Boyne Valley Flavours launches Hinterland Food & Festival

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THE award winning Boyne Valley Flavours food movement has launched Ireland’s Ancient East answer to a ‘Taste of the Island’, running until 30 th November in a regional weekend celebration of Irish food and culture. The Hinterlands Festival ran from 1 st -3 rd November for three days of food talk and cooking, culture and poetry with live podcasts and dramatic interpretations, foodies from around the island taking many opportunities to eat, drink and learn more about Ireland’s place on the global food stage. Shortlisted for the World Food Trekking Awards, the Boyne Valley Flavours committee went to London on the final day of the regional festival and won the category for Most Innovative Food or Beverage Marketing Campaign.

Hinterland Food Festival visitor Martine Grogan has a look at the festival programme featuring culinary experts coordianted by Grainne Johnston


Photographer Sally McKenna and her husband, author John McKenna with their new book, available at the Hinterland Food Festival

“We were so shocked,” Grainne McKeown of Boyne Valley Flavours said on winning the category above 28 semi-finalists. “We were awarded for our Boyne Valley Food Series.” The Food Trekking Awards are produced by the World Food Association as a competition for excellence and innovation in food and beverage tourism, and the new regional food festival based at the Headfort Hotel in Kells, County Meath has grown out of the Hinterland Festival of Literature and Arts.

Olivia Duff of Boyne Valley Flavours and Samhain Committee member Grainne McKeown

“Hinterland has allowed us to broaden our collaborations, our programme of events across the year and continue to grow our main festival and Boyne Valley Flavours,” said Festival Coordinator Heather Hamill. “It is building on our collaboration and partnership and it is great. As well as being about community involvement you have groups working together, sharing their knowledge, their skill-base and there is strength in that.”

Hinterland Food Festival Coordinator Heather Hamill (right) and committee member Mary Farrell were based for the duration of the festival at the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells, County Meath


Marita Collier of the Drummond House family garlic business and Janice Casey Bracken, the Kevin Dundon trained Executive Chef and teacher at the ICA’s An Grianan

Among the chefs, writers and food producers who took part in the festival, sponsor Kevin Sheridan of Sheridans Cheesemongers ran a special market in the Virginia, County Cavan, headquartered near Kells. Along with his brother Seamus, Kevin produces a variety of acclaimed cheeses available at outlets nationwide.

Kevin Sheridan of Sheridans Cheesemongers and cheesemonger Franck Le Moenner at the Sheridans Samhain Market, part of the Hinterland Food Festival in County Meath

Declan Flood of Flood’s Butchers, one of the local producers at the Hinterland Food Festival in County Meath

“We have a market every Saturday called the Community Local Food Market and there is quite a strong, active food production group here and in Meath and Louth,” said Kevin Sheridan. “This year Failte Ireland and Irish tourism have linked in some lovely stories and great culture. The Hinterland Festival branched out this year to include local food, extending its brief from a literary celebration to chefs and producers and growers in the area.”

Along with Kevin and Seamus Sheridan, participating leaders in the food industry included East Coast Cookery School patron Tara Walker, Gastro Gays Patrick Hanlon and Russell Alford, JP McMahon of the Eat Galway Restaurant Group, Firehouse Bakery’s Patrick Ryan, celebrity chef and author Brian McDermott, Airfield Estate CEO Grainne Kelleher and Ballymaloe Cookery School’s Darina Allen. Regional chefs and bakers included the award-winning Gearoid Lynch and James Tallon while the science of food, food as medicine and sustainable production were among discussion themes.

JP McMahon, author, playwright and culinary director of The Eat Galway Restaurant Group gave a talk about 10 foods from 5,000 years at the Hinterland Food Festival


Gastrogays Patrick Hanlon and Russell Alford at their ‘Chew the Fat Podcast’ during the Hinterland Food Festival

Supported by Ireland’s Ancient East, Failte Ireland and Taste the Island, the festival is online at and . TASTE the Island is promoting Ireland’s extensive catalogue of food and drink experiences to domestic and international visitors until 30 th November. Launched last September, the initiative has been the first in a three-year programme island-wide and regionally, sourcing local places for food and drink, regional producers and chefs.

Details are online at or phone 1 800 242473 or (01) 884 7101.

Kim Mullahey

Kim Mullahey is’s Ireland Correspondent. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Chicago and has taught Adult Education Creative Writing Studies. Through a media career spanning nearly 25 years Kim has written and photographed regional news, national and international horse sports, fashion and lifestyle. Kim lives with her husband and son in Kildare Ireland, and a stray marmalade cat who has adopted the family.

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