like.”
Pamela Walsh and Brett Stephenson will display just why they left their high-flying careers to create luxurious artisan fruit wines as part of their Wicklow Way Wines range.
Their sustainable winery is a far cry from Brett’s previous life as an audio engineer with the likes of U2, Van Morrison and the Red Hot Chili Peppers while Pamela left her career as a senior manager with Airtricity.
Clodagh Davis says her Wexford-based Naturally Cordial range tastes even more delicious since she reduced the sugar content by over 50%.
Her success story, inspired by her son’s lemonade stall, has grown from just 2,000 bottles to 48,000 in just four years.
Fairgoers will have a chance to taste Mezze, run by a Waterford couple Nicola Crowley and Dvir Nusery, who produce authentic middle eastern and north African food which has been a huge hit with among vegans, vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.
After eight years in Israel, Nicola moved back to Ireland with Dvir, anxious to bring the country’s flavoursome foods and custom of sharing plates in a social dining experience over here – and they have added seaweed for an Irish touch.
At Emerald Oils, Michael Corbett from Cashel overseas the whole process from ‘soil to oil’ for Munster’s first award-winning cold-pressed rapeseed oil.
With an artisan craft and family tradition of baking almost two hundred years old, Beth-Ann Smith and brothers Owen and Ken Madden’s Lismore Food Company’s award-winning biscuits will be on sale at City Hall.
With a total of 85 exhibitors, this year’s fair promises to be a bumper celebration of an event that traditionally heralds the start of the Christmas season in Cork, offering a unique chance to pick up individual and original Christmas gift ideas.
City Hall Crafts and Design Fair is a celebration of the best Irish designers and makers from fashion to jewellery and beyond – with thousands of items that can only be found in Cork.
There will be a huge emphasis on local makers, with Cork Craft and Design members such as Rathcormac-based ‘message in a bottle’ ceramicist Siobhain Steele and Clonakilty’s Hen Jewellery on display.
They will be joined by Shanagarry-based botanical artist Belinda Northcote and West Cork ceramicist Mairi Stone.
“The City Hall Crafts and Design Fair gives people the ideal chance to secure original and unique Christmas presents in a wonderful setting,” said Festival organiser Patrick O’Sullivan.
“Shoppers will find a wide range of crafts, artisan-made goods, food and drink, designer handcrafted outfits and accessories at the Fair.
“This year we have a lot of new content with many first-time exhibitors showcasing the best of new crafts and food from around the country.”
The 26th City Hall Crafts and Design Fair takes place at the City Hall, Cork from November 24-26. Full details and booking can be found at www.cityhallcraftsfair.ie.