Samhain Festival of Food and Culture
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Samhain Festival of Food & Culture Announces Guest Speaker, Theme & Headliners Ahead Of Its Return To Kells

Weekend Early Bird Tickets are now on sale for the Samhain Festival of Food & Culturewhich is returning to the heritage town of Kells, Co. Meath for its fifth year from November 2nd to 5th 2023, with a line-up that includes some of the biggest names in Irish food and culture.

This year, the family-friendly four day event which celebrates the coming together of over 5,000 years of Irish food and culture, will welcome internationally-acclaimed Activist, Journalist, and Founder of the international Slow Food® movement, Carlo Petrini.

Petrini’s presence as guest speaker at the opening day’s Samhain Symposium further strengthens the links between the local Boyne Valley Flavours Network and the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, which he founded and where he still serves as President. His academic institution has provided much of the inspiration for the project that is well underway to establish Ireland’s very first ‘Centre of Food Culture, Boyne Valley’ in the locality, with the support of Meath & Louth County Councils, and Fáilte Ireland.

Boyne Valley Flavours’ theme for Samhain Festival Kells 2023 celebrates the prominence of cattle in Irish folklore, with domesticated cows having been of paramount importance in Irish culture and farming dating as far back as the fourth millennium B.C. 

This thread will be brought to life across numerous different events throughout the weekend’s festivities, including exploring the ancient traditions surrounding natural butter making, creating a culture for Irish farmhouse cheeses, a farm walk at Killua Castle, a future of farming discussion, and a cookery demo delivered by TV Chef & Restaurateur, Paul Flynn, of recipes from his new cookbook, ‘Butter Boy’.

Which events does the Weekend Early Bird Ticket Include access to?

The Samhain Early Bird Ticket will give festival goers access to ten of the tastings, cookery demos, and screenings (please see full details below) taking place in the Red Chapel and The Courthouse in Kells across Saturday November 4th and Sunday November 5th. A limited number of these special weekend tickets are available to purchase online now at for a reduced price of €90.00.

Saturday November 4th – The Red Chapel, Kells:

Darina Allen: A Breadmaking Revolution (11.30am):

First up, Early Bird ticket holders will enjoy a cookery demo with tastings hosted by the doyenne of Irish food, Darina Allen (Ballymaloe Cookery School), who will be showcasing recipes from The New Ballymaloe Bread Book.

Natural Butter Making with Max Jones (1pm):

This will be followed by a natural butter making workshop run by Food Conservationist, Max Jones, designed to propagate the use of ancient techniques that are steeped in tradition, including tastings with accompanying bites.

Creating A Culture For Irish Farmhouse Cheese with John & Sally McKenna (2.30pm):

Later in the afternoon, iconic Irish Food Writers, Sally and John McKenna (Authors of McKenna’s Guides and ‘Milk’), will indulge attendees in the fascinating world of farmhouse cheeses and discuss how best to develop a culture to celebrate them here in Ireland. They will be joined on stage by some noted personalities from the Irish cheese making community.

Samhain Festival of Food and Culture

Graham Herterich – A Brack Experience (4pm):

Next up, Author of ‘Bake’ and Blas na hÉireann multi award-winner Graham Herterich, AKA The Cupcake Bloke, will explore his love of the traditional Brack, modernising it with some inventive flavours and creative drinks pairings. 

Flavours of the Boyne Valley Cocktail Making Masterclass with GastroGays (6pm):

To close out the day, award-winning Food & Travel Writers, Patrick Hanlon and Russell Alford, AKA GastroGays, will honour the flavours of the Boyne Valley in a special cocktail making masterclass. Participants will receive their own cocktail kit including the instructions and all of the ingredients needed to create their three specially created cocktails.

Sunday November 5th – The Red Chapel, Kells:

Nine Bean Rows & Blasta Books Cookery Demos & Tastings:

On Sunday November 5th, Blasta Books series 2’s Conor Spacey will demo zero waste dishes and hand out bites from his new cookbook, ‘Wasted’, at 1pm. He’ll be followed at 2pm by renowned TV Chef & Restaurateur, Paul Flynn, who will be showcasing recipes from his new cookbook, ‘Butter Boy’; the complete collection of over 450 recipes from his tenure as food writer for The Irish Times. They’ll be joined in the Red Chapel later on by Cork-based Chef, Restaurateur, and Nine Bean Rows Author, Denis Cotter (with recipes from ‘Paradiso’), at 3.30pm and Blasta Books Richie Castillo & Alex O’Neill of Bahay, who will be serving up Filipino flavours from ‘Masarap’ at 4.30pm.

Sunday November 5th – The Courthouse, Kells:

‘The Future of Food in Ireland’ Film (6pm):

At 6pm, The Courthouse, Kells will host a screening of a new independent film by Wicklow-based Chef, Tadgh Byrne. He has set out to create a documentary that takes a deep dive into how Ireland has both coped in the past with food supply, and how the country can seek to become more self sustainable into the future. The film will hear contributions from leading players in the Irish food industry such as Michelin star Chef, Restaurateur & Author, JP McMahon, and Irish TV Chef, Catherine Fulvio.

Tickets to individual events, and a jam-packed programme of 30+ different experiences that also include an unmissable long table seasonal Samhain supper, a new Boyne Valley Flavours food safari, kids cookery classes, farmers markets, and much more will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to Boyne Valley Flavours’ social media channels and for the latest updates.

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