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NORTHERN IRELAND YEAR OF AWARDS

February 7 2017

In association with

Celebrating the cream of the industry

Our food and drink sector enjoyed a glittering celebration of achievements in the recent Year of Food and Drink

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Awards host Sarah Travers with Hilary McClintock, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council. Derry~Londonderry and the North West was the top winner, taking the Destination Delicious award

HAT a night! The first Tourism NI Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards in association with the Belfast Telegraph saw Derry~Londonderry and the North West crowned the big winner for promoting the area as a foodie destination. And locations from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon to Comber, the Causeway Coast and the Sperrins were also celebrated for their contribution through tours and events to Tourism NI’s 2016 Year of Food and Drink. Around 300 guests attended the black-tie gala, hosted by broadcaster Sarah Travers. Terence Brannigan, chairman of Tourism NI, said it was “delighted” to join forces with the Belfast Telegraph to hold the awards. “Food is a vital part of any tourism experience; to the visitor it is as important as accommodation, culture and scenery. “Our Year of Food and Drink was established to highlight, celebrate and capitalise on the huge range of wonderful food and drink stories.” Welcoming guests, Belfast Telegraph managing director Richard McClean said that while 2016 had passed, the legacy of the Year of Food and Drink would continue. And he said he hoped that the event would be the first of many NI Food and Drink Awards in years to come. “We are here to make a

simple point and that is to remind ourselves that the year of food and drink was the ignition key to a much longer term commitment to the sector,” Mr McClean said. And he said the signs for the future of the sector were “very good”. “Our dairy, beef, pork and poultry exports are well established economic success stories. Close behind them are the fast developing seafood and produce industries carving for themselves an international reputation for excellence.” Guests at Thursday’s celebration were served a sumptuous, fivecourse banquet, planned and prepared by Culloden Hotel head chef Paul McKnight. Each course was served with a locally-brewed craft beer. And while Londonderry won the top award, products from Mash Direct’s Crispy Vegetable Bake to Lough Neagh eels were also feted. Tourism NI was the awards’ main sponsor, while categories were sponsored by catering firm Sodexo, Invest NI, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Spar, Moy Park and Food NI. Mr McClean added: “We couldn’t run awards like these without the help of our sponsors and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for their support. Our title sponsor Tourism NI really has been the driving force behind making Northern Ireland an exciting destination for food and drink.”

SEE INSIDE FOR OUR 12-PAGE GUIDE TO THE AWARDS


Belfast Telegraph | February 7 2017

2 | NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards

Welcome O

VER the last 12 months we have come to understand the power of our food and drink, how it can engage and inspire visitors and how it can give them a real flavour of Northern Ireland. Tourism NI has therefore been delighted to partner with the Belfast Telegraph to help build on the legacy of 2016 through the NI Year of Food and Drink Awards. Food is a vital part of any tourism experience; to the visitor it is as important as accommodation, culture and scenery. Our Year of Food and Drink was established to highlight, celebrate and capitalise on the huge range of wonderful food and drink stories, produce and products that permeate this part of the world, but in delivery its impact and achievements have surpassed all expectations. Farmers, processors, suppliers, bakers, butchers, micro-brewers and distillers united with chefs, restaurants, hotels, cafés, pubs, shopkeepers, supermarkets, local authorities and many more to create and array of events, put out their stories and promote their offers, all working together to play a part in making this initiative such a success. From a tourism perspective I am delighted that one of the key outcomes has been an increase in new food experiences. At the outset, the target was to deliver 10 new food and drink experiences over the year, but such was the enthusiasm and creativity unleashed during the year that 17 were created, with one of them rated as a five-star food tour experience by Tourism NI. More such experiences are in the pipeline and there is no doubt that in the future this will fuel further improvements in visitor satisfaction and visitor spend.

What we ate

Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism NI I would like to see the industry build on the solid successes of last year and eventually arrive at a point where every year is a Year of Food and Drink. To do that we must renew all efforts to use food and drink in tandem with our best tourism assets, events and initiatives to make sure all those who come to stay here have a great experience. 2016 was an excellent year for tourism on many fronts, not just in food and drink, and the result is a now a tremendous platform to build and strengthen our aims for the future. 2017 must be a year to press on to keep our culinary reputation, our food and drink culture and its place in the tourism economy firmly on the menu, so that the achievements of the Year of Food and Drink endure.

P

UTTING food on the table for 350 guests who work at the coal face of the Northern Ireland food sector is a daunting task. When 350 foodies are taking a forensic interest in the provenance of the food, how it has been treated and what’s been done with it, then the pressure really is on. And when you have backers who include the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Food NI, Spar NI, Invest NI, Tourism NI, Sodexo and Moy Park, all willing to give whatever it takes to make this the greatest showcase of the year, whatever is on the table for that one meal, will be remembered, discussed, analysed and reported back for days, weeks and months afterwards. So what were the final choices of menu for the night? First, you have to settle on what the majority will like. It’s not that easy to determine this! How do you discriminate between pork, lamb or beef, or chicken or duck, or fish or seafood? How do you manage the preferences people may have (dietary requirements are easy: but who prefers seabream or seabass, or beef or veal? This is the hard part)? Following lengthy deliberations and arguments which went on for days among the organisers – the judges were kept well away from these discussions for their own safety – the five course dinner eventually agreed was as follows:

✲ Appetiser

A surprise sardine tin: lift the lid and inside was hot smoked Glenarm organic salmon created by North Coast Smokehouse a quenelle of celeriac remoulade and a crispy, paper-thin leaf of Donaghadee dulse. Gorgeous with a glass of Northbound Brewery “Kolsch” style Number 8 beer.

✲ Starter

Cheeky chicken terrine buried beneath bright green comber leek jelly. A soldier of Irwin’s Nutty Krust stood guard and the whole lot was sprinkled with Crawford’s granola baked in Broighter Gold truffle-flavoured oil. The radish and peashoots added sharpness. Yardsman Belfast Pale Ale provided the lubrication.

✲ Main

From left, Michele Shirlow of Food NI with awards judges Georgina Campbell, Charles Campion, Professor Una McMahon Beattie and Joris Minne, and Susie Brown, director of Tourism NI

Jason Hamilton of Carnbrooke is creating great meat and the braised short rib of beef, puff pastry hat and smoked Abernethy butter mash, caramelised onions, field mushroom and Belfast Black jus provided ballast for the evening. Maggie’s Leap IPA from Kilkeel’s Whitewater brewery lightened the load.

✲ Dessert

A tribute to the early flights from Shannon to New York, the Northern Irish Coffee was actually a panna cotta with Farmview Dairies vanilla cream, brown sugar crumble and the shortbread made famous by the Culloden. Add a drop of the Dunville VRPX Whiskey to complete the picture.

✲ Tea & Coffee

Who else but Thompson’s Family Tea would be allowed near the place? Petit fours featured adventurous pairings: La Coquine Young Buck cheese with Port; Blackthorn Fudge and Bushmills whiskey fudge; Chocolate Manor Yellowman sphere and a wobbling little mass of orange and Shortcross Gin jelly.

Mash Direct, which is based in Comber, joined awards host Sarah Travers and Ards & North Down Borough Council representatives to celebrate the area’s double award win


February 7 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards | 3

âœ˛DestinationDelicious

Sarah Travers, host of the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards, with Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism NI and Richard McClean, Managing Director of Belfast Telegraph, presenting food producers, businesses and the council of Derry~Londonderry and the North West area with the Destination Delicious Award WINNER: Derry~Londonderry and the North West

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon

This is the award which the judging panel unanimously agreed was to go to a destination which has gone the extra mile to make its food producers, chefs, restaurants, farmers, fishermen, bakers and citizens the food and hospitality ambassadors for their area. By demonstrating true collaboration and hard work this has brought them closer to the creation of a vibrant and compelling foodie destination. Judges noted that Derry~Londonderry had evidently demonstrated how to successfully collaborate in a collective bid to progress the city and county into a food and hospitality destination for tourists and locals to enjoy. It had also succeeded in its role to help people learn more about local food and food producers. There was a clear effort to put local producers and restaurants on the map through an expert, collaborative approach.

Judges noted that the city of Armagh and its surrounding districts had thoughtfully developed a story about what is best about the ancient ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. They felt it was an initiative which succeeded because of the collective approach to telling the stories of local produce and bringing tourists to the area. Through these stories they had created a real sense of place with a clear plan for the future. Judges felt it had made huge gains from an almost standing start as a destination for hospitality.

THE NORTH WEST HAS SHOWN TRUE COLLABORATION Representatives from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, which was highly commended in the top category of Destination Delicious for its work to promote the area during the 2016 Year of Food and Drink


Belfast Telegraph | February 7 2017

4 | NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards

✲BestFoodStory sponsored by Invest NI

The Food Heartland Initiative, launched in January 2016, has collaborated local producers with key industry ambassadors to promote, support and develop the thriving agrifood and hospitality sectors in the borough. The initiative champions the area’s passionate producers, including two PGI products: the Armagh Bramley Apple and Lough Neagh Eel, sharing their stories locally and beyond, to further attract visitors and commerce to the area. The judges said: “This is how collaborations are born. Providing chefs and producers with a place to meet, the forums also oversee and collaborate with events, whose aim is to transform Armagh into a top foodie destination.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Walled Garden at Helen’s Bay Born of a neglected Victorian garden, the Walled Garden at Helen’s Bay grows the highest quality seasonal, organic heritage vegetables, which make it into the kitchens of some of Northern Ireland’s finest restaurants. Gardener David Love Cameron has been working with local businesses, markets and broadcasters to create platforms to tell the story of what the garden is all about – flavour, variety, freshness, conservation, heritage and organic growing.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Launch of Belfast Met’s Linen Lounge, Yard & Scullery Restaurants, of Belfast Met’s Linen Lounge, Yard & Scullery Restaurants

THE HEARTLAND FORUMS PROVIDED CHEFS AND PRODUCERS WITH A PLACE TO MEET AND WERE ALSO A WAY OF HOLDING FOODIE EVENTS IN THE AREA Sarah Travers, host at the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards, with John Hood from Invest NI (third from right), presenting Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Council’s award for Best Food Story with the Armagh Food Heartland Forums to (l to r) Brian Irwin, Roger Wilson, Simon Dougan and Colin McCusker

The team from Belfast Met collect their certificate after they were highly commended in the Best Food Category for the launch of the college’s restaurant, Linen Lounge

WINNER: Food Heartland Forums, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

Belfast Met has been teaching the city to cook since 1906, and as part of the college’s 100th anniversary, the Met’s new restaurants – Linen Lounge, Yard and Scullery – were launched, telling the rich food and cooking story of the college and the city in which it resides. The specially commissioned Made at the Met cookbook, curated by celebrated chefs and lecturers promoting local suppliers and seasonal ingredients was launched to further tell the story of Northern Ireland’s food heroes.

The list of finalists ✲ Food Heartland Forums, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

✲ Wild About Food, Mid & East Antrim

Borough Council in partnership with Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council

✲ Launch of Belfast Met’s Linen Lounge, Yard & Scullery Restaurants, of Belfast Met’s Linen Lounge, Yard & Scullery Restaurants

✲ The Walled Garden at Helens Bay ✲ Slemish Market Supper Club ✲ The story of the Lough Neagh Eel, Lough Neagh Fishermens co-operative society

David and Rachel Love Cameron’s The Walled Garden at Helen’s Bay was also highly commended in the Best Food Story category


February 7 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards | 5

✲BestNIFoodEventorFestival sponsored by DAERA

WINNER: Legenderry Food Festival, Derry City & Strabane District Council In their own words, the Legenderry festival is “a celebration of everything that makes this place taste so good”, and was enjoyed by over 36,000 visitors in 2016. A highlight of the two day festival was a celebration of the recipes and methods used by participating chefs and producers that had been passed down through generations, highlighting Heritage and Traditions month in the year of food and drink’s calendar. The judges said: “The Legenderry Food Festival was a massive success and there was a huge effort from all involved to make it work. The festival transformed the perception of the North West in the Republic of Ireleand and further afield. The entry shows tireless effort and collaboration.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Speciality Food Fair, Moira, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council

Held in the picturesque town of Moira, the Speciality Food Fair took place during Love NI meat month in the Year of Food & Drink calendar, celebrating a diverse range of specialist meat suppliers as well as 50 local food producers from the area. The fair has established itself as a key date in the calendar for the Council, ensuring its legacy for coming years

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Comber Earlies Food Festival, Ards & North Down Borough Council Telling a vibrant story of the famous potatoes known as Comber Earlies, the annual Comber Earlies Festival celebrated the year of food and drink with a bespoke food demo kitchen, commissioned by Ards and North Down Borough Council, where Comber Earlies were a key part of each dish. With a hay bale picnic, artisan food stalls, street theatre and kids’ activities, the festival was a collaborative effort for all to enjoy.

Sarah Travers, host of the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards, with Noel Lavery, Permenant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) presenting Ald. Hilary McClintock, Mayor Derry City and Strabane District Council and Mary Blake, the council’s Tourism Manager, with the award for Best NI Food Event & Festival for the Legenderry Food Festival

The list of finalists ✲ Speciality Food Fair, Moira ✲ Comber Earlies Food Festival, Ards & North Down Borough Council

✲ Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2016, Ulster Farmers’ Union

✲ Tesco Taste Festival 2016, Tesco Northern Ireland

✲ Legenderry Food Festival, Derry City & Strabane District Council

✲ Armagh Festival of Food & Cider, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

Ards and North Down Borough Council was highly commended in the Best NI Food Event or Festival category for the Comber Earlies Food Festival

Moira, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council was also highly commended in the Best NI Food Event or Festival for Moira’s Speciality Food Fair


Belfast Telegraph | February 7 2017

6 | NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards

✲BestNILocalMarket sponsored by Belfast Telegraph

WINNER: Comber Farmers’ Market, Comber Regeneration Community Partnership After a surge in the number of food producers in the Comber area, the Comber Farmers’ Market has been the ideal platform for farmers and producers to showcase their products and for visitors to the market to experience and taste the variety and quality of food from the area. Partnerships with local businesses to provide new opportunities, its social impact to ensure inclusion and a destination for all ages, not to mention the funds the market has raised for the local church, has made the Comber Farmers’ Market a success. Judge said: “Comber Farmers’ Market went from one potato named locally to becoming a food hub, attracting business and consumers by developing its identity as a food destination. Visitors now come monthly for specific foods on offer.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Naturally North Coast & Glens This collective market takes what is great about the North Coast & Glens and beyond, and brings it to the masses. The touring artisan market is a collaborative venture made up of growers, food producers, artists, designers and crafters, telling the story of their area through 45 different markets in 2016, which celebrated the year of food and drink’s monthly themes from brewing and distilling to legacy and learning.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Inns Market, The Inns Newtownbreda, produced by Babble The Inns complex is the hub of Newtownbreda, and in 2014, the landlords established The Inns Market which aims to tell the story of Northern Ireland’s artisanal producers to locals, whilst bringing added custom to the area. The collaborative approach has ensured the success of the market, which, in 2016 welcomed thousands of visitors thanks to its enhanced activity, further partnering with the local schools, churches, retailers, councils and organisations to bring the best market experience to the area.

COMBER FARMERS’ MARKET MADE THE AREA A PLACE TO VISIT FOR ALL AGES OF PEOPLE Sarah Travers, host of the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards, and Jackie Reid from the Belfast Telegraph (second left), present (l to r) Roy Murray, Alderman Deborah Girvan, Mayor Ards and North Down, Kirsty Atkinson, and Mike Moore with Comber Regeneration Community Partnership’s award for Best NI Local Market for Comber Farmers’ Market

Shauna McFall and Caroline Redmond accept Naturally North Coast & Glens’ certificate after it was highly commended in the Best NI Local Market category

The list of finalists ✲ Naturally North Coast & Glens ✲ Campus Food Markets, QUB ✲ St. George’s Market, Belfast, Belfast City Council

✲ Inns Market, Newtownbreda ✲ Causeway Speciality Market Coleraine, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council ✲ Comber Farmers’ Market, Comber Regeneration Community Partnership

Inns Market in Newtownbreda was also highly commended in the Best NI Local Market category


February 7 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards | 7

✲FoodInnovation sponsored by Food NI

WINNER: Crispy Vegetable Bakes, Mash Direct Mash Direct are on a mission to let the rest of the world in on a secret we’ve known all along – that vegetables from Northern Ireland are the best. In the past year, the company has developed its award winning Crispy Vegetable Bake, created from the finest local carrots, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes, baked together inside a gluten-free crumb. The final ingredients came from listening to taste test feedback, collaborating with over 100,000 customers to get the product just right. Judges said: “Gluten-free, meat-free and great marketing support. This is a great example and answers all criteria and questions regarding innovation.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Kitchen, Henderson Wholesale Following extensive research and development through collaborations with Ulster University’s FACT Suite, and partnering with over 40 local food suppliers, Henderson Wholesale launched The Kitchen, a new fresh and convenient meal solution in October 2016. Sold through the company’s network of stores across Northern Ireland, the range has been developed with value, convenience and freshness in mind with consumer taste testing, and continued collaboration with suppliers from across all counties.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Smoked Lough Neagh Eel, Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Smoked Lough Neagh Eel was launched in April 2016 by the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society in collaboration with O’Chatten Smokery in Craigavon. Already renowned throughout Europe as a superb product, the fish used to be shipped to Holland for smoking, before coming back to Northern Ireland for sale. Now, thanks to this innovative partnership with O’Chatten Smokery, positioned near the lough shore, a completely local Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status product is available which has reduced food miles and increased authenticity and quality, boosting its popularity on its own shores.

Sarah Travers, host of the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards, with Michele Shirlow from Food NI (centre), presenting Tracy Hamilton, Tim Acheson and Clare Forster from Mash Direct with the award for Food Innovation for their Crispy Vegetable Bakes

MASH DIRECT HAS USED THE FINEST VEGETABLES GROWN IN NORTHERN IRELAND TO MAKE ITS CRISPY VEGETABLE BAKES

The list of finalists ✲ Himalayan Salt Aged Beef, Hannan Meats

✲ The Kitchen, Henderson Group ✲ Food Heartland Initiative, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

✲ Smoked Lough Neagh Eel, Lough Neagh Fishermens co-operative society

✲ Local Quail Production, Ballinteer Farm Quail

Cathy Chauhan of Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society, which was highly commended in the category of Food Innovation

Leanne Rice of Henderson Group with a certificate for ready meal range The Kitchen, highly commended for Food Innovation

✲ Crispy Vegetable Bakes, Mash Direct


Belfast Telegraph | February 7 2017

8 | NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards

✲GrowingfortheFuture sponsored by SPAR NI

Sarah Travers, host of the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards with Paddy Doody from SPAR NI (centre), present (l to r) Brian McDermott, Leo Murphy and Dr Fergal Tuffy from the North West Regional College with the Growing for the Future award for its Foodovation Centre WINNER: Foodovation Centre, North West Regional College

In summer 2016, the North West Regional College invested £500,000 in a state-of-the-art food innovation centre in Derry~Londonderry. The centre would support entrepreneurs, artisan producers and small and medium enterprises to develop new food and drink products for the market. Managed by chef Brian McDermott, the centre provides facilities for food production, food photography, taste testing and barista coffee training to name a few, ensuring the highest standards of hospitality for the future in the North West. Judges said: “The Foodovation centre provides the industry with a huge resource for learning and growth. Judges were impressed with the business support centre link with the industry through chef Brian McDowell”.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Journey to Market Programme, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council

THE FOODOVATION CENTRE ENSURES THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF HOSPITALITY FOR THE FUTURE IN THE NORTH WEST

Seizing the opportunity to further develop the area’s reputation as a food destination, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council further developed their Journey to Market Programme during the year of food and drink in 2016 to enhance opportunities for Causeway Speciality Market traders. So far, the programme has helped 40 future stall holders from the area develop the skills needed to set up and grow their own food producing business by providing mentoring, skills development, networking and trade events.

Julienne Elliott of Causeway Coast and Glens, highly commended in the Growing for Future category

The list of finalists ✲ Journey to Market Programme, Causeway Glens & Coast Borough Council ✲ Food Heartland Initiative, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

✲ Foodovation Centre, North West Regional College


February 7 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards | 9

✲RootstoMarket sponsored by Sodexo

WINNER: Food Heartland Initiative, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council launched the Food Heartland Initiative as part of the year of food and drink to highlight the significance of food and drink production in the area, and the importance of the sector to the local economy. Collaborating with local producers, chefs and businesses created a strong brand which has ultimately enhanced visitor experience and increased export sales. The judges said: “This entry shows a concerted effort to build clusters and get to market. There is a clear strategic plan for the next three years.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Cavanagh Free Range Eggs Ltd With the help of Invest NI, Cavanagh set about rebranding in 2016 and embarked on a collaborative campaign to launch their eggs in two multiple retailers. Partnering with Food NI, Tourism NI, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) and other organisations and councils gave the company a platform to effectively tell the story of their free range eggs from Co Fermanagh that are making their way around the world.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Causeway Coast & Glens Food Network, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council

Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council set up the Causeway Coast & Glens Food Network in 2016, with a view to provide a platform for local food and drink suppliers to showcase their products through various events and initiatives, while simultaneously supporting the network through training and networking opportunities. This double approach has started to build the area’s reputation as a culinary destination, building its tourist destination status.

Sarah Travers, host of the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards, with Suzanne Pollock from Sodexo (third from left), presenting (l to r) Colin McCusker, Brian Irwin, Roger Wilson and Sarah Jane Macdonald of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council with the Roots to Market award for their Food Heartland Initiative

FOOD HEARTLAND FORUMS CREATED A REALLY STRONG BRAND WHICH HAS ENHANCED VISITOR EXPERIENCE AND IMPROVED EXPORT SALES

Eileen and John Hall of Cavanagh Eggs, highly commended in the Roots to Market category

Joanne McLaughlin from Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, highly commended in the Roots to Market category

The list of finalists ✲ Food Heartland Initiative, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council

✲ Getting the branding right to market our product, Cavanagh Free Range Eggs Ltd

✲ Causeway Coast & Glens Food Network, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council

✲ NI Export Drive, Indie Fude


Belfast Telegraph | February 7 2017

10 | NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards

✲BestNITours&Trails sponsored by Tourism NI

This innovative collaboration between Far and Wild, a cycle tour guide, and up to 10 small food providers in the local area, has become the most exciting way to experience a local food destination. Each element of the tour provides a fascinating insight into the area’s food history, from small eateries to producers and farmsteads all providing their own unique experiences for visitors. Judges said: “Far and Wild have shown us how to turn a culinary desert into an oasis. Already naturally beautiful, food was never the area’s strong point – now it is.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Belfast Food Tour, Taste & Tour Ltd. Having recently been awarded a fivestar visitor attraction rating from Tourism NI, Belfast Food Tour guides visitors on four hour trail through Belfast city, sampling no less than 25 local products from delis, corner shops, markets and pubs along the way. Organisers credit collaboration as the key to the success of the tour, having established partnerships with Belfast City Council, St George’s Market and its traders, and local festivals and organisations.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: ‘Catch and Sea’ in collaboration with The Causeway Lass and Babushka, The Harbour Portrush; Causeway Coast Foodie Tours In an exciting collaboration between fishing boat The Causeway Lass, Babushka and The Harbour, Portrush, Catch and Sea is a chance to board the fishing boat, and catch your breakfast which is then served up with other local ingredients from Babushka café on the South Pier of the Harbour. The boat tour takes in key tourism features, whilst educating visitors about seafood that can be caught, all while enjoying a cuppa and the sunrise.

Sarah Travers, host of the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards, with John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI, presenting Far & Wild with the award for Best NI Tours & Trails for Cycle Sperrins to Lawrence McBride and Kevin Hickey

George Nelson, Wendy Gallagher and Richard Connor from Causeway Coast Foodie Tours, highly commended in the Best NI Tours & Trails category

WINNER: Cycle Sperrins, Far & Wild

The list of finalists ✲ Ballycastle Food Tour, North Coast Walking Tours

✲ Belfast Food Tour, Taste & Tour NI Ltd. ✲ Tayto Tours, Tayto NI Ltd. ✲ Cycle Sperrins, Far and Wild ✲ Woodland and Whiskey Tour, Ards and North Down Borough Council

✲ ‘Catch and Sea’ in collaboration with

The Causeway Lass and Babushka, The Harbour Portrush, Causeway Coast Foodie Tours

Phil Ervine and Caroline Wilson from Taste & Tour, highly commended in the Best NI Tours & Trails category


February 7 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

NI YEAR of FOOD & DRINK Awards | 11 WINNER: Eel-Eat, Lough Neagh Partnership

✲BestMarketingAchievement sponsored by Moy Park & Food NI

Eel-Eat was created by the Lough Neagh Partnership to launch the Lough Neagh Eel into the restaurant industry across Northern Ireland during the 2016 Year of Food and Drink. The objective was to secure the legacy of the fish beyond 2016 through chefs and eateries embracing the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) product. Through a targeted campaign, consumers were educated about the product to transform perceptions, while chefs and restaurants cooked up the delicacy in over 50 restaurants across the country. As a result, Eel sales in Northern Ireland are up 30%, with a clear change in consumer perceptions. The judges said: “The entry gave a compelling argument for this category. The transformation of a product lauded abroad and ignored here in Northern Ireland is a triumph.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Tayto Taste of Home, Tayto NI Ltd. To celebrate the NI Year of Food & Drink, Tayto NI launched the Taste of Home campaign which invited both locals and expats to vote for their ‘flavourite’ crisp flavours, developed from tastes of home including the Ulster Fry, vegetable roll, curry chip and brown lemonade. The campaign firmly established Tayto’s passion for local traditions, giving its fans a voice to choose a new, NI inspired flavour. Mainly carried out digitally, the campaign reached thousands with engaging and nostalgic content, resulting in Curry Chip being voted a new flavour that has now gone into permanent distribution.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Launching the SPAR enjoy local meat range, Henderson Wholesale In May 2016, the Henderson Group, owners of the SPAR franchise in Northern Ireland, partnered with NI’s finest farmers and butchers to develop a range of meats under the brand’s fresh range, enjoy local. The marketing plan, which comprised of a dedicated web page for the brand to host creative content, sharable and engaging content for social media which showed the transparency of local sourcing and collaboration with suppliers, and an effective PR plan drove wholesale sales of meat in both value and volume, delivered organic reach online and provided an effective return on investment.

Sarah Travers, host of the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards with Aisling Graham (left) from Moy Park presenting the Lough Neagh Partnership with the award for Best Marketing Achievement for the Eel-Eat project to Cathy Chauhan and Emer Kearney

EEL-EAT LED TO A 30% INCREASE IN SALES OF EELS AND A REAL CHANGE OF PERCEPTIONS

The list of finalists ✲ Launching the SPAR enjoy local meat range, Henderson Wholesale

✲ Fermanagh Restaurant Week, Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism

✲ Launch of Belfast Met’s Linen Lounge, Yard & Scullery Restaurants, of Belfast Met’s Linen Lounge, Yard & Scullery Restaurants

✲ Developing a Multi-Million Pound Meat Supply Business with Lidl Across Europe, Eurostock Food Group

Tayto, represented by Bob Brown (centre) with John Hood and Nigel Hardy, was highly commended in the Best Marketing Achievement category

Henderson Group, represented by Bronagh Henderson, was highly commended for its Enjoy Local Meat marketing campaign

✲ Tayto Taste of Home, Tayto NI Ltd. ✲ Eel-Eat, Lough Neagh Partnership


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Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink Awards

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