Savour Kilkenny is around the corner. Are you going?

Highlights from Savour Kilkenny's 2014 Food Market Day 1 (Saturday). Photo: Ken McGuire/Any Given Food
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Savour Kilkenny is coming, and in its ninth year it brings a whole host of talks, tastings, demos and a very special sense of community in the world of food in Kilkenny.

While there’s the usual mix of visiting chefs and personalities from far flung places around Ireland (or as far as you can fling them), the programme over the years has evolved to incorporate more specialised tastings and demos, the likes of the Banter series of discussions, fashion, Meet The Maker sessions and this year comes with an added look at food around mental health issues.

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The planning process for Savour, with a team headed by festival organiser Marian Flannery is pretty much in planning from the day the previous year’s festival ends and as is evident from this year’s extensive programme, the festival continues to grow and expand.

Kilkenny’s Parade Plaza (let’s just call it The Parade, given that’s what you should be calling it when you visit Kilkenny) continues to be the hub of the festival. The stretch from Kilkenny Castle to High Street closes for the weekend around Savour Kilkenny as traders, Brewers, wine lovers, gourmet chefs, coffee afficionados and more gather under the shadow of the former home of the Duke of Ormonde to form the life blood of the festival.

Some of the highlights for this year include Fiona Uyema’s A Taste Of Japan, fresh of the back of her book release of the same name; TV presenter Mary Kennedy is in conversation with Neven Maguire; Mark Moriarty makes an appearance as Best Young Chef in the World (2015); The Happy Pear’s Flynn brothers discuss food and their business; locals Edward Hayden hosts a chocolate masterclass while Ryeland House’s Anne Neary hosts a Blogger Breakfast to get things underway on the Friday morning.

But it’s in the galleries and restaurants off the Parade, around the city and stretching out into the county that the food experiences continue to grow.

The recently opened School Of Food in Thomastown is holding an open door event, offering visitors the chance to hear about opportunities in the field and meet employers in the food sector. If you’re considering a spin out, give yourself 20 minutes or so for a drive – though it also gives you an excuse to visit the Nicholas Mosse café en route.

On the mental health note, a special festival event is being held on the Tuesday prior to the bank holiday weekend with Dublin-based dietician and exercise specialist Harriette Lynch Niall Breslin (Bressie) discussing mental health issues and the role that food has to play under the title Feed Your Mind & Eat Yourself Calm at Set Theatre on John Street.

From what I can gather locally, there’s over 80 exhibitors confirmed for 2015, another host of family events, special menus popping up in restaurants around the city and a lot more besides happening in Kilkenny for the October bank holiday.

You can check out the programme in full by visiting SavourKilkenny.com.

Written by Ken McGuire
Writes and talks a lot about food, spending way too much time in the kitchen or behind the lens taking photos. Digital Media Specialist by day, broadcaster by night, living in Kilkenny with Mrs. Any Given Food and two crazy rescue hounds.