PERHAPS nowhere else in the world are bite-size molluscs closer to a nation’s heart than in the Isle of Man.
The Manx Queenie, the local name for queen scallops, is a key culinary character in the hearts, fishing nets and menus of Mann, a fact celebrated by the Isle of Man Queenie Festival later this month.
Following last year’s sun-kissed weekend event, which attracted thousands to events in Port Erin and Port St Mary, the festival returns in 2012 between June 29 and July 1, bringing with it its three days of entertainment, marine activities, local heritage and fantastic seafood.
As a community event, the Queenie Festival showcases sustainable Manx produce, culture, wildlife and the Isle of Man’s beautiful seascape. As in previous years, the Friday evening Sure Beach Party in Port Erin will kick off festivities with live music and giveaways.
The beach party is free, runs from 6pm until 11pm and includes local musicians and guest appearances from the likes of Rory Malone, a teenage singer/song writer from Tauranga, New Zealand, a seafood barbecue and the ‘Mackerel Dash’, ‘Snorkel Safari’ and ‘Beach Olympics’.
After Friday the festival moves to Port St Mary harbour and Chapel Bay for a busy weekend programme.
Visitors can try out scuba diving, watch the Trawler Race and Manx Mile Swim, see cooking demonstrations from top chefs or try out plates of fresh seafood.
Notable London chefs due to appear include Simon Wadham, from Rivington Grill in Shoreditch, Marcus Verberne, from Roast in Borough Market, and 2009 Masterchef winner Mat Follas, while Pascal Proyart of One-O-One (described in Harden’s Guide as ‘quite simply the best fish restaurant in the UK’) will be visiting to demonstrate how to prepare and cook queenies in the Relish Cookery Theatre on the quay on Saturday and Sunday and will also be involved in the Seafood Extravaganza on the Saturday evening.
Also throughout the weekend will be live marine-life touch tanks, a food producers’ village, arts and crafts stalls, model boats and more live music, including the Ceilidh on the Quay event on the Alfred Pier in Port St Mary, which has a line-up including local favourites the Manx Calor Gas Band and multi-instrumentalist duo Strengyn, alongside visiting folk act The Demon Barbers.
Tickets for the ceilidh are £10, available from Peter Norris Music, Douglas, Celtic Gold in Peel, Thompson Travel in Port Erin and Island Seafare in Port St Mary, call 834494.
To find out more about how you can get involved in Queenie Festival 2012, contact Tim Croft on 834494, email email@example.com or see www.queeniefestival.com