Erin Grove to spread Great Taste at Derry Slow Food Festival

Award-winning jams and chutneys made by hand the traditional way in Co Fermanagh will be showcased at Northern Ireland’s first Slow Food Festival in Derry this weekend.

Erin Grove Preserves are among a number of leading artisan food producers taking part in the two-day event hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council in Guildhall Square on Saturday, October 8th and Sunday, October 9th, from 12 noon until 6pm daily.

The Festival featuring a Harvest Market, Street Food Zone, Family Fun Zone, free demos, tours and tastings, is being supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) NI Regional Food Programme, with assistance from Slow Food NI.

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the family-friendly event at which butchers, bakers and artisan makers will showcase good, clean, fair food as part of the October themed ‘Harvest’ celebrations during Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016.

Erin Grove, which have an impressive ten Great Taste awards under their belt, embody the guiding principles of Slow Food, making jam using time-honoured methods just like it used to be, succulent and bursting with flavour.
Enniskillen native Jayne Paget, who founded the family-run business in 2001 having previously trained as a Home Economics teacher, explained: “Erin Grove’s preserves, chutneys and marmalades are inspired by a desire to recreate the traditional homemade flavours which have been lost in so many of today’s over-processed foods. Using only traditional methods, our products are made in small batches to retain flavour and colour. We use only the finest quality ingredients, sourced mainly from local producers, with no artificial colours, preservatives or setting agents.

“Many of our recipes have been handed down through the generations, others we have created ourselves to produce a range where the favourites of yesterday blend with exciting and innovative flavours for today.”
Jayne revealed that she acquired her passion for making jam from her granny who always grew her own fruit. “As children we had to pick the fruit and help her to make jam. When I was a teenager I made jam for my auntie’s bakery and it all stemmed from that. I went on to train as a Home Economics teacher but always wanted to set up a small jam making business and so Erin Grove was created.”

Based on the family farm at Derryhillagh Road, Erin Grove is run by Jayne and her husband, Mark, with employee Mark Kearney also working in the business. Visitors to the Slow Food Festival will be able to sample some of Erin Grove’s most popular jams which include Strawberry, Lemon Curd, Apple Jelly with Cloves and, Rhubarb and Ginger.
For foodies who love chutneys, Erin Grove’s best sellers are Sweet Chilli Jam and Red Onion with Redcurrant. Their newest products are Fruits for Cheese which they launched in 2015 and are a sweet accompaniment for cheese, with flavours such as Redcurrant, Rosemary and Juniper Berry and Sour Cherry with Black Pepper.
Jayne added: “We have been getting a lot of positive feedback about our jams and chutneys. The customers love the amazing fruity taste of our products and the fact that we do everything by hand.”

Erin Grove have previously taken part in the Legenderry Food Festival and Clipper Race Kitchens as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival and Jayne added: “We enjoy them because the set-up is well organised and the people are friendly and very supportive.”

Mary Blake, Head of Tourism with Derry City and Strabane District Council and a native of Enniskillen, said they were delighted to be welcoming Erin Grove back to the banks of the Foyle for the exciting new Slow Food Festival, celebrating some of the finest local produce in the north west and across Northern Ireland as well as Co Donegal.
She added: “Our family-friendly Slow Food Festival will be centred in the main marquee in Guildhall Square featuring a Harvest-style market showcasing award-winning cheese and charcuterie specialists, freshly caught fish, handmade sauces, seasonal pantry foods and much more.

“Festival-goers will be spoiled for choice with an additional Street Food Zone and Family Fun Zone as well as free walking and cycling food tours, plus an exciting event exploring some of our wild foods at St Columba’s Heritage Centre and, specially themed food and drink menus at the Guildhall Taphouse and Warehouse No 1 Bistro and Cafe.”
Popular local celebrity chefs Paula McIntyre, Director of Slow Food NI who recently returned from an international Slow Food event in Italy, and Brian McDermott, who is also a Slow Food ambassador, will also be hosting cookery demos during the Festival.

A number of well-known food and drink producers will also be offering a selection of mouth-watering Slow Food cuisine in the Street Food Zone including, Emmett McCourt’s Irish Food Heritage, Scarpello & Co Craft Bakery, Amara Dexter Beef, Hog Roast Company, South African Kitchn and Morelli’s Ice Cream.
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