The annual 'A Taste of West Cork' food festival, which runs annually in September, has had a faithful army of followers since its creation in 2003.
It celebrates and promotes west Cork produce and gives local chefs an opportunity to showcase their talents to a wider audience. Various culinary events are organised and run with precision. For example, banquets, mystery tours including food sampling, barbecues on Sherkin Island, specialty evenings, famous food experts giving fascinating lectures, and much, much more. This festival culminates with an outdoor street market on Skibbereen's Main Street, which is closed off to traffic for the day. A huge range of foodie stalls are set up and tasting is essential. There's lots to do for little ones too: face painting, fairground rides and candy floss stalls dominate the car park behind Field's legendary shop.
It is important to mention, however, Skibbereen Farmer's Market. Some might argue that this weekly event gave rise to the aforementioned large scale extravaganza. It is possibly one of he best markets in the country, with numerous faithful stall holders who turn up each Saturday and sell their wares.
On a sunny day, there is no where better to visit. Strolling through the crowds, you are guaranteed to relish the warm atmosphere and colourful sights.
Buy delicious fresh bread at the Baking Emporium stall. Munch on a moreish bacon and egg breakfast bap from Kalbo's Café. Fill your bag full of reasonably priced homegrown vegetables from Peter Ross. Queue up to select (and taste if required) creamy cheese from the Gubbeen stall. Yes, Gubbeen Farmhouse Products, famous for their cheeses and smokehouse, are regulars. The cheese is sliced, expertly wrapped in red and white paper and sealed.
Next, buy a plump free range chicken from 'Chicken Dave', who also sells free range eggs (which make the nicest yellow sponge). Olives, feta and charcuterie are a must from the Real Olive & Co. Taste and delight in some Côte D'Or chocolate after that, sold by a charming French couple who always have delectable samples to try.
Tired? Sit at one of the communal tables at the epicentre of the hustle and bustle, sipping on a freshly ground coffee. Watch the world go by whilst listening to Leonard Desmond play his accordion. Soak up the unique ambiance and the mouthwatering smells emitted from the various food stalls, selling everything from crêpes to quesadillas, from falafel to meaty beef burgers.
Skibbereen Farmer's Market is a must if you're in west Cork. It will transform your Saturday morning.