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Sweets for a great cause at Chocolate Festival

October 12th, 2016

Thousands of foodies had their sweet teeth satisfied last weekend as the 2016 Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival celebrated a chocolate-filled two days at Killyleagh Castle.  Sponsored by artisan producer Finnebrogue, this year’s festival was the largest one yet, with 10 chocolatiers and nearly 40 local artisan food producers setting up camp in the festival marquee for the family-friendly festival.

Newry, Mourne & Down Chairperson Gillian Fitzpatrick samples local La Coquine chocolates with historian Clive Scoular, dressed as Sir Hans Sloane, at the Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival, Killyleagh.  This year’s festival saw thousands enjoy the very best of Northern Irish artisan producers and award-winning chocolatiers against the picturesque background of Killyleagh Castle and the surrounding village of Killyleagh, hometown to Sir Hans Sloane, who is credited with bringing the recipe for drinking chocolate to Europe.

In spite of the festival’s rainy start on Saturday, organisers welcomed a record turnout to the festival, which began Friday night with the Hans Sloane Chocolate Ball.  On Saturday and Sunday guests from across the UK, Ireland, and wider Europe enjoyed entertainment and live cooking demonstrations in the Food NI kitchen while sampling chocolatey treats from some of Northern Ireland’s leading artisan producers.

“We are so delighted with the turnout at this year’s festival,” said Meave Davison, festival organising committee.  “Our committee is a team of volunteers with a common interest in keeping Sir Hans Sloane’s memory alive.  The festival, which happens every two years in Killyleagh, is also a fantastic way to raise money for our charity partner, the Cancer Fund for Children.  Donations are still coming in to the Festival committee following the Hans Sloane Chocolate Ball and Chocolate & Fine Food Festival, and we look forward to announcing the total sum raised for this fantastic cause in the coming weeks.”