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Celebrating the best in Manx food and drink

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

The Isle of Man Food & Drink Festival returns to the Villa Marina Gardens on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September with a fun-filled programme available.

Celebrate quality and low food miles in the Manx Produce Marquee, sample international cuisine showcasing the best of the Island’s produce in the catering village, meet local drinks producers in the Festival Bar and be inspired in the Manx Cookery Theatre.

New exhibitors this year include Sugar & Spice Bakery, The Gourmet Donut Company, Baby Cheezus, Cow & Pig Smokehouse, MexiMann and Versa, and the celebrity guest will be professional pastry chef Selasi Gbormittah.

Since competing in The Great British Bake Off, Selasi has been involved in commercial branding and events and recently launched a pop-up bakery through online food delivery company Deliveroo. A keen biker, he set off on Selasi’s Two Wheel Bakery Tour in 2017 visiting bakeries across Europe, and is now a professional pastry chef in Switzerland.

Selasi will use local ingredients to prepare a Blackberry and Chocolate Plated Dessert and a Loganberry and Pistachio Tart for visitors, and talk about his journey from amateur to professional baker at 7pm on the Saturday night. Tickets are free and can be reserved via www.villagaiety.com 

Mae Challis headlines the live music stage on Saturday night when entry is free for visitors from 5pm (when the Manx Produce Marquee closes) until 9pm. Cheer on your favourite team in the Hot Dog Eating Competition and enjoy local street food, beer, cider, sparkling wine and cocktails flowing from the Festival Bar. The festival also welcomes CompEAT for Charity with Davison’s Ice Cream at 4pm on Sunday 15 September (contact food@gov.im to apply).

With free entry for under-16s, youngsters can get stuck into a range of food-based activities using local produce in the Children’s Activity Marquee sponsored by The Buchan School. Complete the farm-to-fork story with the help of the Manx National Farmers Union and Isle of Man Creamery; watch the cows being milked, and meet the calves, goats and Manx Loaghtan sheep.

Demonstrations in the Manx Cookery Theatre include a Focus on Foraging with Versa’s Pippa Lovell; The Cook Shack’s Signature Soda Bread; Beer Tasting with Kaneen’s Brewery; Cooking with the Young Fishmonger of the Year, Jordan Keig; and Cooking Manx Quinoa with Yohann Bonjus from Government House and Isle of Man Quinoa’s Chris Kneale. Sponsored by Robinson’s, the Isle of Man Chef of the Year Finals will take place on the Sunday with Tyler Livesey from Jean-Pierre’s Bistro and Vladimir Dvorak from Harbour Lights at the Sefton competing for the title.

Every £1 spent locally on Manx food is worth £1.83 to the local economy. According to an Exhibitor and Visitor Research Report compiled by The Marketing Partnership, the Festival’s value to the local economy has been rising year-on-year from £230,000 in 2017 to £298,000 in 2018.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘The Isle of Man Food & Drink Festival is our flagship food and drink event and brings together producers to showcase their products to thousands of visitors.

Its popularity reflects the growth in Isle of Man food and drink, being driven by our Food Matters strategy, and the growing desire among people to support the innovation of local food and drink producers. As well as providing an enjoyable weekend for all the family, it aims to inspire visitors to reduce food miles, learn about provenance and boost the Manx economy.’

The event is supported by gold sponsors The Stars Group. Jon Weedon, who is responsible for corporate sponsorship at The Stars Group, said:

‘We are delighted to support the Island’s biggest and best celebration of local food and drink for a third year running. The festival brings together producers, retailers and consumers who share a passion for quality local produce. We are keen to support the economy as well as our communities and what better way to demonstrate this than through such a popular event, which attracts large crowds and boosts business.’

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