We are delighted to announce that Food and travel writers Patrick Hanlon and Russell Alford, better known as ‘GastroGays’ have joined us as Brand Ambassadors for the coming months.
Based in Drogheda, the pair have a local knowledge, pride and pure grá for the food and drink produce - and restaurants, hotels and bars - of the region and together with Boyne Valley Flavours will help spotlight and support BVF members on and offline throughout the rest of 2019 and beyond. Beginning this week, Patrick and Russell and the BVF team are embarking on the first of a number of key site visits to produce content and to meet with key players, whilst consulting on how to amplify the Boyne Valley Flavours ethos and events.
Began in 2013 as a hobby food-based blog, GastroGays has developed in the last six years into a nationally, if not internationally known brand name in the digital sphere. The pair have been regular contributors to the likes of RTÉ, Irish Times, The Journal, TodayFM, The Six O’Clock Show and have just joined Newstalk as regular food tourism contributors on Moncrieff.
Winner of all-Ireland Blog of the Year in 2017, the media-savvy pair have spent the last 18 months amping up their digital presence and product whilst producing a hugely popular new food podcast Chew The Fat. Counting Nigella Lawson and Donal Skehan among their guests, three female Boyne Valley food/drink producers (Marita Collier of Drummond House, Blánaid O’Hare of Listoke Distillery, Maria Flynn of Ballymakenny Farm) were featured on the very first episode of the production. Their first live podcast episode took place just a few weeks ago in the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin with three more local producer/retailers –– Michael Finegan of Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese, Seamus Daly of Quintessential Wines and Eoin Bird of The Wooded Pig.
Having travelled extensively across Europe and making their way beyond, the pair know a thing or two about what makes a region stand out, what makes a destination a “destination” and how food and drink is leading the way with the current wave of food tourism. Their experience will be invaluable to the Boyne Valley Flavours brand as they continue to develop their food strategy which began in 2016 and is designed as a 5 year plan. The GastroGays will specifically focus on showcasing the Place On A Plate initiative which was created to encourage businesses to adopt an ethos of offering fresh, locally sourced, seasonal food on their menu and just as importantly, make sure they are telling their customers about it.
Their official involvement began with a visit to BVF member The Glyde Inn situated in the scenic village of Annagassan in County Louth. The restaurant offers the freshest of local and seasonal produce especially seafood. During their visit Patrick and Russell experienced locally caught razor clams and clams, Clogherhead langoustines and hake along with local oysters. To recognize their involvement in BVF’s Place On A Plate initiative BVF presented Conor O’Neill proprietor of The Glyde Inn with a framed copy of our illustrated producers map which highlights all the BVF members across the Boyne Valley Region.
This announcement happily coincides with Fáilte Ireland’s newly launched Taste the Island campaign which will see many events taking place across the Boyne Valley including SAMHAIN- a celebration 5000 years of Food & Culture, past, present and future, with an array of culinary contributors, taking place this November 2nd & 3rd in Kells, Co. Meath. The Gastro Gays will feature throughout the 2 day celebration.
Patrick Hanlon, GastroGays-
“What we do in our writing, interviewing and broadcasting in general is shining a light on what’s special. Finding what makes a destination different and unique, what makes it incredibly individual –– that’s worth shouting about,” Patrick says, adding “we are absolutely thrilled to be working with the Boyne Valley Flavours team. Having personally grown up in Drogheda, it’s with great pride and interest myself and Russell take on this role, sharing about the richness of produce the Boyne Valley has and demonstrating what a wonderful food destination it is.” Patrick says.
“Food tourism is fuelling the wider tourism sector right now and the Boyne Valley is perfectly placed for visitors to eat their way around this region, from #PlaceOnAPlate to farm tours and markets to entertainment that goes hand in hand with food and drink like the upcoming Púca Festival, the Boyne Valley Flavours’ time to shine has only just begun and the future is blazingly bright,” Russell adds.
Bronagh Conlon, Chairman of BVF-
“We are delighted to welcome the GastroGays as our ambassadors. They have always been champions of Boyne Valley produce and are absolutely passionate about locally produced food and drink making them an ideal fit with our values.”
The Place On A Plate project is supported under the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Rural Innovation and Development Fund.
The Boyne Valley is home to a bountiful supply of passionate farmers, food and drinks producers, chefs and eateries whose passion is to bring the flavours of our landscape to your table. To understand, you must experience!
Thursday, 2nd July 2020
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Thursday, 18th June 2020
Tuesday, 16th June 2020