Monday, 15 December 2014

Terra Madre Christmas

Dear Slow Food Galway Members

I hope you are keeping well and looking forward to the festive season.
This year we are hosting our Terra Madre Day celebrations as our annual Christmas Event at my restaurant Rustic Grub, on Monday the 15th December @ 6.30 pm.

Rustic Grub is situated in Sherry's Bar directly across from the church in the heart of Clarinbridge (12 mins from Galway city on the Limerick Road). Parking available in the Church grounds.

This year we will be serving you the very best of local produce with a 3 course Dinner (see menu attached), starting off with the native Clarinbridge oyster and Prosecco reception in Sherrys Bar.
It promises to be a great night and i really hope you can make it.
We are asking that all guests attending the dinner, bring along a small edible gift which will be raffled off during the evening. Proceeds of the raffle will go to the "Slow Food 10,000 Gardens in Africa Project"

There are limited spaces available which is open to members and their partners, so please book ASAP to avoid disappointment!

RSVP Maria on 086-3637357
I hope to chat soon
Kind regards

Monday, 13 October 2014

Bia at the Border" at Petersburg Outdoor Education Centre

We couldn't have picked a better crisp sunny Autumn day to host our Slow Food Mayo and Slow Food Galway collaborative event; "Bia at the Border" at Petersburg Outdoor Education Centre, Clonbur, Co. Galway, We were all greeted and treated to a welcoming cup of delicious coffee from Ponaire Coffee Roastery & Bar along with yummy wild fruit scones made by our chefs from Rustic Grub and The Hungry Monk, and not to mention the delicious jams which all our members brought along for us to taste.

We had a lot going on on the day thanks to our wonderful Demonstrators, which included;
  • Mackerel smoking by Cobie in the Courtyard
  • Butter making Demonstrations by Seamus O Grady
  • Raw milk, Butter and Yoghurt tasting by Keeley Clesmah from Cong. 
  • Tastings of Wild food Tinctures and Bitters by Claire Davey of America Village / Baile Mheiriceá.  
  • A Demonstration on Working with wild foods by Jonathan Keane from The Lodge at Ashford Castle.
  • Vegetable fermentation by Ciara Cullen from Macalla Farm, Clare Island 
  • Wild Food Cordials and brandy by the Diarmuid Connolly.
  • Wild Food Cordials by Cait from Black River Wild Foods from Headford
  • Identification of Forest Mushrooms and Wild foods by our very own Barbara Buckley.
Having worked up a appetite from all the demonstrations we were all treated to delicious Lamb curry made with Achill Mountain Lamb from Calveys Butchers Achill Lamb and Traditional Irish Stew made by GMIT Lecturers Richard Nielsen and Ulrich Hoeche, who used lamb from Connemara Hill Lamb Ltd. This was followed by delicious crumbles made by Cafe Rua and Aisling from The Hungry Monk in Cong. Not forgetting to mention the delicious milk for our Tea sponsored by Larry and Anne from The Galway Goat Farm.
As if this was not enough to wear us all out, we were treated to a wonderful display of talented sheep dogs doing a demonstrations on Sheep Gathering by Joyce Country Sheepdogs.
Last but by no means least....a big thank you to all the Management and staff of Petersburg Outdoor Adventure Centre, Co. Galway for allowing us to host our event in such an idyllic and picturesque location in Cong. And a final thank you to all the Slow Food Volunteers and guests from both sides of the Border. Abu Galway & Mayo......who's for the SAM next year??

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Bia at the Border

Dear Slow Food Galway Member

I hope you are keeping well and had an enjoyable summer. It now that time of year where we get to enjoy the fruits of Mother nature and this year they are certainly in abundance. Its so nice to see the damsons back this year after a two year lul, so i hope you take advantage and make plenty of preserves. Speaking of wild foods, our gathering at this event will be heavily focused on wild foods and various ways to preserve them, so if you do have a nice preserve made, please do bring it along on the day for our tasting table.
This year we have decided to collaborate our event with our close neighbours: Slow Food Mayo, where both sides of the border bring along a dish using their native lamb for our feast on the day. Slow Food Galway will be bringing along a dish of lamb using Connemara Hill Lamb and Slow Food Mayo will treat us to a dish using Achill Hill Lamb, hence we named this event "Bia at the border" .
Well I certainly hope you can make it on the day, places for this event usually sell out pretty fast, so please do book ASAP with Maria on 086-3637357 to secure your place.
I hope to chat soon.
Kind regards

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Celebration of Bees and Honey

A Celebration of Bees and Honey
  • Talk on bees and beekeeping, highlighting their importance in food production.
  • See bees in demonstration hive.
  • Display of honey based products.
  • Tours of organic holding and tunnels.
  • Honey-themed lunch using produce from holding.
If you are interested in bees or honey or thinking of becoming a beekeeper
come and meet local beekeepers and get an idea of what's involved.

Tel. Cobie 087-7496871 to Book.
Limited numbers. Members €15, non-members €20

From Moycullen take L1320 Mountain Road towards Spiddal. Continue uphill for 5 km and
pass Loughwell Farm Park on your right. Take a left at crossroads immediately after farm park
(yellow house on right) and continue downhill for 1 km to T junction. Entrance is directly
opposite at T junction.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Slow Food Movement and Bees

Slow Food is an international organisation started in Italy by Carlo Petrini in 1986. Together with a group of friends, he set up Slow Food to counteract the fast food culture and provide an alternative vision of food production.
It has more than 1,500 branches worldwide in both developed and developing countries. The Slow Food motto “Good Clean Fair Food” is just one of the seven pillars of an ethos which also promotes agricultural and food biodiversity; small-scale food production; food sovereignty; language, culture and traditional knowledge; environmentally responsible food production and fair and sustainable trade.

One branch of Slow Food is The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity whose aims are to protect the environment, defend food biodiversity, promote sustainable agriculture, support small-scale food producers, their values and their traditional knowledge. It aims to do this by encouraging the setting up of presidia.

The objective of a presidium is to support a group of small scale producers who carry on a quality production at risk of extinction or safeguard native breeds or local plant varieties.

Some Presidia of interest to beekeepers:

The Sicilian Black Bee Presidium was set up by Slow Food Sicily to preserve the native Sicilian bee, Apis mellifera sicilaina, which was/is at risk of extinction
The Sicilian black bee has a dark abdomen, yellow down and small wings. Sicily has been its home for millennia, but it risked extinction after being abandoned in the 1970s, as beekeepers got rid of their traditional rectangular beehives made from dried fennel stalks and began importing the Italian bee (“Apis mellifera ligustica”) from northern Italy. The Sicilian bee is docile and very productive, even in hot weather. It can withstand temperatures over 40°C, when other bees stop working and can tolerate sudden temperature changes.  One beekeeper preserved the last three genetic lines surviving and shared them with a small group which now numbers eight. Currently a re-introduction project is underway involving Slow Food, local government and the local university.

Ethiopia has the Tigray White Honey and the Wenchi Volcano Honey Presidium.
Brazil has the Satere Mawe Canudo Nectar presidium

The Puebla Sierra Norte Native Bees Honey presidium is located in the Puebla Sierra range in central Mexico The farmers make their living by cultivating coffee, pepper (Pimenta dioica), vanilla, cinnamon and macadamia nuts and gathering wild fruits. Within this system, the native bee, Scaptotrigona Mexicana, plays a fundamental role as a pollinator and dispenser of a flavorful honey, which according to Náhuat tradition also has medicinal properties. Locally known as pisilnekmej, the bee is one of 46 species of Melipona (stingless bees) known in Mexico, and is endemic to the Sierra Norte. Its domestication dates back to the pre-Hispanic era. In other parts of the country, the native bees have been replaced by more aggressive African bees brought by the Conquistadors, while in the Sierra Norte the native people have managed to protect them and still breed them in traditional mancuernas. These hives are made up of two terracotta pots, sealed with a damp ash mixture. Honey production takes place between 400 and 1,300 meters above sea level. The producers prepare the mancuernas and position them in the forest near their homes. The honey is collected from April to June, on sunny days during the full-moon period. The producers separate the two pots using a machete, select the combs and manually extract the honey, then separate the hive’s other products (pollen, propolis and wax). They then reseal the mancuerna. The collected honey is left to ferment for a few months, and then used by the families as a food and as a medicine. Traditionally it is used as a natural antibiotic for the respiratory tract and recent analyses have proven the honey’s anti-microbial effect.

Slow Food Galway is the local branch (convivum) with approximately 130 members including consumers, chefs, food producers, restaurants, farmers, food lecturers and a couple of beekeepers. The branch aims to promote local food and food producers and educate both members and the general public about food. It does this mainly by running at least 6 events every year including mushroom hunts, seashore forage, fishing trips, visits to farms and food producers as well as a school project. It could also be a platform for promoting the native black bee if more Galway beekeepers joined the organisation.
To join Slow Food Galway contact leader Maria Mc Neela
at or check out the website and facebook page

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Spring Forage Video

This video really captures the true essence of the wonderful day we had at our Spring Forage at the Slieve Aughty Centre & The Three Towers Eco House & Organic Kitchen in Woodford, Loughrea.
Thank you so much to local Galway film maker, Eamonn Dunne for creating this masterpiece for Slow Food Galway. 
Thank you Eamonn, it was a pleasure working with you

Eamonn can be contacted on 086-3155235/ . @e_dunne1

Monday, 19 May 2014

Protest against open Pen Fish Farms in Galway Bay

Slow Food Galway protested during the last two month twice against the open pen fish farms proposed for Galway Bay. The first picket was held on April 2nd 2014 at the BIM National Seafood Conference which was held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The second protest was held on May 9th outside the Galway Business School G. C. I House in Salthill were Taoiseach Enda Kenny was a guest of honour at the Galway Chamber and Business School meeting. Both events provided a great opportunity for the Galway Slow Food movement to confirm its opposing stand point on the proposed Galway Bay fish farm based on the seven pillars of the Slow Food movement. The seven pillars are the foundation the organisation is built on; and in order to be true to our mantra any actions or positions taken by members should be reflective of those pillars. To be more specific the two pillars ‘Small-scale Food Production’ and ‘Environmentally Responsible Food Production’ standing in stark contrast to the proposed developments in Galway Bay. It is for that reason that Slow Food Galway indicated its position by protesting against the proposal at the above named BIM conference in Dublin and on Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s recent visit to Galway.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Spring Forage Event

Dear Slow Food Members
What can i say about the wonderful day we had at the Spring Forage at the Slieve Aughty Centre in Loughrea. I think you'll agree that the wonderful pictures taken by Trevor Moody Photography speak for themselves!
We were very lucky to have had renowned forager, Mary Bulfin (Wild Food Mary) as our guest forager on the day. Mary was also assisted by local Galway Foragers, such as; Enda McEvoy; biologist, Barbara Buckley; Conor Cockram & Ulrich Hoeche; along with herbalist Joerg Mueller from Solaris Tea.
After a brief introduction the foragers,  led away the crowd in three groups in search for wild edible plants. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the very attentive Jenny and the staff of the The Three Towers Eco House & Organic Kitchen rallied around to ensure that the hungry foragers would have an array of  delightful organic dishes upon arrival.
Two hours later, the foragers arrived back, beaming from ear to ear with their new found knowledge on wild foods.
Their finds included; Common Hogweed, Wood Sorrell, Blackthorn, Spruce shoots, Hairy Bittercress, Pignuts (Fairy Potato), Nettles, Broad Leaf Plantain, Sweet Cicely, Wild Blueberry (Fraochan), Beech Leaves, Dandelion, Three Cornered Leek, Chickweed, Silver Weed, Wild Primrose Flowers, Gorse Flowers (Whin), Sheep Sorrel, Wood Sorrel, Wild Pea (Vetch), St.Georges Mushroom & Violets.
The famished crowd were then presented with a delicious display of Farmhouse Cheese and Breads, Venison Pie, Salads picked from their Garden, Beetroot Hummus, Dressings, Relishes and Pickles, and delicious Wood Fired Pizza from their clay oven....YUM!!
After all that, i did not think i had any room left for dessert, until i saw the delicious array of desserts which our members brought along. I couldn't resist! It would have been rude to say no.
And so we came to the end of the day feeling content and happy with our fantastic adventure at the Slieve Aughty Centre, and still a few days later i am reminiscing, with my only regret being that i did not stay the night. When the crowd had left, the committee's final words over a glass of Vino, was "We'll be back!"
A big thank you Esther, Jenny and the Crew for their wonderful hospitality. To our insightful Foragers....thank you. Last but not least, to you our Members & Guests for coming along. Till July, Take Care, Kind Regards, Maria and the hardworking Committee.

If you like these photos, then i would highly recommend our very own Slow Food Member Trevor Moody if you are interested in web design, graphic design and of course photography.

If you are looking for a forager to take out a small personalised group, please either contact Barbara Buckley on 0879171414 or Ulrich Hoeche on 0876775015.
Kind regards