James Whelan Butchers: Tipperary Food Producers Long Table Dinner 2011

TIPPERARY Food Producers are once again planning to tantalise the taste-buds of food lovers from all over Ireland with its annual, sumptuous, Long Table Dinner which takes place in the historic grounds of Rockwell College outside Cashel on Wednesday, August 24th.

The banquet promises to be a gourmets dream bringing 300 guests on a culinary tour of Tipperary with a special menu of seasonal products sourced exclusively from the 30 members of the Tipperary Food Producers network.

Excellence is the common denominator for the banquet. Members of the Tipperary Food Producers network include a host of well known brands such as Cashel Blue Cheese, Cooleeny Cheese in Thurles, The Scullery, Crowes Farm, Hickeys Bakery, The Cookie Jar, and James Whelan Butchers in Clonmel.

Other members include:  The Apple Farm in Cahir,  Seymour Organic Farm in Borrisokane, Barbara Russell catering, Red Nose Wine in Clonmel, Inch House, and many more. (For a full list go to www.tipperaryfoodproducers.com)

According to organiser and founder of the Tipperary Food Producers, butcher Pat Whelan from Clonmel, Tipperary food producers now employ 220 people directly, and have a cumulative turnover of €24m.

“The Long Table Feast is a great opportunity for us all to showcase the very best of our produce and reinforce the importance of supporting local producers to a local and national audience.” he said. “For every €10 spent with local producers and businesses €34 goes back to the local economy. For every €10 spent with large retail multiples, only €16 goes back to the local economy,” he added.

Special guest at this year’s Long Table Dinner is Michael Kelly, founder of G.I.Y (Grow It Yourself).

“Rockwell is one of the Country’s premier seats of learning and boasts former presidents, well known businessmen, household names from the legal profession and many international rugby players amongst its past pupils. What more fitting setting for this year’s feast,” said Pat.

While the venue changes annually and the demand for tickets grows, the core values of the Long Table Dinner remains the same: the event is a showcase for all things ‘food’ in Tipperary with “excellence” at the core of everything. The entire Long Table Dinner is created from local produce, with the producers sitting down and enjoying the feast.

This epicurean gala has evolved into a lavish, highly organised feast. It started in 2007 when a group of local food producers came together to dine at a long table under the abundant fruit trees in the orchards of the Apple Farm in Cahir one late summer’s evening. The producers were reviving an old Irish tradition and the entire meal was created using only local ingredients and produce.

It was a modest start, but it was the springboard to a much bigger gathering in 2008 when the producers sat down inside the ancient ramparts of Cahir Castle. By 2009, the event attracted 250 people under canvas on the grounds of Kickham Barracks. Last year the event employed the help of the internet and social networking and was held simultaneously in four of Tipperary’s best known restaurants: Chez Hans in Cashel; The Old Convent in Clogheen; Brocka on the Water and Inch House, attracting great media attention and making it, virtually, the longest table in history.

The Tipperary Food Producers Network includes producers of meat, beverages and bread, soup, sweets, pastry, catering, dairy, cheese, farm shops, preserves and condiments, jams, fruit and vegetables.

Tickets for this year’s event  cost €75 and are available at James Whelan Butchers, Oakville Shopping Centre, Clonmel on (052) 6182477 OR  from any member of the Tipperary Food Producers network at www.tipperaryfoodproducers.com

Ticket holders are asked to be at the Rockwell College by 7.00pm sharp as the meal will commence at  7.30 p.m. Tickets are required for entry to the long table dinner event.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Food Market Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers

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