Bringing the Best in Artisan Food
Production to you,
and bringing you to meet the
Picture the scene.....
Early morning at Gortbrack. Into the Smokery. Put on your whites, this is serious food.
Sharp knife and wooden board are waiting, so are the sparkling fresh, silver wild fish.
Have patience, and borrow some skill from Sally Barnes. Fillet. Brine. Load the smoker. Tang of smoke from the sawdust smoulder.
When itâ€™s done, youâ€™ll have your own piece of West Cork to take home. Eatâ€¦.enjoyâ€¦..remember.
Sounds like your kind of holiday experience? Then give us your preferred dates for a food-lover's holiday, tell us the kind of food and activities you like and we'll create a programme just for you!
What better recommendation than a word from our Patrons:
Our Patrons for West Cork Food are David and Patsy Puttnam who spend much of their time at their house near Skibbereen and are well-known for their active support of local artisan food producers.
"West Cork, a land of plenty, where green rolling meadows surrounded by an ocean stretching to infinity, combine to produce a landscape that plays host to an abundance of lovingly nurtured local food.
As the skill of numerous painterâ€™s reflects the unique West Cork light, so the artisans and small businesses of the area lavish their own care and commitment to what they produce; bringing freshly harvested foodstuffs to our tables every single day of the year."
West Cork has a reputation as a centre of excellence for artisan food production; a reputation founded on the care, commitment and skill that the artisan producers and providers of this enticingly beautiful part of Ireland bring to all that they do.
Many of them have a lifetimeâ€™s worth of practical experience, and are more than happy to share their skill and passion with people who appreciate good food.
West Cork Food has been created to bring the treasure-house of that experience within the reach of individuals like you, people who truly appreciate good food, how itâ€™s produced and how itâ€™s cooked.
During a weekend or longer, you get to meet and visit artisan producers, watch the experts at work, acquire some new skills, stay in quality accommodation and enjoy the captivating landscape and seascape of West Cork in all its diversity.
West Cork is an area served and supported by small businesses, a key element of its distinctive character. West Cork Food is itself a small, local business, and we act as a focus for the wide range of artisan producers scattered across the region so that they can provide food, cookery or gardening enthusiasts like you with a unique experience; an experience that incorporates the active participation of those producers themselves.
West Cork Food is organised and managed by Sally Barnes and Stephen Sage, and grew out of their discussions around how to bring the world-class quality of West Cork artisan food production to a wider audience.
Journalist Carol Gilbert described the initiative in these terms: â€˜Sally Barnes and Stephen Sage have initiated an enterprise, which effectively joins up the dots. They have included all that is best to showcase West Cork food and provide an enjoyable quality experience for groups visiting the region.â€™
Sally Barnes has been an artisan food producer in West Cork for over 30 years. Sallyâ€™s Woodcock Smokery specialises in products from slow-smoked, fresh wild-caught fish devoid of any artificial additives or preservatives.
Working with her daughter, she has built an international reputation for quality.
In 2006, Woodcock Smokery smoked salmon was awarded Best Speciality Product, Best Fresh Product and Supreme Champion in the Great Taste Awards, the ultimate recognition for food producers in the UK and Ireland. Along with other awards over the years, Woodcock also won Best Irish Speciality Award and a Special Judges Commendation in the Great taste Awards for 2009. As John McKenna in the Bridgestone Guide put it: â€˜That tells you all you need to know about the distinctiveness, deliciousness and utter singularity of this most gifted fish smokerâ€™s levels of creativity.â€™
Sallyâ€™s comment is simple: â€˜Woodcock Smokery is a small, family-run business, making use exclusively of wild fish caught by sustainable methods. Our methodology is time-honoured and traditional and all our products take time to prepare and finish without making use of any colourings or artificial preservatives. All we add are salt, smoke, skill, care, and lots of time.â€™
Stephenâ€™s career has involved work as a senior manager for a large local authority in the UK as well as a wide diversity of customer groups and organisations including education, the arts, museums, archives, environmental initiatives, hospitals, prisons, elderly people, ethnic minority groups and those with disabilities.
He also has experience of events and conference organisation, training, exhibitions, publications and radio broadcasting.
Since moving to West Cork in 1998 Stephen has worked with Kearney Consultants on community development projects and as Editor for Irelands Web Services building web sites for businesses and organisations.
West Cork Food Provides:
â€¢ Breaks at specific times of the year for small groups of enthusiasts and also a capacity for groups to arrange their own preferred dates for holidays in West Cork
â€¢ A yearâ€“round presence for all participating artisan food producers, service and accommodation providers via its web site, a portal for interaction and a shop window for their products
â€¢ Food themed holidays that can be tailored to requirement and to incorporate other aspects of West Cork culture and environment, such as activities related to the natural environment, outdoor activities or music
â€¢ The opportunity for food enthusiasts to enjoy the seasonal market in West Cork, with autumn, Christmas and spring themed holidays
â€¢ Opportunities for corporate clients to arrange team building or reward short breaks
Explore our site; get to know the world class food producers that work here, meet our guest chefs, try our recipes, or browse the articles in Food for Thought.
Then, best of all, come and visit us, whether you come by yourself, with your family, or book a break with a group of friends or colleagues, youâ€™ll be sure of a welcome â€“ and some very good food...