Killyleagh plays host to some pretty fabulous events throughout the year but we’re really excited about the Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival taking place from September 23rd to 25th.
Anything and everything to do with chocolate will be happening that weekend but don’t miss out on our top five things to do!
The Hans Sloane Chocolate Ball
In honour of the man who brought chocolate to Europe, the festival will swing into action with the Hans Sloane Chocolate Ball on Friday, September 23rd. Chefs Simon Dougan of Yellow Door and Chris Burt of Finnebrogue will present a chocolate-rich menu featuring produce from sponsor Finnebrogue Artisan among other outstanding local producers. Dinner will be topped by a show-stopping chocolate dessert. Guests can then dance the night away in the marquee against the splendid backdrop of Killyleagh Castle.
It wouldn’t be a chocolate festival without the 15 artisan chocolatiers who will be exhibiting at this year’s festival. You will be able to sample from Hotel Chocolat, La Coquine, Neary Nogs, and Wee ChoCo CIC to name just a few of the best names in the business. There will even be a fantastic chocolate stout beer from Mourne Mountains Brewery!
It’s not just about the chocolate in Killyleagh this year as there will also be more than 40 artisan food producers at the festival in support of 2016’s Year of Food and Drink. Guests can sample the best treats Northern Ireland has to offer from a number of Great Taste award-winners. Mash Direct, Abernethy Butter, Glastry Farm Ice Cream, Krazi Baker and Deli Muru can boast about being the best in their field, and we think you’ll agree after you’ve sampled their goods.
As if the produce weren’t enough, local culinary stars will demonstrate the best way to prepare local food. You can see Danny Millar from the Poacher’s Pocket, Fernando Correa from Quails at The Gallery and Roy Abraham from The Smuggler’s Table all take centre stage in the Food NI live kitchen on Saturday and Sunday afternoon!
There will be fun for all the family at the Chocolate festival, too. Young ones can expect to see stilt walkers, balloon modelling, a circus academy and even a climbing wall for those brave enough to have a go. Don’t forget that junior bakers can enter the chocolate chip cookie competition – judged each day at 4pm!
An Evening of Irish Artisan Cheese hosted by Indie Fude
Dufferin Hall will play host to some gastronomic delights on Saturday, September 24th with the Indie Fude Irish Artisan Cheese Evening. This exclusive evening will feature tastings of artisan raw milk cheese from around the island of Ireland from Newtownards to Ennistymoon. James Nicholson Wines will be on hand to pair each cheese with the perfect tipple, from vintage port to Shortcross Gin. This will be a celebration of local foods not to be missed!
Each cheese will be served with chutney and gourmet oat cakes from Deli Muru, and of course the evening wouldn’t be complete without a surprise chocolate course with its own drink pairing!
Places are limited and early booking is advised. Tickets cost £20 and can be purchased here.
For more information on this year's Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival visit www.hanssloane.com.