This year’s Isle of Man Food & Drink Festival at the Villa Marina Gardens on 20th & 21st September promises to be the biggest and best yet.
First time exhibitors include Ballakarran Meat Company, Taylor Made Cakes and Betty, the Peel-based vintage food caravan, along with a pop-up restaurant called The Fish & Bottle, a collaboration between 14North, Bath & Bottle and Little Fish Café.
The Manx Produce Marquee will host Paddy’s Fish, Robinson’s Vegetables, Ramsey Bakery, Laxey Glen Flour Mills, Isle of Man Creamery, Shoprite (featuring steaks and special offers), Ellerslie Oil, Manx Pack Ltd, Noa Bakery, Green Mann Spring Water, Ballakarran Meat Company, Berries Luxury Pudding Makers & Confectionary, MostlyManx, Doggielicious, Taylor Made Cakes and Stay on a Manx Farm.
Stalls under the Villa Marina Colonnade will include Island Sheepskins, Mannbiltong, Jane’s Jams, Laxey & Lonan Allotments, Coeliac Group, Dianne McCudden (local photographs and scenes), Helen Maddrell (second-hand cook books and kitchen pottery), Gavin Carter (wooden bowls and “have a go at carving” for children) and Kathryn Mitchell Ceramics.
The Manx Cookery Theatre will host demonstrations and a chance for young visitors to make bread plus the final of the I Love Manx Chef of the Year competition, to take place at 3.00pm on Sunday, September 21st.
Outside the Produce Marquee will be Staarvey Farm, the Apple Orphanage van (with new product gooseberry lemonade) and Jimbo’s Ice Cream.
For refreshment, choose from Betty (pie and mash), Barista Express (paninis), Kallow Point Seafoods and Culinary Liberation (local meat and vegetarian), while the Restaurant Marquee will include The Fish & Bottle, Harbour Lights (teas and cakes) and Your Personal Wine Service (offering tastings and advice).
The bar will have beers from around the Island and there will be a stage area with music, song and dance to entertain the crowds.
Also joining the fun will be Greeba Farm Mushrooms with family activities, the Manx National Farmers’ Union (farm animals and milking demos), Ballanorman Goats and Manx Litfest with partner bookseller Bridge Bookshop and storytellers.
Philip Taylor of Rock Food Concepts said: ‘The Fish & Bottle will be offering a limited menu inspired by Persian street food, using local products. We will also have a range of cocktails, again inspired by local produce and local producers - so something different for the Festival this year.’
Janette Qualtrough runs Ballakarran Meat Company with her husband, Will, and explained: ‘We will have small lamb boxes available to purchase at the Festival, and will be running a draw for someone to win a box.’
Elaine Taylor started Taylor Made Cakes 18 months ago after offering a pledge to make a child’s birthday cake at a school mhelliah. She said: ‘I've mainly been baking children's character cakes and having three young children is great for ideas. Minions and Frozen-themed cakes at the moment seem to be the most requested.’
Isle of Man Goats is home to more than 160 goats producing top quality Boer goat meat and Manx Mohair luxury yarn. ‘Manx Mohair has moved on from selling natural coloured yarn and has recently launched a stunning range of colours,’ said Clare Lewis. ‘These are all dyed at the farm (in the kitchen) using professional grade textile dyes. Manx Mohair will be launching knitting kits at the Festival, and we hope to have available knitting wool from a local pure bred flock of Romneys. If this goes well then we will be expanding into other local pure bred sheep yarns. We’ve also decided to host a “Kidding Chaos” event – details and booking forms will be available at the Festival.’
The Festival is open from 10am to 5pm; adult admission costs £3, children under 16 free. Free Park & ride from Noble’s Park on Saturday.