Local food producers from the Burren in Co. Clare are showcasing their food in a series of GEOfood events this month. GEOfood is a global brand that promotes food sourced and produced in UNESCO Global Geoparks. Since it was launched at the Slow Food Festival by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark in 2022, twelve local producers have become members of the initiative.
The events will kick off on Saturday, May 20, with GEOfood member Cathleen Connole of Burren Fine Wine and Food hosting afternoon tea and a buffet of GEOfoods at her historic coach house, nestled in the hills of the Burren near Ballyvaughan. Visitors will have the opportunity to sample a menu containing local cheeses, meats, chutneys, and preserves, served with freshly made breads. This event is part of Burren Ecotourism Network (BEN) Wellness Month, which features a variety of activities aimed at improving physical and mental health while providing an opportunity to experience the stunning Burren landscape.
On Sunday, May 21, the Pavilion Community Hall in Lisdoonvarna will host a display of local GEOfood produce, while Carol Gleeson from the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark will expand on the plans for GEOfood, and seafood producer Conor Graham from Flaggy Shore Oysters will talk about his oysters. The showcase is part of the Slow Food Festival, Ireland’s longest-running food festival, which is organised by Slow Food Clare, the Burren Ecotourism Network and the Burren and the Geopark.
GEOfood will be promoted on national television on Wednesday, May 24, when RTÉ One’s Today Show broadcasts live from the newly upgraded Vandeleur Walled Garden in Kilrush. Among the businesses that will be displaying their produce for the television cameras on the day will be: Burren premium beef, Linnalla ice cream, and Flaggy Shore oysters, while celebrity chef Kevin Dundon will be cooking up a GEOfood dish back in studio.
The local media spotlight will shine on the Geoparks’ GEOfood this Sunday, May 14, at 6:00p.m, when Clare FM’s documentary series Atlantic Tales with Pat Flynn features Geopark manager Carol Gleeson, Cathleen Connole, Donnacha Fahy of Celtic Salads and Siobhan Garvey, of St. Tola Irish goat cheese.
“The main aim of the GEOfood programme is to provide a brand that emphasises the locality, freshness, seasonality and traditions of our local food and how the landscape and climate influences what we grow and produce. GEOfood also increases opportunities for local people and visitors to savour and appreciate quality local food,” said Geopark manager Carol Gleeson.
“We are delighted to see a growing number of producers across the Burren getting involved with the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark GEOfood programme.”
Members of GEOfood include St. Tola Irish goat cheese (Inagh); Burren Fine Wine and Food beetroot chutney (Ballyvaughan); Flaggy Shore oysters (New Quay); Burren Smokehouse smoked oysters (Lisdoonvarna); Burren premium beef (Boston); Burren free-range pork (Kilfenora); Linnalla ice cream (New Quay); and Wild Kitchen elderflower champagne and Haw ketchup (Lahinch).
Four new members have signed up to GEOfood in recent weeks: Burren Blossom honey (Ballyvaughan), Celtic Salads (New Quay), Clare Jam Company (Doolin) and Savage Craic Fermented Foods (Corkscrew Hill). “In the next year, we are looking to grow the GEOfood concept further to include restaurants and other food outlets and encourage them to use more locally sourced foods,” Carol said.
“We hope to enthuse chefs, local people and visitors about the quality of food grown in the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark. Through GEOfood, we look forward to further strengthening local livelihoods and further enhancing the growing national and international reputation garnered by the Burren for its quality food produce.”