If there’s one way to improve on a good walk, it’s to follow it up with a good lunch, and now Sligo can offer you the best of both!
Just last week, the well-known German-Sligo couple Gaby and Hans Wieland launched Sligo Food Tours, a chance for the public to sample different aspects of food on offer in Sligo, and with an additional outdoor walking angle.
“We have been involved in the food business for many years, but this is the first time we have thought of bringing tourists to several different locations at once, and give them a chance to work up a healthy appetite while they walk there,” says Gaby of the upcoming tours.
Starting in April, visitors will get the chance to see and taste Sligo’s real food offering, focussing on small local producers that put an emphasis on natural quality foods. The first tour will take place in Sligo town and will involve visiting 7/8 different eateries over 3 hours or so, tasting portions of food and beverage as they go.
“Walking is the easiest way to connect our culinary hot spots, you see more and it also helps digestion,” says Hans. “I guess it’s all part of the Slow Tourism and Slow Food movement. It also gives us the chance to prepare our guests on approaching the venues what they will be expecting when we get there.”
Those who take the tour – which will cost €60 inclusive of all food – will get to experience not just the different culinary aspects of Sligo, they will also find out about the nutritional value of food, how it is grown and prepared, and the broader context of the origins of the food we eat and the importance of sourcing organically-sourced produce.
Hans says that “having been food producers for over 25 years ourselves and having worked with restaurants and cafes and mentored many chefs in Sligo, we feel the strength of Sligo’s food scene is in being often a step ahead: Sligo had one of the first health food stores in Ireland in Tír na n-Óg, it has promoted seaweed through Prannie Rhatigan long before it became the Seaweed Capital of Ireland, we had fermentation festivals before it became trendy and now has even an award winning plant based cafe. It has also the first Irish Oyster Experience, Gaby says of the quality of healthy food we have on our doorstep.”
The tours will vary depending on what food is seasonal and available at the time, and what the audience participation and response is like. In addition, the tour will cater for visitors from abroad, and in particular for visitors from Germany, who can book a tour delivered in their native language. Already a second tour, entitled Wild Food Foraging Tour, has been arranged and bookings are going well.
And what do Hans and Gaby want the visitor to take from the tour? They both agree that “we hope people have a good time in good company, but most of all we hope the food does all the talking and our guests will remember their favourite Sligo dishes and drinks long after they have departed.”