Thousands of chocoholics and enthusiastic foodies from Northern Ireland and beyond are set to descend again this year on Killyleagh town centre to celebrate the 2016 Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival, 23rd – 25th September. Sponsored by artisan producer Finnebrogue, based in nearby Downpatrick and famous for their outstanding quality venison and sausages, among other favourites, this year’s festival will be the largest one yet, with over 15 chocolatiers and nearly 40 local artisan food producers scheduled to set up camp at the historic Killyleagh Castle for the weekend-long festival.
Founded in 2010 to celebrate Killyleagh’s most famous son, Hans Sloane, who was born in the village in 1660 and later became one of the most famous men of his time partially because of his development of milk chocolate, the biennial festival has grown from strength to strength and is now regarded as one of the leading events of its type in the UK and Ireland and a highlight of the summer calendar for locals in Killyleagh.
“Now in our 4th festival season, the committee is working tirelessly to ensure that this year’s Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival is the best one yet. With increased interest in our abundance of local produce and artisan suppliers with thanks to 2016’s Year of Food & Drink, our chocolate-themed festival stands as a unique event in this year’s events calendar,” said Meave Davison, festival committee member. “We look forward to welcoming guests coming from as close as Killyleagh and as far as mainland Europe who will share in this special festival.”
Joining the line-up of this year’s festival is Cancer Fund for Children, who have been confirmed as the beneficiary of this year’s fundraising activities. The leading local charity provides practical, emotional and financial support to children and young people affected by cancer and their families, and also offers therapeutic short breaks at Daisy Lodge in Newcastle, just a short drive from Killyleagh.
“We’re delighted to have partnered with this year’s Killyleagh Chocolate Festival,” said Gillian Creevy, Chief Executive of Cancer Fund for Children. “Beyond the essential medical care there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt. Our charity provides specialist services both at home and in the community, as well as therapeutic short breaks to families impacted by cancer. The children and families we support are at the heart of everything we do, and we are thrilled to be a part of such a family-friendly, wide-reaching event.”
The festival will kick off on Friday 23rd September with the Chocolate Ball which will take place on the grounds of the stunning Killyleagh Castle, one of Ireland’s longest-inhabited castles. Guests will be treated to a chocolate-rich menu prepared and curated by the Chef Simon Dougan of Yellow Door and Finnebrogue consultant development chef Chris Burt, followed by world class entertainment set in a stunning marquee against the backdrop of Killyleagh Castle.
The three-day celebration will continue on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th September with the Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival, where guests can enjoy the range of chocolatiers’ displays and market stalls, taste and purchase local artisan produce, and be entertained by the activities for the whole family, offering serious fun for all in 2016!
The Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival kindly acknowledges the support of Tourism Northern Ireland, Newry Mourne & Down District Council, and Food NI in the staging of this year’s event as well as the support of sponsors Bryan Somers Travel, Finlay Wealth Management, Jeep, Killyleagh Development Association, Mash Direct, Roskyle, and S.D. Bell’s.
Ticket prices vary, based on events running throughout the Festival. For further information on all events taking place and to book tickets visit www.hanssloane.com or https://www.ticketea.co.uk/tickets-the-hans-sloane-chocolate-festival/ or follow the Killyleagh Chocolate Festival on Twitter @KillyleaghChoc or facebook.com/KillyleaghChocFest.