Feasting with Friends
It’s been a long while since we hosted a feast at home yet there’s nothing quite like inviting friends to sit around the dinner table to share food, chat and laughter. Thinking back over the years, it was the planning and preparation of a good old-fashioned dinner party that I used to enjoy almost as much as the meal itself. Pouring over the cookery books, sorting out the china, then spending hours in the kitchen turning basic ingredients into several courses to be shared. Memories of those occasions still hold a special place.
Night of a Thousand Feasts
It must have been thoughts of those pleasurable evenings that sparked my curiosity about the Night of a Thousand Feasts that will be taking place in Kilkenny on the evening of Sunday, 26th October. There’s something about the word ‘Feast’ that invokes memories of warmth, friendship, good dining and fun. Sharing food and drink is one of those simple, primeval rituals that’s survived throughout the centuries.
The organisers of the Night of a Thousand Feasts are hoping that homes around the city, county and beyond will be thinking likewise and “will be cooking up a storm”, arranging feasts in homes, on the streets, in the local community centres, in local restaurants or in hotels.
However, a night of feasting is more than just an excuse to break bread with one another during the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival. It’s a fundraising event for an exciting new education food hub, training and community garden that’s being planned for the old boys school in a prominent area of Thomastown, Kilkenny’s Town of Food.
Under the EU Rural Development Programme, the Leader Partnership will provide funding to the Town of Food of up to 750,000 for building works, marketing and training to the end of 2015. In order to access these funds, Town of Food must raise 182,000 in ‘matching funds’ through donations, fundraising and sponsorship. Town of Food is a community led initiative aimed at promoting Kilkenny as an important food destination. It aims to support the production and promotion of local, quality food ingredients and to develop an educational food hub to attract professional and amateur cookery students.
To help to achieve this, a major appeal is being issued to food lovers to organise a Feast. Town of Food Chairman John O’Connor suggests “This is the perfect opportunity to gather friends and to make a great night of it”.
Those hosting meals are asked to register their feast on the Town of Food website and friends attending can make a financial contribution to the project. Registered hosts will be entered into a draw to win a major prize.
An Education Centre for Ireland
Perhaps I had to see the site to realise the potential for this education centre (and apologies for not take any photos of the building interior which is still in scaffold and plaster mode). It won’t just be a place for the people of Thomastown, though the economic and community implications of such a centre will be a huge boost.
This will be a facility that will be available to men and women from all over the country and beyond. Just this week Georgina Campbell highlighted the need for chef training if we’re to continue to promote Ireland as a food destination, and here, in Kilkenny, one is being planned and built but it needs our support.
If you like the idea of getting involved and hosting a Feast, head over to the Town of Food website and register now. You never know how it might spice up your life….
Disclaimer: Green and Vibrant are working in a voluntary capacity to share the news of the Night of a Thousand Feasts and will be bringing a small group of bloggers to participate in the evening. Keep an eye out for news on the #1000Feasts hashtag