Festival Lough Erne

The weekend of June 20 and 21 brought the first Fermanagh Food Festival. This excited me, more than it should have because I am used to attending similar events all over Northern Ireland. However, this is a first for Fermanagh! It’s great to see Fermanagh hosting a large event , and I hope that is becomes a regular occurrence.

I visited on Saturday 20th, around lunch time and there was a hive of activity around the Broadmeadow area of Enniskillen. The entry fee was a reasonable £3, and it was evident there was a lot to do. On arrival , I could see a helter skelter and a carousel. The inner child was screaming to go on them but my Mum and Aunt (my escorts for the day) didn’t fancy joining me.

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We coincided our arrival with Jenny Bristow’s demonstration in the ‘Big Top Circus Tent’, however their schedule was almost half an hour behind. This annoyed me, and it was not helped by the “We’re on Fermanagh time” joke. It wasn’t professional and I hope these are teething problems that can be resolved for next time. The late running time meant Jenny had only 35 minutes for her demo, which was disappointing.

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Jenny Bristow showing us how to do it

Timing aside, Jenny’s demonstration was fantastic. She showed the group how to make soda bread, a summer fruits cake and a beef and pasta dish. As soon as the beef started to cook, I may have started to drool. I’m still thinking about it today. Hopefully I will replicate this recipe soon(!). At the end of the demonstration, there was an opportunity to sample the dishes. I was close to the back of the queue so I didn’t get to try the beef, however I sampled the cake and it was delicious.  It was moist and light. I was surprised to enjoyed it, as I usually avoid fruit cakes at all costs. Jenny also gave away two copies of her new book. Sadly, I was not a winner.

We then walked around the Broadmeadow, taking in the large number of food stalls. There was also a beer tent and a pop up restaurant. There were local trade stands inside the ‘Tented Festival Village’. My favourites, Baked in Belfast were there displaying their excellent pottery and delicious jams and chutneys.  We sampled all that was on offer at the stands and I purchased some Apple Bramley balsamic vinegar and Strawberry and Mint wine vinegar from Burren Balsamics. I noticed a Lough Erne Cakes  stall and helped myself to a macaron and brownie. It’s difficult to resist!

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Burren Balsamics and Lough Erne Cakes

After this, it was sadly time to leave and I did not get to try out other activities which included water based adventures on Lough Erne and a chance to taste some war foods at Enniskillen Castle. Again, I think it’s fantastic that Co. Fermanagh has showcased a large event such as the Festival Lough Erne and I look forward to many more.

Do you like food festivals? What are some of your favourite food festivals?

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