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Wednesday 21st December 2016


Belfast Telegraph l DECEMBER 21 2016

Food sector set to go from strength to strength Simon Hamilton MLA Minister for the Economy


ood and drink is a vibra nt a nd prog ressive industr y telling our story and of the culture, heritage and landscape of Northern Ireland. Our fantastic array of produce and hospitality has always been here but in the past we haven’t let the world know about it as much as we should. With the Northern Ireland 2016 Year of Food and Drink we changed all of that. Led by Tourism Northern Ireland in partnership with Food NI, Invest Northern Ireland, local authorities and government departments, the Year of Food and Drink has celebrated gastronomy of all flavours, and businesses of all sizes, from small-scale producers to long-established favourites

Simon Hamilton MLA Minister for the Economy

such as Tayto and Bushmills. I would like to pay credit to the collaborations, the relationships and partnerships that have been created during the many workshops, promotions and festivals that have been held across the province in 2016. The legacy is surely going to be a new awareness of just how important local food and drink is to our economy, together with a renewed appreciation of our local brands and agri-food producers. This has been a year full of celebration, innovation, fresh thinking and well executed plans, and there is no danger of it all stopping at the end of December. We will continue to build on this momentum and carry on developing our reputation

John McGrillen, Chief Executive Tourism NI


he visitors loved it, the public loved it and the critics praised it – nobody is going to forget Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink in a hurry. It was an initiative designed to bring food and drink into the heart of our visitor offering, and I am pleased to say that the Year of Food and Drink has very much delivered on its aims. Indeed, 2016 has served up nothing but a major success for Northern Ireland tourism and everyone involved in food and drink. As each month came and went I was constantly encouraged at how enthusiastically the initiative was embraced within the industry, and how passionately it was implemented – in virtually every corner of the tourism, hospitality and food and drink sectors, both here at home as well as overseas. It is now poised to leave the legacy of a transformed appreciation of our local tastes, brands and culinary tal-

ent, together with a new understanding of just how significant local food and drink is to our tourism industry. Clearly, the Year of Food and Drink fed and watered us with the finest of local fare, however it also inspired industry action and consumer engagement in a great many refreshing, appetising and creative ways. As the year draws to a close, Tourism NI is therefore delighted to join the Belfast Telegraph to launch the Year of Food and Drink Awards and to celebrate the imagination and creativity among the taste-makers, experience-makers, innovators and marketers who worked so hard to make this year such a success. The awards will applaud the best of Northern Ireland’s food and drink and recognise the excellence, talent and collaborations that helped to put Northern Ireland firmly on the culinary map. I have no doubt they will help to ensure that this unforgettable year

leaves a lasting legacy. A great deal of momentum was created around the Year of Food and Drink branding and toolkits developed by Tourism NI. Together with the actions and abilities of those on the ground, and a multitude of partnerships, both well-established names and emerging businesses alike unified around the branding and showed boundless commitment to creativity and innovation in their marketing. There was a palpable sense that the entire tourism, food and drinks sectors were becoming advocates and marketers for Northern Ireland’s wonderful produce. Many initiatives delivered excellent outputs by working collaboratively to sell local food products, services, experiences and destinations, with increased sampling, excellent consumer engagement, strong sales and a new knowledge of food and drink quality and availability.

John McGrillen, Chief Executive Tourism NI

as a global centre for wholesome, delicious food and drink renowned for its pure, natural quality. With more and more people choosing Northern Ireland as a destination I believe the tourism industry and the local food sector will carry on going from strength to strength in the years ahead. Invest Northern Ireland will continue the focus on helping existing exporters win more business abroad and assisting new firms to export and explore the very real opportunities that exist outside Northern Ireland. On a personal level I hope this year has maybe encouraged people to try something new and sample some of the many different flavours Northern Ireland has to offer and I hope their gastronomic journey continues into 2017.


DECEMBER 21 2016 l Belfast Telegraph

NI cooking up more treats for 2017

2017 may be knocking on the door but that doesn’t mean the celebration of Northern Ireland’s world class food and drinks sector is drawing to a close. There are still plenty of opportunities to feast on the best of our home-grown and hand-made produce while enjoying plenty of craic.

Out to Lunch

First up is a highlight of every new year, the Out to Lunch Festival, which will see food lovers across Belfast spoilt for choice with a midday menu of entertainment from January 6-29. Most of the action takes place at The Black Box with other Cathedral Quarter venues also joining in and there are evening gigs as well for those who can’t escape their desks during the day. The eclectic mix of acts includes comedy, drama, opera, folk and trad music. Check out for details.

es the incredible science at work at the Dopey Dick Brewing Company, Northbound Brewery and Walled City Brewery. It begins with lunch at the Grand Central Bar and ends with dinner and music at the Guildhall Taphouse. A Taste of Flavour SenseNation which will be in the Black Box, Belfast, on February 25, and The Playhouse, Derry~Londonderry, on February 26, is an interactive roller-coaster ride through the senses, especially taste and smell, with the chance to sample some very weird foods. Guests at What’s Your Poison, an evening of toxicology and intoxication, can sip their way through three cocktails at The Black Box, on February 23, and The Playhouse, on February 24, while learning about poison and the toxic ingredients we eat daily! See for details.

NI Science Festival

The superb mix of elements in The Northern Ireland Science Festival, from February 16-26, includes some which pay homage to the Year of Food and Drink. Sippy Up in a Brewery, on February 18, is a dining, walking and beer sampling tour which showcas-

Sippy Up in a Brewery is in Derry on February 18, with the NI Science Festival

Bertie Faulkner and his horses working the field during the Annual Mullahead Ploughing Match. Pic Steven McAuley/Kevin McAuley Photography Multimedia

Mullahead Ploughing Festival

on Ireland’s patron saint with Armagh and Downpatrick hosting the main celebrations in Northern Ireland. Next year’s festival takes place over 17 days, from March 3-19, and comprises 17 events based around pre-Christian legends, spiritual journeys and contemporary celebrations. It opens with ceremonies at Emain Macha and Mound of Down featuring Aboriginal and Irish musicians, and closes with The Voice of the Irish Concert in Newry Cathedral. See for details. Meanwhile, Newry, Mourne and Down Council is including a food week in its St Patrick’s Festival. Details to be announced at www.

Legenderry Food Festival

This unique event, drawing visitors from far and wide, sees farmers pit their skills in the ancient craft of horse ploughing in a field at Mullahead Road, Portadown. Next year’s festival, on February 27, marks the 101st ploughing match and is a great family day out with tractor pulls, stick carving, Highland Games and the live final of the Tesco School Chef of the Year. See for details.

One of the main events in the north-west is the LegenDerry Food Festival which has put the city on the gourmet map. As well as a superb range of events at Guildhall Square, which is transformed into an artisan food market, and the Festival Marquee, the festival includes lots of opportunities to explore the city’s many and varied bars, restaurants and the chance to find out about its growing craft breweries.

St Patrick’s International Festival

For further information about these and other events in 2017, visit www.discovernorthernireland. com or

March brings a worldwide focus

Mary Chapin Carpenter is playing St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, at 8pm on January 28, as part of the Out to Lunch Festival

Thumbs up for the LegenDerry Food Festival

Premium brands bring the year to an indulgent close


s the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 celebrates its last month and December 25 draws closer, this month’s theme of Christmas and Premium Foods provides a great incentive for stocking up on the most delicious local produce and enjoying a Christmas that is that extra bit special. The beauty of this year has been the recognition - and in some cases the helpful reminder - that Northern Ireland knows what it is talking about when it comes to good quality, delicious produce. Every month has been dedicated to showcasing different areas of food and drink and December is rounding the year off in style. It’s time to indulge and explore the wonders of the luxury food and drink that is produced right here in Northern Ireland.

Sweet Tooth

More and more people are getting in on the secret of Co Couture, a gourmet chocolatier nestled in a wee shop not far from Belfast City Hall. Or

for the perfect treat to share with others (or keep to yourself ) come Christmas, how about Camran Artisan Marshmallows? These fluffy confections are additive-free, gluten-free and egg-free, making them great for children and with flavours like Strawberry and Champagne and Melting Mocha to choose from, they are a hit with adults as well. NearyNogs in Newry is another chocolate-based company that is branching out with contemporary flavoured goodies such as Orange, Poppy-seed and Basil White Chocolate Fudge and Caramel and Clove Hot Chocolate... these beauties have Christmas written all over them. Keeping the sweet game high in Northern Ireland is Blackthorn Fudge, an award winning family-run handmade fudge business in Belfast. The company’s Clearview Gift Boxes, filled with fudges such as Traditional Butter and Salted Caramel, make for ideal Christmas gifts if you can resist the temptation to open one up for yourself.

Holywood based La Coquine’s chic range of hand-made chocolates, truffles, fondants and jellies are made for sharing or for a decadent delight, wash them down with a glass of Prosecco laced with delicious Ruby Blue Liqueur!

Savoury Finds

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas

without a few slabs of cheese to feast upon, especially if those cheeses happen to be local artisan options. Dart Mountain Cheese, produced in the Sperrin Mountains, has a wide range to satisfy every taste, including its award winning Sperrin Blue, a lightly

veined blue cheese, and Banagher Bold, aged for at least three months and “beer washed”. Mike’s Fancy Cheese is another great firm and its famous Young Buck, Northern Ireland’s first raw milk cheese, certainly deserves a place at the Christmas table, right alongside a range of handmade speciality cheeses from Fivemiletown. Spice up the plate with some fine condiments such as Passion Preserved’s chutney’s and relishes and Northern Ireland’s native Corndale Chorizo. Perhaps keeping appetites at bay before the Buchanan’s turkey is served or as a tasty alternative main, Glenarm Organic Salmon is a lovely option for fish lovers over Christmas. The Ballymena based producer prides itself on being the ‘only Atlantic salmon farmer in the Irish Sea and the sole producer of the world’s finest Organ-

ic Salmon’. Another world class main is the multi-award winning Hannan Meats’ Glenarm Shorthorn Beef. Winner of 3 Gold Stars at The Great Taste Awards in 2015, then a further star for its French Venison Rack in 2016, Baronscourt Estate’s venison is proving popular with those who like the finer things in life. Fans of venison will love having this award winning meat on their Christmas menu.


Belfast Telegraph l DECEMBER 21 2016

The Year in highlights


f variety is the spice of life, the NI Year of Food and Drink certainly packed a punch with everything from Ulster FRYDay on January 29 to major international events peppering the calendar. It was a year of firsts, of triumphs and of our great food and drink producers, bars and restaurants stepping boldly into the spotlight. Here are a few of the highlights…

BBC Good Food Show

The BBC Good Food Show brought the NI culinary scene into the nation’s homes in October with its three days in Belfast Waterfront a sold out success. Thousands turned out to watch Paul Hollywood, The Hairy Bikers and James Martin join local chefs such as Paul Rankin for live cookery demonstrations and get their cookery books signed. Tourism Northern Ireland had a Tasting Theatre where the public could pick up tips from top drink and food experts while the Food NI Pavilion showcased our wonderful delis, breweries, bakeries and more. If you missed out, don’t worry as the BBC Good Food Show is coming back to Northern Ireland in 2017 and 2018 as part of the legacy of the NI Year of Food and Drink.

Flipping Out

Hundreds of people gathered at the Titanic Quarter on Shrove

Tuesday, February 9, to attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the most people flipping a pancake in one place for 30 seconds. The record was 890, but Tourism Northern Ireland together with Asda, which supplied the frying pans for the flip, Irwin’s Bakery and Belfast Met, whose students turned out in force to support the attempt, hoped to smash it by getting 1000 flippers. It turned out to be a tremendous fun event for all the community with everyone getting involved, from Volunteer Now who provided the stewards, the judges, chef Niall McKenna and Diane Poole OBE from Stena Line and of course the time keepers, former boxing champion Brian Magee and Natasha McClure. Sadly, they didn’t break the current world record, but they certainly had fun trying!

Sunny Balmoral

This year’s Balmoral Show in sunny May attracted an estimated 90,000 visitors, no doubt prompting the decision to extend the 2017 show to four days. Among the prize exhibits at the former Maze site was the Show’s biggest ever Northern Ireland Food Pavilion where new arrivals on the local food producer scene were showcased alongside the established giants such

Paul Rankin in action during the BBC Good Food Show Northern Ireland

as Moy Park and Dale Farm. The who’s who of the culinary scene was present, including no fewer than 40 chefs from all over the country. It was a superb opportunity for the public to get acquainted with new products from old favourites as well as new arrivals to the food and drink producing family, as well as indulge in a spot of dancing at the Krazi Baker stand!

Clippers Race In

Over 37,000 people took part in a four day Foyle Maritime Festival when the Clipper Round the World Race stopped off at Derry~Londonderry on July 14-17. The Clipper Race Kitchens featured the talents of local and guest chefs, restaurants and suppliers and producers at Ebrington Square which was decked out with a giant table and chairs. The Flavours of the Foyle showcase celebrated the superb local seafood and culinary talent of the area while chefs such as Ian Orr of Browns (Irish Chef of the Year 2013), Derek Creagh of Harry’s (Irish Chef of the Year 2015), Jenny Bristow, Paula McIntyre, Emmett McCourt, Brian McDermott, the ‘No Salt Chef’ who also compered, and Noel McMeel, of Lough Erne Resort, delighted the audiences. Event ambassador Brian McDermott also cooked live at the

event with Clipper Race crew members, while local chefs featured included Stephen Forbes from Pier 59, Johnny Heaney from the Sooty Olive, Colman O’Driscoll from the Everglades Hotel and Noel Ward from the White Horse Hotel. The event was organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council in association with Food NI, supported by Tourism NI, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) NI Regional Food Programme and the Loughs Agency through the Sustainable Development Programme.

Jean- Chr istophe Novelli, the 5 out of 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award winning chef, conducted a whistle-stop tour of the city’s best known eateries including Browns – winner of Best Restaurant in Ulster 2016 – as well as wowing the crowds with a series of live cookery demonstrations.

Slow Food Fair Debuts

The best of local, clean, fair food was on the menu when Derry City and Strabane District Council hosted Northern Ireland’s first Slow Food Festival during October, Harvest month.

Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood was one of the big names who helped the BBC Good Food Show Northern Ireland debut to great acclaim at the Belfast Waterfront from October 14 - 16. Other big names to appear at the inaugural Show were James Martin, the Hairy Bikers as well as local favourites Paul Rankin and Paula McIntyre. (Lr) Terence Brannigan, Chairman Tourism NI, Paul Hollywood and Aine Kearney, Director of Business Support and Events, Tourism NI

The free family-friendly event incorporated a Slow Food Harvest Fayre, Slow Food Street Food Zone, Family Fun Zone and fringe events including a Made in Derry Slow Food Walking Tour and cycling tours around the city, tours of Butterlope Social Farm at Plumbridge by shuttle bus and an eco-tourism experience at St Columba’s Heritage Centre. Slow Food is a globa l, grassroots movement founded in Italy in 1989 which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to both community and the environment.


DECEMBER 21 2016 l Belfast Telegraph

Q Radio presenters Cate Conway and Stephen Clements celebrated #UlsterFRYday at St George’s Market on January 29 by tucking into a delicious fry made using the finest local ingredients. The Q Radio breakfast show broadcasted live from the famous market that has a long reputation for selling great Northern Ireland produce One of the star attractions at the Clipper Kitchens was top chef JeanChristophe Novelli

Heritage and Traditions month in March was celebrated at James Street South by Tourism NI with a demonstration morning showcasing local produce. (L-R) Lindsay Skinner from Punjana, Will Abernethy from Abernethy Butter, Bernard Sloan from Whitewater Brewery and Jason Hamilton from Carnbrooke Meats.

In May, Tourism NI highlighted the importance of local provenance in our top restaurants with a Plot to Plate feature for Landscape and Places month. Front: EIPIC Chef Danni Barry with (background l-r) Hercules Brewery’s Niall McMullan, Carnbrooke Meats Jason Hamilton, Deanes owner Michael Deane and David Love Cameron

What better way to celebrate August’s Love NI Meat theme than with a Barbecue in the City! Tourism NI held a special event at The National Grand Cafe in Belfast where local meat and beer producers showed local media why they are so special. McAtamney’s Butchers, who are based in Garvagh but have outlets throughout NI, supplied delicious beef burgers and chicken kebabs, Moira’s Hannan Meats provided succulent sausages and Portadown’s Irwin’s Bakery finished off the perfect summer meal with their fresh and fluffy rolls. And what better way to enjoy a barbie than with a thirst quenching beer! Clearsky Brewing from Dungannon, Comber’s Farmageddon and Hilden Brewery from Lisburn proudly complemented the BBQ with the very best of Northern Ireland’s beer

There was a great turnout for the Guinness World Record Pancake Flip attempt at Belfast Met in the Titanic Quarter in February

The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 continued with a Love Dairy theme throughout the month of June. Tourism NI held a special event at the Spaniard Bar in Belfast featuring a selection of Northern Ireland’s finest cheese and craft beer producers who all showcased the very best they had to offer. (L-r) Tourism NI’s Ann Moreland, Paul McLean from Kearney Cheese, Niall McMullan from Hercules Brewery, Christo Swanepoel from City Cheese and Farmageddon’s Susan Jackson

July saw a ‘Seas, Rivers and Loughs’ theme and Tourism Northern Ireland held a special event at Belfast Cookery School where local chef, Stephen Jeffers taught a selection of local press how to cook two delicious meals using a selection of Northern Ireland’s tasty fish from supplier, Ewings Fishmongers. Crawford Ewing talked about how important it was to include fish in your diet and encouraged everyone in NI to try more fish. As well as a menu full of fresh, delicious fish and vegetables, the amateur cooks were taught useful techniques to making the perfect fish dish that will wow any dinner party guests. (L-r) Molly Cunningham from Food NI, Stephen Jeffers from Belfast Cookery School, Crawford Ewing from Ewing Seafood’s and Rachel Quigg from Tourism NI


Belfast Telegraph l DECEMBER 21 2016

How celebrities made the R food the star

ight from the off, the NI Year of Food and Drink tapped into a passion for local produce that went far beyond Northern Ireland, with people coming from far and wide to sample our fare. Big names in the industry were quick to get behind the initiative adding their enthusiasm, expertise and resources to the campaign and helping it to success. People like food critic Charles Campion came over for the launch of Belfast Restaurant Week and not only heaped praise on the city’s produce and chefs, but declared Ulster the ‘Breakfast capital of Europe’. Writer and owner of the highly respected travel Guides, Georgina Campbell also lent her support while top restaurants across Northern Ireland embraced the themed months, finding ever more creative ways to showcase our superb local produce. Some, like chef Noel McMeel, headed for the States to promote Northern Ireland’s superb food and drink. Prof Una McMahon-Beattie, Head of the Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Ulster University said: “The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink has given us a perfect opportunity to satisfy our culinary curiosity, celebrate the excellence of our food and drink and, on some occasions, forget about our waistlines!

Simply put 2016 has given the passion of our food and drink producers, retailers, chefs and hospitality businesses a voice. A member of the judging panel for the NI Year of Food and Drink Awards, she added: “I am truly

looking forward to celebrating their excellence and outstanding achievements at the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink Awards.” Here’s what the celebrities have to say about the year, the food, the drink and more....

Charles Campion Charles Campion, who is one of the judges for the NI Year of Food and Drink Awards in association with the Belfast Telegraph in February, said: “The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink has given a mighty boost to small producers, farmers, fishermen, chefs and visitors alike. It’s been my great pleasure

Georgina Campbell

Paula McIntyre

Anyone who has heard Paula McIntyre on John Toal’s show on BBC Radio Ulster will know that she has spent her career championing Northern Irish produce. Even back in 1993, when she had a restaurant in Manchester and Ulster food was far from sexy, Paula would include it, where possible, in her menus. “My granny’s wheaten bread recipe went down particularly well,” she recalls.

Michael Deane

Belfast restaurateur, Michael Deane, said he adores Northern Ireland and its food and drink culture: “Northern Ireland’s produce is exceptional and I cannot speak highly enough about it. As restaurateurs it is thrilling to know that we have world class food and drink available to us on our doorstep which we use to great effect in the Michelin Star DEANES Eipic, and our other six restaurants. “Our produce has come on in leaps and bounds since my early days as a chef. There used to be limited supply and a lack of confidence on how to best nurture and cook our produce but that has changed dramatically. We are now so enthusiastic about using locally sourced produce as it is top class! “These days we make a point of visiting the farms, fields and breweries of our producers as we

to bring some excellent food and drink into the limelight. In 2016 the Year of Food and Drink started the wheel moving and now we must all give it a shove! There’s never been a better time to eat and drink in the Six Counties, and there’s never been a better time for tourists to sample the unrivalled hospitality.”

Thus she was delighted to get involved in the NI Year of Food and Drink and says that while she was away quite a lot, it was still full of high points for her. “I was cooking in the House of Commons for St Patrick’s Day on March 16 and then I took the Eurostar to Brussels and cooked

want to know the provenance of our food and drink so we can pass it onto our customers, who are as eager to hear about it as we are,” concluded Michael. Michael Deane and his team at all seven of his restaurants source produce from quality suppliers such as Hannan Meats, David Love Cameron’s vegetables from his Walled Garden and Hercules Brewery’s lager. He added: “The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink has succeeded in bringing to prominence all that’s excellent in the food scene here. It’s been a wonderful showcase for our food producers and our ever improving restaurant scene and the message has not just resonated in Northern Ireland but has gone out across the world which can only be beneficial to our tourism industry!”

breakfast on St Patrick’s Day in the EU office - it was brilliant being able to showcase food from Northern Ireland.” Meanwhile, an estimated 120,000 people visited the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham recently and enjoyed Paula’s demonstrations in

the Taste of Northern Ireland area. “It was amazing - we had Thompson’s Tea, Burren Balsamic, Farmageddon and loads of other locals over. It was an absolutely massive show!” She said initiatives like the Year of Food and Drink, which emphasised the quality of produce here, were ‘vital’. “We have had such an influx of tourists and they want to try traditional recipes. Our tray bakes are going down a storm as well as our

Top food and hospitality writer Georgina Campbell said: “The NI Year of Food and Drink was a brilliant idea and I have been watching it unfold with great interest. The monthly themes have given the initiative a strong focus and it has been exciting to see the real pride that there is in the high quality and range of Northern Ireland produce - both amongst the food and drink community itself and the general public, who came out in their droves to support and enjoy the year’s events and create a buzz.” So impressed has the Dublin based expert been with what she

has seen, that this year the Georgina Campbell Awards named Belfast’s James Street South the Best Restaurant in Ireland. Georgina is also judging February’s NI Year of Food and Drink Awards and is looking forward to it. “Far from being ‘just another awards scheme’ the NI Year of Food and Drink Awards in association with Belfast Telegraph are highly relevant to the development of the food and drink visitor experience, in underpinning the very real achievements of 2016 and paving the way for further ‘taste the place’ progress in 2017 and beyond.”

own breads such as soda or potato bread.” She remains a devotee of quality ingredients, cooked well and loves simple food. “If you have a lovely Aghadowey Maris Piper potato and a good quality butter - that, to me, is perfect. “I think what’s good now

is that people are celebrating ingredients and not messing around with them too much. We have fantastic chefs that are doing a brilliant job of showcasing the food.” Paula is also a fan of our craft beers and ciders. “Companies like the Armagh Cider Co, Tempted and K ilmega n a re as good as anything else.”


DECEMBER 21 2016 l Belfast Telegraph Niall McKenna Niall McKenna, owner of James Street South, The Bar + Grill, Hadskis and Cast & Crew, was to the fore when it came to promoting local produce and has been named a Tourism Hero by the industry. Not only does he promote the finest local produce throughout his menus, he also shares that passion with the public through the James Street South Cookery School. Paying tribute to Niall McKenna and head chef David Gillmore, Georgina Campbell said James Street South was working within Belfast to develop the city as a “food tourism” destination. “Many fans would, and do, travel great distances for the pleasure of a meal at Niall and Joanne McKenna’s famous Belfast restaurant, and a meal here is always sure to be a memorable occasion. This restaurant is

in a city with a real buzz, where the food story is developing in exciting ways, and the vision, leadership and solid achievements of this restaurant and its associated endeavours merits the highest recognition.” Niall McKenna said awards were great not only for the winner but for restaurants throughout Northern Ireland. “This is recognition of the hard work of David Gillmore and the team at James Street South, and recognition throughout Ireland and bringing tourists from the Republic to Northern Ireland and enjoy the hospitality that we have to offer here.” Commenting on the Year of Food and Drink, he said: “Northern Ireland is fortunate to have enviable and world class quality local produce from producers across Northern Ireland.

Our Year of Food and Drink in 2016 provided a worthy and long overdue platform for us to showcase our fantastic food and drink offering. “Each themed month allowed for a different focus, which reinforced the variety of produce we have access to on our doorstep. The support and goodwill generated by Year of Food and Drink has advanced our reputation as a food destination globally, as well as bolstering the provenance of our local suppliers and producers. As a long term plan, I believe it has laid the foundations for building on our hospitality reputation and inspired more people – both locals and visitors - to seek out and enjoy local food and keep the economy and industry going for many generations to come.”

Noel McMeel The multi award-winning Executive Head Chef at the 5 star Lough Erne Resort, voted this year’s Hospitality Hero by the Northern Ireland Hotels’ Federation, has been a dedicated ambassador for local produce throughout the year, and especially when it comes to food and drink in his beloved adopted home of Fermanagh. He was a key figure in the first ever Fermanagh Restaurant Week and Lough Erne Food Festival in September, which included a lavish meal in the salubrious surrounds of Enniskillen Castle. Noel’s involvement in the NI Year of Food and Drink has seen him travel far and wide, from the Balmoral Show to the USA where he met President Obama. “It’s always an honour to meet dignitaries around the world,” he says. An Ambassador for Supervalu NI he has welcomed the opportunity to promote local produce. While in Washington DC with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, he cooked breakfast at the British Embassy and relished the opportunity to spread the word about Northern Ireland. “I have dedicated my entire career to one very simple goal: finding, preparing and serving fresh food

in season. For me what we eat has to delight the taste buds, ensnare the senses and nourish body and soul. “I try to get the most out of the very best ingredients and I am not interested in cooking overworked, over seasoned, complicated food. “Simplicity is often the key to creating the best cuisine. To achieve this however, it is imperative to source the very best ingredients you can afford – if you haven’t got the optimum quality in the components of your dish, there is nowhere to hide with this type of food.” He firmly believes local is best, whether that’s Fermanagh Black Bacon, Boatyard Gin or Lough Neagh Eels. Noel recalled having Lough Neagh eels as a child and says, “For a long time it wasn’t on a lot of menus but now La Rousse Foods delivers them all over Northern Ireland.” Olive oil has been replaced by Broighter Gold oils at all seven of the Lough Erne Resort’s dining areas and the butter is Abernethy Butter for fine dining. He waxes lyrical about Shortcross Gin and McIvor s c ider, about traditional breads,

about Enniskillen butcher Pat O’Doherty, whose products include Black Bacon and Kettyle Foods’ beef with infectious enthusiasm. “Year of Food was a wake up to people to support local, support your economy - what the year has done is tell the story. It was an amazing thing. “We now know more about our local suppliers and that is the key message. We were able to go worldwide to tell that story. I was in the USA a couple of times this year to promote the Year of Food and Drink and to say in Northern Ireland we have as good a food as anywhere on the planet. We have to showcase it.”


Belfast Telegraph l DECEMBER 21 2016

Raise a glass to the NI pub


ith Northern Ireland’s generous hospitality famed worldwide – as well as a certain tendency to enjoy a wee tipple – it’s not surprising that up to 80% of tourists who visit here make a

point of popping into a pub. This year’s Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink was a welcome initiative that celebrated the wonderful quality of local food and drink, with monthly themes and a host of key events

throughout 2016. It also saw the continuing rise of the cocktail, with the Merchant Hotel winning awards with its mixes. Cocktail bar manager James Maddison says the clientele are quick to show an interest in and support local producers, with strong demand for Jawbox and Shortcross Gins throughout the year. He added: “We are getting a really positive reaction about Boatyard Gin which has just been released too. We work with some great producers in the Irish whisky world and our Stateside guests love discovering Redbreast and Powers to complement their knowledge of Jameson’s and Bushmills. “A highlight this year was a tasting held by Master Blender Billy Leighton for the launch of Redbreast Lustau – a brilliant insight into what it takes to bring a world class product to market.” According to Joel Neill, of Hospitality Ulster, the main benefit of NI Year of Food and Drink for local pubs was a rise in the number of punters coming through the doors. “We want to see peo-

The Merchant Hotel has captured the revival of the cocktail

Try your hand at Festive Food Roulette! To celebrate the success of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 and to mark the year coming to an end (as well as the festive season), Tourism Northern Ireland are having a bit of fun on Thursday, December 22, with a Festive Foodie Roulette. Are you planning some last minute Christmas Shopping in Belfast this week? Why not call in to Victoria Square between 4 – 9pm for

ple come out and tr y some thing new, a premium product in a regulated environment.” He p r a i s e d t h e themed months and said pubs got on board with many introducing their own speciality dishes to tie in with the theme or coming up with their own themed cocktails. “Pub owners got as much out of the initiative as they put in and it seems to have been a successful venture.” The Year also generated new relationships between publicans and local drinks suppliers – and with Northern Ireland boasting 27 craft breweries with more popping up all the time, that’s an exciting development. “A lot of new links were made,” said Joel, “with not just large suppliers but independent breweries as well.” Pubs have tuned into the changing tastes of the drinking

Friends enjoying a drink in Belfast bar Aether & Echo public. “Locally produced drinks like craft beers and new gins are definitely a big trend right now,” he said. “When consumers go to the pub they don’t just want alcohol, they want the full experience, to meet a friend, they like the theme or the entertainment.” As a result, drinks by independent producers such as Hilden, Farmageddon, Northbound, Clearsky and Armagh cider brand MacIvors are now

on offer at some pubs across the country. “The produce that we have here in Northern Ireland is a huge asset where tourism is concerned,” said Joel. “Food tourism is on the rise, with more and more people coming to Northern Ireland specifically to try the food and drink and locally made drinks are part of that too. That’s why initiatives like NI Year of Food and Drink are so vital.”

Brew your own Bullhouse

a chance to win some Northern Ireland food and drink themed prizes by spinning the Festive Foodie Roulette wheel. Prizes to be won include Restaurant Vouchers, Year of Food and Drink branded bags, Local Produce, Food Experience Vouchers and Food Hampers. With so many great prizes on offer come on and down and have a spin!

William Mayne, of Bullhouse Beer


ullhouse beer is the brainchild of craft beer lover William Mayne after a trip to the US in 2011 where he was spoilt by the amount of great beer on offer. Frustrated by the lack of good craft beer on his return to Northern Ireland, he decided to start brewing his own beer at home. However, it wasn’t until March that he took the leap to making his beer available for sale, coinciding very conveniently with the NI Year of Food and Drink and its focus on Distilling and Brewing which happened the following month (all of which William says was a complete coincidence).

In the years leading up to the launch, William was busy securing licensing for the sale of the beer and developing what seems the perfect brew house - an old bull’s house in the shadow of Scrabo Tower among rolling County Down hills. The location ticks a number of boxes in William’s pursuit of excellence - not least the availability of soft water from Silent Valley in the Mourne Mountains while world famous Comber spuds, grown in the area, are added to the mash. William grows his own hops on the farm. Taking only a part-time role in the business to begin with, it seems a good sign that William is

now working towards being fulltime next year. Currently selling to 45 restaurants, bars and off-licences across Northern Ireland and selling over 700 litres of beer a month, it is fair to say that he is making good headway already but not without a lot of hard work on his part. He’s not planning on easing off any time soon: “I plan to increase my production from 400 to 1000 litres per batch, to also produce 10 new beers, including a whiskey barrel aged stout and a maple and coffee porter... I also plan to have a lot of transparency - sharing recipes for different beers so people can brew their own beer at home.”


DECEMBER 21 2016 l Belfast Telegraph

Sunflower owner keeping it local


s a small corner pub with its own unique brand, the award-winning Sunflower in Belfast city centre is blazing a trail when it comes to supporting the local craft drinks industry. While the popular bar still stocks draught beers, the bulk of its alcoholic beverages are now sourced mainly from Ulster breweries such as Hilden Brewery in Lisburn, Ireland’s largest independent brewery, and Hercules Brewing Company in Belfast. Just this month the pub introduced a new Belfast stout, Yardsman,replacing the world’s best known stout, Guinness. And while there were a few raised eyebrows to begin with, the transition to the local product went down smoothly with the punters. Sunflower owner Pedro Donald said he felt it was important, as a small, local pub, to support local craft drinks. Pedro, who took over the Sunflower exactly four years ago, said: “We feel that as a small, local pub it’s our duty to support local and as a brand, the Sunflower pub is strong enough to

do this - but the drinks we sell are all excellent products. They have to be as good as the ones they are replacing or we wouldn’t sell them.” Pedro said there was a ‘bit of grumbling’ at the start when some of the well-known brands were replaced by local beers and ales, but that on the whole, the feedback was very positive. However he admitted swopping Guinness for Yardsman was a risk, albeit one he was prepared to take. “There’s hardly a pub in Ireland that doesn’t sell Guinness so we were expecting a few complaints about the change,” he said. “We introduced Yardsman stout just at the start of December and to be honest, the changeover went very smoothly. “We tried it out on our regular Guinness drinkers and the staff as well and they all agreed Yardsman was as good, if not better. “I did think there’d be uproar but in the end it was wee buns.” The Sunfloweralso sells draught cider from McIvors in Armagh as well as craft drinks from Farmageddon in Comber, Clearsky in Dungannon and the big-seller, real ale from Hilden.

Local Belfast gin, Jawbox, is also stocked and served in the bar. Pedro said: “Our customers are happy to support local. Maybe 10 years ago, this would have been impossible, but I think, as a people, we are better educated now. “There are so many local craft drinks now which is great for us, as we can pick and choose and chop and change taps through different breweries, but of course it’s also important that we’re selling great products as well.” The Sunflower, which was saved from demolition by a public campaign, has won a place in the hearts of many Northern Irish pub-goers, who have been charmed by its no-frills, simple, back-to-basics appeal. “From day one, the Sunflower has been a small, corner shop, with no themes or gimmicks,” said Pedro. “It’s been like this for 100 years and hopefully will stay like that too. We have traditional music sessions, no kitchen and no door staff. It is what it is and our customers like it like that. “The name is synonymous with a simple charm and also now with supporting local craft drinks.”

Pedro Donald with a pint of Yardsman stout

Ruby Blue’s fruit liqueurs and potato vodka take off

Stuart and Barbara Hughes, of Ruby Blue


tarting in 2010, Stuart and Barbara Hughes have seen their craft spirit business, Ruby Blue Spirits, grow out of their home in Dromore to its current base in Lisburn, with plans to move to an even bigger location in the near future. Back then the couple had left their jobs to start a fruit liqueur business and found the uptake in Northern Ireland was initially slow: “When we first started people didn’t really understand the craft industry so we ended up exporting to Turkey, Australia and to the Republic of Ireland,” says Barbara. Their breakthrough came with the NI Year of Food and Drink’s focus on Brewing and Distilling in April. “NI Year of Food and Drink has brought us so much interest, particularly during the focused month.” Suddenly lo-

cal people began to catch on to the allure of Ruby Blue’s fruit liqueurs, which are made with real fruit and impressively hold half the sugar that you would find in an average fruit liqueur. Choose from Blackcurrant, Wild Blueberries, Cranberry or Chilli Pepper and add a shot to a glass of Prosecco for a sparkling seasonal drink. “We are the only company in Ireland and possibly globally that produces fruit liqueurs like this,” says Barbara. The business now also produces a unique potato based vodka: “People can’t believe how beautiful the potato vodka is,” continues Barbara. “It is pure and smooth and probably more similar to gin. It is quite sophisticated.”

Winning the coveted Gold award at the Vodka Masters in London last year and with exporting now to Russia, it seems the potato vodka could be well worth a sample. In the last few years and with the help of NI Year of Food and Drink, Stuart and Barbara seem to have managed to establish themselves further in Northern Ireland, with Ruby Blue liqueurs and vodka now used in many of the top bars, restaurants and hotels in Northern Ireland.


Belfast Telegraph l DECEMBER 21 2016

Cook like a Pro with these recipes from some of NI’s top chefs Noel’s Pork Plate

Showcased by Noel McMeel, Lough Erne Resort at the 2016 Balmoral Show

Lough Neagh Eel, Teriyaki Mooli & Rosewater Cucumber Niall McKenna, James Street South

Roast Fillet of Pork Wrapped in Cured Black Back Bacon Confit Belly of Pork– Braised Pork Cheek & Shoulder Black Pudding Fritter – Caramelised Apple Puree & Cider Jus Difficulty, medium Preparation Time, 30 minutes Cooking Time, 30 minutes Servings, 4 For the Pork 1 Pork fillet 4 slices Pancetta 1 Pork belly 6 sprigs Rosemary 6 sprigs Thyme 6 cloves Garlic 2 Pork cheeks 300gPork shoulder 1 Onion 4 Garlic 4 Bay

For the Black Pudding 150g Black pudding 50g Trim from shoulder Streaky bacon For the Caramelised Apple Puree & Apple Snow 20 ml Hazelnut oil 5ml Cider reduction Malto dextrin Seasoning 4 cooking apples 300g sugar Cider Jus 2 pts Brown chicken stock 1 Onion 1 Carrot 1 stick Celery 2 cloves Garlic 2 Bay 1 sprig Thyme ½ pt Cider Pork instructions Trim fillet and wrap with slices of the pancetta

Roll tightly in Clingfilm and steam for 7 minutes, then pan fry Remove the rib bone from the belly and place on a tray with the garlic and herbs Cook at 76C for 12 hours Chill to cut before sealing on a frying pan and bring to temperature in oven Remove the outer grisle from the cheeks/shoulder and seal off with the onions, garlic and bay Place into vac pac bags and sous vide at 84C for 8 hours When tender, remove from water bath, take out of bags and chill Cut the shoulder into bars and the cheeks in half, reheat in the gravy before serving Black Pudding instructions Break up the black pudding with the shoulder trim and reform into a log Place the bacon onto clingfilm and roll around the pudding Roll tightly in clingfilm before portioning

Bring to temperature in the oven 170C for approx 9 minutes depending on size Caramelised Apple Puree & Apple Snow instructions Peel and roughly chop the apples and place into a sauce pan with sugar and water Cook until broken down and well caramelised Blitz, season and pass Combine the cider reduction with the oil then add in the malto till the mix turns to a snow like texture Season Cider Jus instructions Brown off all vegetables in a heavy based sauce pan and deglaze with cider Add in the herbs and reduce by half then add the chicken stock Bring down to correct consistency Season and pass.

Difficulty, medium Preparation time, 30 minutes Cooking time, 30-45 minutes Servings, 2-3 Main ingredients 4 pieces of fresh eel (all skin and bones removed) 1 cucumber (peeled and deseeded) 100ml rosewater 100ml rice wine vinegar Misto Broth 300ml vegetable stock 70g misto paste 100ml light soy sauce 5ml mirin 5ml sesame oil Juice of 1 lime Teriyaki marinade for mooli 100ml soy sauce 100ml oyster sauce 1 clove of garlic finely grated A thumb sized piece of root ginger finely grated 1 tbsp mirin Juice of 1 lime 4 thin slices of mooli To serve 4 spring onions finely sliced 1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

1tbsp chopped roast hazelnuts Main instructions To make marinade combine all ingredients and bring to a gentle boil, allow to infuse for 30 minutes then pass through a fine sieve. Pour cooled marinade over mooli slices, allow to sit for 6 hours. Cut cucumber into inch thick slices, cover with vinegar and rosewater, chill until required. To make miso broth, combine ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Allow to infuse for 30 minutes and pass through a fine sieve. Preheat grill to a medium heat, lightly oil the pieces of eel and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2-3 minutes until just cooked. To assemble the dish place two slices of mooli in a shallow bowl. Combine 100ml of miso broth with spring onions, almonds and hazelnuts. Place eel on top of the mooli. Spoon over miso dressing, garnish with freshly grated lime zest.

Buttermilk Cream with Poached Rhubarb and Lavender Shortcake

Paula McIntyre cooked this dessert at a dinner given in honour of culinary icon Darina Allen Buttermilk cream 3 gelatine leaves 100ml whole milk 120g castor sugar 1 vanilla pod 375ml buttermilk 125ml lightly whipped cream Method Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 10 minutes. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a saucepan. Add the pod, milk and sugar, and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Squeeze the water from the gelatine and add to the milk mixture. Cool and then add the buttermilk. Fold in the lightly whipped cream and pour into glasses or serving dishes.

Chill for at least 4 hours to set. Poached rhubarb 4 medium sticks rhubarb, cut into bite sized sticks 125g castor sugar 125ml water 50ml Grenadine Splash of liqueur if you wish Method Set the oven to 180°C. Boil the sugar, water and Grenadine until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is syrupy. Add the liqueur (I like to add some of my own sloe gin, Shortcross Gin from Downpatrick or Cointreau) if using it. Pour over the rhubarb and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Place in the oven to poach. This will take about 20 minutes but keep

checking as it will turn to mush quite quickly. Remove from the oven and cool. When you’ve taken out the rhubarb and some of the juice for the dessert, the rest of the liquid can be kept for up to a week in a jar in the fridge. It makes a jaunty addition to gin and tonic or a glass of Prosecco! Lavender shortcake 250g plain flour 200g cold butter, chopped into 1cm dice 100g icing sugar 2 egg yolks ¼ teaspoon dried and chopped lavender flowers about 5 tablespoons raspberry jelly (or substitute jam) Method Place the flour, butter and sugar in

a bowl, and rub until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively pulse in a food processor. Add the egg yolks and lavender, and mix to a dough. Place on a lightly floured surface. Roll to about ½cm, ¼ inch thick. Keep moving the dough around while you roll to stop it sticking. Cut into circles using a 3cm, 1½ inch cutter. Place on a lightly buttered baking tray and bake for 12–15 minutes or until golden and firm. Place on a wire rack to cool. If not using immediately, store in an airtight tin. Sandwich with the raspberry jelly to serve.


DECEMBER 21 2016 l Belfast Telegraph

Meet the new kids on the block

The growing pride and understanding of the wonderful natural resources at our fingertips which the NI Year of Food and Drink helped foster have changed the gastronomic landscape of the country for the better. The initiative has helped many artisanal producers find new outlets for their talents, it has formed a platform for others to showcase their wares while for others, it has signalled a call to action. New entrepreneurs have burst onto

the scene with exciting products that are closely tied to the landscape. Take North Coast Smokehouse, run by Ballycastle native Melanie Brown and her partner, Ruairidh Morrison. They produce Smoked Salt and also Smoked Glenarm Oganic Salmon and have won rave reviews from such esteemed critics as John and Sally McKenna. Or there’s Copeland Spirits, launched at the end of last year following a Crowdfunding campaign by Saintfield

man Gareth Irvine while he was still at university. He uses locally grown ingredients to create two Copeland Gins - Rhuberry (rhubarb and blackberry) and Raspberry & Mint. Pick any field of food or drink production and the chances are there will be someone coming up with a new idea to tantalise the taste buds. Here’s to the enduring success of the new kids on the block, and the arrival of many more in 2017!

Boatyard nets design award I

reland’s newest distiller, The Boatyard in Co Fermanagh, has had the perfect launch, winning a global design award for the branding of its first product, Boatyard Double Gin. The distillery, located on the shores of Lough Erne, was awarded the Master Award for gin at the Spirits Design Masters 2016, part of the internationally renowned Spirit Masters series. The accolade is all the more noteworthy as Boatyard Double Gin was only launched to market just over two months ago. Founder Joe McGirr, who previously worked with Genmorangie and Moet Hennessy, said the Master Award acknowledged the care and craftmanship that had gone into the gin’s signature packaging. He said: “Boatyard Double Gin is the essence of this part of Fermanagh. Organic wheat spirit goes through a double contact distillation process using botanicals which have been foraged and selected for an exceptional flavour journey,” he said. “We wanted special branding to reflect the uniqueness of our product. The labels used on our bottles are printed on a traditional 1960s letterpress and the font we chose was actually inspired by an old receipt I found

Joe McGirr pours a glass of his award-winning gin

from the first tractor my father ever bought, giving it an authentic and craft feel. “A lot of time, care and thought went into the branding of this super-premium product, so we are delighted to be included in the same conversations as some of the most established brands in the world, especially considering that we only launched Boatyard Double Gin in September. “I am absolutely thrilled that we have won this award and I hope it is the first of many for the Boatyard Distillery.” The Spirits Design Masters, organised by the Spirits Business, have been running for four years now. Each entry was judged according to its category by an independent panel. Joe plans to open a visitors’ centre on the picturesque Lough Shore Road in the near future, so that people can sample and buy the spirit and take a tour of the distillery. Boatyard Double Gin is available from a number of independent off-licences, including Direct Wine Shipments in Belfast and from a range of bars and restaurants across Northern Ireland, including Ox, Bull & Ram, The Merchant Hotel and Walled City Brewery

The Crown jewel? It’s the Corndale Chorizo!


ariety is proving to be the spice of life for Derry~Londonderry farmer Alastair Crown (pictured), who raises rare breed, free range pigs at

Corndale Farm, near Limavady, along with his father. The enterprising 29 year old has created a niche for himself as Northern Ireland’s only chorizo producer - and he is already diversifying with new flavours and products. “The main driving force was that I love charcuterie - and chorizo especially,” explains Alastair. “We were producing free range pork and it was very good but I realised there was no one else in Northern Ireland doing chorizo so I thought I would give it a go.” He set up operations in the family kitchen and gradually overcame the technical challenges around getting the pH lev-

els and water content as low as possible, both of which increase shelf-life. The resulting Corndale Chorizo is smoky with a gentle background heat. “It was very hard at the start but we have nailed it now and have a fantastic product,” says Alastair. That view seems to have been widely shared as no sooner had he launched Corndale Chorizo than demand took off. He soon had to move out of the family kitchen and share a premises with a local butcher. However, with demand continuing to grow, Alastair took on a commercial unit during the summer. Clearly not one to stand still for long, Alastair has now developed a Chilli Chorizo which is proving as successful as the original, and he recently launched

his first salami at the Broighter Gold pop up shop in Limavady, to tremendous acclaim. “It completely sold out.” He is already looking at expanding the range further, with a pancetta and a lomo, which is a loin of pork that’s been cured and air dried over a number of weeks. Unsurprisingly, his hard work and creative drive have drawn attention and Alastair has been making the shortlists of some very prestigious awards, including the Henderson Wholesale Local Supplier Awards, the Enterprise NI Awards and the Farming Life Awards. He was also shortlisted for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which he says was ‘overwhelming’.

“For a wee company like ourselves to even be shortlisted and a finalist was a massive boost to us. It’s a great confidence boost and hopefully next year we will actually get our hands on an award. “The feedback has been unbelievable - it makes all the hard work worth it. When you stand all weekend making 200 kilos of chorizo and then you get an email, as I did this morning, from a man in Scotland saying he had tried our chorizo and it was the best he had ever had, it really does make your day.” One would think that daily exposure to such huge quantities of spicy pork might

dull the appetite but Alastair says he loves it as much as ever. “It goes into our scrambled eggs and all sorts of things. I’m trying to work out a way to slip it into the Christmas dinner this year,” he laughs.


Belfast Telegraph l DECEMBER 21 2016

There’s more to experience with a tour


orthern Ireland’s beautiful and historic landscape, fertile ground and teeming lakes and seas come into their own with the new food and drink ‘experiences’ and tasting tours which have sprung up during NI Year of Food and Drink. With everything from cycling, paddling and fishing to expert tuition and local folklore thrown in, there is something to suit all tastes. It’s little wonder these pioneering entrepreneurs have found the recipe for success. Wild Foodie Tours was launched by Far and Wild during the Legenderry Food Fest in March. The ‘Special’ Tour of the city takes in three great culinary experiences in a 2 hour cycle ride, focusing on quality local produce from the likes of the Walled City Brewery and The Legenderry Warehouse No 1. Far and Wild, as the name suggests, isn’t confined to the walled city, they also offer Wild Atlantic Salmon Kayak Tours and Foodie Cycle Tours. See www. for details. For a hugely entertaining day out during the summer months, Belfast Bred is a theatrical walking tour performed by Kabosh Theatre Company, which explores Belfast’s fantastic food scene. As well as taking in many sights around the city, audiences get a chance to spend time and sample the fare in some of Belfast’s most loved establishments including the historic Sawer’s Deli, Mourne Seafood Bar, McHugh’s Bar and St George’s Market. This very successful tour has been re-imagined as an app to bring Belfast’s food heritage straight to your mobile. The App can be downloaded at

Helen Troughton runs the Armagh Cider Company at Ballinteggart House Farm with her husband Philip. Tours can be arranged and the farm hosts open days The Mournes Trails and Ales Bike Tour is the brainchild of Life Activity Centre of Castlewellan and Mourne Mountain Brewery. The tour focuses on the landscape, food and stories of the Mournes, starting at Castlewellan Forest Park. Along the way you will stop, mountain bike and sample local ales at Spelga Pass, Kilbroney Forest Park, with a final stop at Cloughmore Inn, Rostrevor or

Maginn’s Bar, Castlewellan. Find out more at McComb’s Grub Crawl is a brand new coach tour of County Down. First stop is the famous Abernethy Butter, who now supply Fortnum & Mason and Heston Blumenthal, for a demo and tasting, followed by a stop at The Poacher’s Pocket in Lisbane. Next is Echlinville Distillery, in Kircubbin, famed for Jawbox Gin. The tour concludes at the John Hewitt, Belfast. See www.mccombscoaches. com for details. The Causeway Coast Foodie Tour features five stops along the beautiful Causeway Coast, inlcuding the Old Bushmills Distillery, with each one offering a taste experience! The Catch and Sea Tour leaves Portrush Harbour, just before daybreak in The Causeway Lass. Passengers can catch their own breakfast and might event spot some dolphins or basking sharks. Equipment

and training are provided and participants, having caught, cleaned and learned about the day’s catch can head to Babushka, where their bounty will be cooked. See for further information. Staying on the north coast, the Ballycastle Food Tour is a new walking tour focusing on the town’s varied cultural history and award winning food producers with breakfast, lunch, supper and dessert included. Along the way, participants will learn about everything from the locally grown food to the town’s historic linen and glass industries. See for details. Visit Broughgammon Farm, Ballycastle, for one of its Good Life themed courses, including Butchery. Broughgammon are all about field to fork farming and that includes the on-site butchery. This is a hands-on course and participants get to take away half a goat. If that

doesn’t appeal, how about partaking in one of their Sausage Making, Cookery or Seaweed Harvesting courses? Visit broughgammon. com for further details. Whiskey Club is a brand new Whiskey Walking Tour of Belfast led by Dillon Bass Whiskey Ambassador Joe McGowan. Beginning at Bittles Bar and winding through the city’s Cathedral Quarter, it finishes in the Merchant Hotel. For further information visit If spirits aren’t your thing, visitors to Hilden Brewery can learn how the brewery produces 11 craft beers covering the full spectrum of tastes. Tours naturally include tastings, and you can also linger on in the Tap Room restaurant to try the beers with excellent food using the best seasonal produce. For details visit See Ruby Blue vodka and fruit liqueurs being made at the Hughes Craft Distillery, also in Lisburn. See their multi award-winning spirits being crafted with pre-booked visits and tours for

groups of 10. Details from www. Known as both the Orchard County and Cider Capital of Ireland, Armagh is famous for its EU protected Bramley apples, with the Troughton family at the centre of its apple-growing traditions for four generations. Armagh Cider Company products are handcrafted, and contain no artificial ingredients or flavours. Tours by arrangement, and there are regular open days, including an ‘Open Farm Weekend’ in June. See Made in Derry Food Tours are walking tours of the city centre, offering visitors the chance to taste over 20 different foods and drinks. For details see Fans of the TV blockbuster will love the Game of Thrones® Afternoon Tea at Ballygally Castle Hotel. The hotel is near the locations where many pivotal scenes were shot, including Cairncastle, Cushendun Caves, Slemish Mountain and the village of Glenarm. You can also see the Game of Thrones® Door made from the Dark Hedges! Visit for details. For lots more information on food and drink experiences, visit www.discovernorthernireland. com or


DECEMBER 21 2016 l Belfast Telegraph

Take to the water


nspired by NI Year of Food and Drink, Barry Flanagan, owner of Erne Water Taxis, has introduced a Food Trail for visitors who want to feast on more than the spectacular Lakeland scenery during their tour of Lough Erne. He combines the best of locally produced food with an entertaining three hour cruise during which guests find out lots of fascinating things about this historic area. “I saw the gap in the market for introducing local food and wanted to be part of what was happening during NI Year of Food and Drink,” he explained. “Anyone who now experiences the tour really enjoys it. The tour includes a tasting of Fermanagh Black Bacon, bacon produced by Pat O Doherty, who is well known in the area for having pigs on Corkish Island. On the tour we would also bring a hamper and have a sit down tasting session.” Tastings might include Kettle Meats, a high-end meat produced

from cattle that live in and around Lough Erne, local beers produced on the banks of Lough Erne and

Erin Grove Preserves. Visit for further information.

Erne Water Taxi now operates a food trail around the Lakelands

Taste and Tour the city Belfast’s gastronomic delights now include Taste and Tour, set up by entrepreneur Caroline Wilson. “If it wasn’t for the Year of Food and Drink we wouldn’t have our business,” says Caroline. “Just over a year ago I decided to take the plunge, leave my 15 year legal career and go full time with the food tours. “I then set up Taste and Tour, with my new business partner Phil Ervine, which incorporates all our other tours including the newly launched Whiskey Walk. The Year of Food and Drink gave us the confidence to do that. “The support from both locals and tourists has been incredible. Locals have sought us out and they have played a huge part in getting the word out there about us and for that

I will always be very grateful. “Tourists cannot believe the quality of the produce here and the warmth of the welcome they get when they visit the various establishments on our tours. The focus on local food and drink has been enormous this year, and the increasing number of producers means we have even more variety to offer to our guests. We can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring!” For further information on Taste and Tour itineraries, including the Belfast Whiskey Walk, Meet the Brewers Brew-

Caroline Wilson runs Taste and Tour

The Siege and the Walled City Brewery


Stephanie Bradley, Restaurant Manager; Laura MacKenzie, Assistant Manager and Josh Kyle, Apprentice Brewer


here is no limit to the creativity of the new crop of entrepreneurs who have seized the opportunities offered by the NI Year of Food and Drink. A prize example is James Huey, founder of Walled City Brewery, who is brewing great beers and adding an extra dimension to the Walled City experience with a restaurant on the Ebrington Square site. He aims to offer a Taste of the North West through crafting local, authentic, premium quality, flavoursome beer and food. “We have a portfolio of six main beers but the exciting part for me is the small batch stuff,” says James. “We have a pale stout called Meg which messes with your head in that it’s pale but tastes like a stout. “From a brewing perspective, it’s tricky to do that but I think we have a great product out there now. “Our main six beers are going very well but the magic of having a small brewery on site is that you

can innovate. The craft beer market in Ireland is getting so big now you need to be innovating.” He said that occasionally does mean pouring an experimental batch down the drain but that that’s all part of R&D.

Mum’s the word

One of the most exciting projects James has been working on is developing a beer that hasn’t been seen in over 300 years and he plans to launch it in March 2017. “It’s an ancient beer that was mentioned in the diaries of one of the soldiers involved in the Siege of Derry in 1689. It’s a very unique style of beer that disappeared and we’re trying to recreate it. “It’s quite strong – it would be above 10% - and it has a lot of herbs and spices in it. “Back

in the day it was used as an elixir to cure things like distemper. The beer was discovered in Governor Walker’s quarters – he was the protagonist of the siege and it was called Mum. We did a lot of digging to try and find a recipe for it and eventually did find it in an old recipe book.”

Year of Food

The sense of place and history is something which James identified strongly with through the NI Year of Food and Drink 2016. He says as soon as the initiative was announced it grabbed his attention as something the Walled City Brewery should embrace. With the brewery’s capacity for flexibility, he went so far as to launch a beer to match the theme of each month – even when

‘We have so much to be proud of’

t was her love of the County Down countryside and appreciation of its gastronomic gems that inspired Tracey Jeffery to launch NI Food Tours last year. Tracey, who lives in Killinchy, is a Patissier by trade and continues to make macarons for her artisan business, Eva Paris, while running NI Food Tours. Visitors relish the opportunity to learn to make traditional Irish bread amongst other delights in her thatched barn on the shores of the lough. Her tours are tailor made, so while one group may express an interest in artisanal foods or craft breweries or distilleries in the area, another might want an entirely immersive cultural experience and Tracey has managed all sorts of activities, including foraging and bodhran

making when required! “My tours are very much about going off the beaten track. We often start the tour at my house which is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – this is a great start to the day. On our Tours we visit the locals of the area who have their story to tell. We take visitors on an authentic experience with a food theme.”

Message out

She was inspired to launch NI Food Tours through selling her macarons at markets and events. “I began to realise there are more award-winning products from this area than anywhere else in Northern Ireland. I wanted to get the message out and get people to taste the amazing produce and ex-

perience the beautiful scenery of Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains.” Tracey says the Year of Food and Drink initiative has helped food producers here realise what they have. “It has given us a great pride in our produce. We always had amazing products and punched way above our weight but we’re not good at shouting about it and being very proud of what we do - now we are starting to realise that we deserve our place on the world stage. She says visitors love what they find. “Whether Europeans or Americans, they are really blown away by what they are tasting here and by the area. It’s outstanding in more ways than one! Visit

ery Tour, Belfast Bites Tour and Belfast Food Tour, visit

Tracey Jeffery loves showing people the beauty of County Down

the theme was entirely food related such as January, ‘Breakfast Month’. “We created a Dried Cured Bacon beer called Snout,” says James. “February was Love Local and we created our Love Locale using local ingredients. For Love Dairy month in June, we had Derry Milk, a milk stout that was so popular, it’s joined our core portfolio now.” The most enduring theme for Walled City Brewery is going to be November’s Legacy and Learn To month, as James has launched a Home Brew Academy as his legacy from the Year of Food and Drink. “It’s starting in 2017 and anyone can come in and do a boot camp in home brewing for a day. We’re seeing a huge interest in home brewing and we want to help people to learn how to brew amazing beers at home.” Find out more at


Belfast Telegraph l DECEMBER 21 2016

Northern Ireland’s new Signature Dish unveiled


he public had their say in the tastiest vote in NI but only one dish could win! ‘Born and Braised’ has been announced as Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish at a grand unveiling, in front of a crowd of foodie fans, at Belfast’s St George’s Market. As part of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016, Tourism NI tasked four of our top chefs to create Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish and following weeks of testing, collaboration and deliberation, the chefs produced a shortlist of three dishes before the winner was crowned. The three shortlisted dishes ‘Born and Braised’, ‘Jowled Eel’ and ‘Buttermilked Lamb’ - battled it out in a public poll over a number of weeks with ‘Born and Braised’ being named the winner. The four creative minds, referred to as the ‘cooking collective’, who created the final three dishes are Niall McKenna from James Street South in Belfast;

Ian Orr from Browns Restaurant and Ardtara House in Derry~Londonderry; Kelan McMichael from Bull and Ram in Ballynahinch and Chris McGowan from Wine and Brine in County Armagh. Naomi Waite, Director of Marketing Tourism Northern Ireland thanked everyone who got involved and voted. “The winning dish, ‘Born and Braised’ will appear on restaurant menus and dinner tables across Northern Ireland, but as the final three were all so delicious there really isn’t any downside for food lovers. “The three dishes prepared by the ‘cooking collective’ are completely new to the dining scene in Northern Ireland and are made from only the best of our local produce. While the Born and Braised, Buttermilked Lamb and Jowled Eel dishes are of restaurant quality the recipes are available on the Discover Northern Ireland website and can easily be cooked, adapted and enjoyed at the dinner table at home.”

Ian Orr, Browns Restaurants and Ardtara Country House Hotel, said: “It’s been lots of fun working with the other guys to come up with a new signature dish for Northern Ireland. I am really pleased with how all the dishes have turned out and delighted that the people of NI have chosen the winning dish for themselves!” Chris McGowan, Wine and Brine, said: “Myself along with the other chefs have been on quite a journey to come up with the dishes for this campaign and whilst it has been challenging, it has also been hugely rewarding. The diversity and quality of produce available across Northern Ireland is astounding and we have showcased just some of it in our three finalist dishes. We hope that everyone enjoys making the winning dish at home and remember to support local producers when buying your ingredients!” Kelan McMichael, Bull and Ram, said: “I have really enjoyed

Born and Braised (serves 4-6)

Shin of Northern Irish beef served with beetroot and bone marrow gremolata INGREDIENTS The brine: 4 litres water 400g salt 150g sugar 400ml black treacle 3 bay leaves 4 cloves garlic 25g pickling spices 250g honey The beef: 3-4kg Peter Hannan’s shin of beef (bone in) 3 carrots 1 onion 2 celery sticks 1 leek 2 bulbs garlic cut in half 500ml Northern Irish artisan Dark Ale such as Belfast Black 300ml Comber honey 250ml red wine vinegar 50g salt Beetroots: 8 beetroots 200ml red wine vinegar 40g sugar 20g salt 2 litres water Bone marrow gremolata: Zest of 2 lemons 40g grated horseradish

20g table celery or fresh parsley chopped finely 400g Peter Hannan’s bone marrow, cooked and diced 400g croutons 4 cloves chopped garlic 20ml Broighter Gold rapeseed oil METHOD For the brine: Bring the water, salt, sugar, black treacle, bay leaves, garlic, pickling spices and honey to the boil and then leave to cool. For the beef: Add the shin of beef to the brine and leave for 24 hours. Remove the beef from the brine and discard the brine. Seal the beef all over on the hob and then place it in a deep roasting dish. Slice the carrots, onion, celery, leek and sauté the vegetables along with the 2 bulbs of garlic until caramelised. Once caramelised, add to the roasting dish with the beef. Pour the ale, honey, red wine vinegar and salt over the beef. Cover the beef with water, place greaseproof paper on top and then cover with tin foil. Cook in a preheated oven (140C) for 4 hours.

After cooking, remove the beef. Pass the remaining stock from the roasting dish through a sieve into a pan. Heat this stock on the hob until syrupy. Season as required and pour over the beef shin. For the beetroots: Clean the beetroots under cold water, then place into a pot. Add the red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and water and boil for 15 minutes. Leave the beetroots to cool in the water. When cool, peel the beetroots and set aside. For the bone marrow gremolata: Mix the lemon zest, grated horseradish, table celery, cooked and diced bone marrow, croutons, diced garlic and rapeseed oil together. To finish the dish, place the beef onto a serving dish. Add the beetroots and put into the oven (180C) for 10 minutes to glaze. Add the bone marrow to the serving dish and serve. Perfect with … A glass of craft beer such as Hilden Halt or one of the Farmageddon range of craft beers.

working on the initiative to find Northern Ireland’s new signature dish and am delighted with what we came up with. We chose the final three dishes because they bring together the very best local produce we have on offer but also because the ingredients are affordable and accessible for people to buy in their local butchers, deli’s and shops. All the ingredients chosen work really well together and are easy to cook so we hope that everyone enjoys cooking the winning dish at home.” Niall McKenna, James Street South Restaurant Group, said: “Coming up with a new signature dish for Northern Ireland has certainly been a challenge but a worthwhile one! All three dishes really embody a taste of Northern Ireland and are stellar examples of the quality, flavour, value and diversity of the amazing produce we have on our doorsteps, and all the ingredients are widely available making each dish accessible to everyone

Edin Faith Carlisle (6) and her mum Patricia from Limavady watch on as Kelan McMichael from Bull and Ram and Ian Orr of Browns Restaurant and Ardtara House show the NI public how to create Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish.

Kelan McMichael from Bull and Ram, Finola Guinnane from Tourism NI, Ian Orr of Browns Restaurant and Ardtara House and Niall McKenna of James Street South proudly unveil the winning dish. across the country. Working with Ian, Kelan and Chris has been a fantastic experience and I hope everyone has lots of fun at home creating these dishes for themselves.” Find out more about Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish by logging on to, and share your thoughts on the Discover NI Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages with the hashtag, #SignatureDishNI. All ingredients used in the dishes was sourced from Northern Ireland food and drink producers and suppliers.

Win a 5* Foodie Break for two in County Fermanagh Home to local produce such as O’Doherty’s award-winning Black Bacon, Erin Grove Preserves and Sheelin Beer, County Fermanagh has a lot to celebrate in its food and drink offering. From stunning scenery to lakeside luxury, discover Fermanagh’s breath-taking natural landscape with its treasure trove of great restaurants, hotels and hidden gems. Nestled in the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands, enjoy an overnight break in the five-star Lough Erne Resort located on the banks of the Lough for two people. After an afternoon exploring the Fermanagh countryside head back to the Resort and dine on the hotel’s seven-course Tasting Menu before relaxing in the bar that evening. Prize winners will also get to experience Fermanagh’s new-

est water touring adventure. Sit back, relax and see Lough Erne on your very own chauffeur driven water taxi. The water taxi will pick you up from the hotel’s jetty and take you on a 1 ½ hour tour around the Lough with a stopover on one of the islands for an Islander Picnic filled with local

produce. To be in with a chance of winning this foodie break, visit www.discovernorthernireland. com/beltelcompetition and signup to the Discover Northern Ireland newsletter featuring short break offers and inspirational holiday ideas in Northern Ireland.

Terms and conditions: Tasting Menu available on Monday night only. Accommodation to be taken on a Monday night. The closing date is December 31, 2016. Erne Water Taxi must be pre-booked. Prize as stated for two adults, no cash alternative will be offered. The prize is non-transferrable.

DECEMBER 21 2016 l Belfast Telegraph

Awards bonanza for NI’s food and drink industry


he amazing success of the NI Year of Food and Drink was not confined to events, exciting menus or new innovations. Our food and drink producers, pubs and restaurants soaked up awards across Ireland and the UK, with some drawing international acclaim. There were prestigious Michelin Stars for Belfast restaurants Ox, headed by Stephen Toman, and Deanes EIPIC, led by top female chef Danni Barry. In the Food & Wine Magazine Restaurant of the Year Awards 2016, Danni Barry won Overall Chef of the Year, Best Chef in Ulster and Deanes EIPIC won Best Restaurant in Ulster. Entrepreneur of the Year was Michael Deane,

owner of Deanes restaurants, while Best Wine Experience was won by OX. The Bib Gourmand was awarded to Wine & Brine, the Old School House Inn, the Bar and Grill at James Street South, Deanes at Queens, Home and Fontana. Wine& Brine, Moira, was also winner of Restaurant of the Year in the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2017. James Devine, Sous Chef at Deanes EIPIC in Belfast, won National Chef of the Year 2017 at The Restaurant Show in London, the UK’s most prestigious culinary competition. James beat off competition from 10 finalists including Restaurant Gordon Ramsey and Petrus.

Ballynahinch restaurant Bull and Ram had double success in the Yes Chef Awards winning Best Newcomer and Best Casual Dining Ulster and Best Casual Dining Ireland. In the 2016 AA Hospitality Awards, Hotel of the Year for NI was won by the Manor House Country Hotel, Enniskillen. It was another stellar year for Hannan Meats, of Moira, winning Double Gold in the World Steak Challenge, as well as the Great Taste Supreme Champion award for the second time for its Glenarm Shorthorn 4 Rib Roast! Peter Hannan’s premium Himalayan salt aged Glenarm Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus are already gracing the best tables in a num-

ber of countries. At the Nantwich International Cheese Awards, Dale Farm swept the ‘cheese board’ while Baked in Belfast won two gold and two silvers in the World Marmalade Awards 2016 while in the British Street Food Award Final in Birmingham, Broughgammon Farm won the ‘Best Snack’ category. The jewel in the city, St. George’s Market, won Best Market in the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2016. The Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards 2016 saw Comber firm Mash Direct pick up awards for Chilled & Fresh Produce Manufacturing Company of the Year and Food Manufacture Company of the Year.


Head Chef Danni Barry and restaurant owner Michael Deane won a Michelin Star for Deanes EIPIC just 18 months after it opened at Howard Street, Belfast. Photo by Alan Lewis -

Irish Restaurant Awards


Peter Hannan has broken the UK record for wins at the Great Taste Awards, as well as winning double Gold in the World Steak Challenge

Hannan Meat’s breaks Great Taste Awards record T his has been an exceptional year for Northern Ireland’s entries to the Great Taste Awards with Peter Hannan, of Hannan Meats, breaking all records with 59 stars for 36 products, including the maximum 3 star rating for his Glenarm Shorthorn 4 Rib Roast, Sugar Pit Beef Brisket, Pastrami Beef Brisket and Glenarm Shorthorn Wing Rib Sirloin. The top rating of 3 stars was also awarded for Oolong Orange Blossom and Ayurvedic Suki Teas, Thompson’s Punjana Original and Irish Breakfast Tea bags, Clandeboye Estate Greek Style Yoghurt, Smoked Abernethy Butter, Kearney Blue cheese and Dale Farm’s Rowan Glen Reduced Fat Crème Fraiche.

The extremely tough judging panel awarded 2 stars for a number of drinks including Mourne Mountains Brewery’s Red Trail Red IPA, Armagh Cider Company’s Carson’s Crisp, Long Meadow Cider’s Blossom Burst and Rademon Estate’s Shortcross Gin. In non-alcoholic drinks, Seriously Juicy’s Sweet Beet juice won 2 stars as did Punjana’s Loose Tea, Thompson’s Black Tea Orange Cookies, Suki Tea’s Indian Spiced

Chai and Whole Peppermint teas, Thompson’s Everyday Teabags, their Signature Blend Teabags, Turkish Apple, Hot Summer Red and Hedgerow Heaven blends. Northern Ireland’s excellent bakers scored well with 2 stars for Graham’s Bakery’s Irish Oat Cookies, Genesis Crafty for their SuperValu Brown Soda Loaf, the Heatherlea’s Coarse Wheaten Bread, Genesis Crafty’s Tea Brack and Deli Lites Salted Caramel Brownies. La Coquine’s Young Buck and Port and Passion Fruit Chocolates both took two stars as did Blackthorn Foods’ Orange and Dark Chocolate Fudge. Broighter Gold’s Special Edition Liquid Gold with 23ct Gold Flakes won 2 stars alongside Black Garlic Miso and Fresh Lovage and Pine Oils from En Place Foods. North Coast Smokehouse won with their Smoked Dulse as did Broughgammon’s Smoked Goat Bacon. Hannan Meats took 2 stars each for Bacon Ribs, Bacon Rack, Smoked Bacon Rack, Smoked Back Bacon and Slab Bacon, Glenarm Shorthorn T-Bone Steak, Himalayan Salt-Aged Rib Steak, Extra-Matured Himalayan SaltAged Cote de Boeuf, Himalayan

Salt-Aged Delmonico Steak, Sugar Pit Beef Short Rib, Pastrami Beef Short Rib, Extra Matured Himalayan Salt-Aged Sirloin Steak, Glenarm Sharing Sirloin Steak, Himalayan Salt-Aged Lamb Rack and the Rump Burger. Kennedy’s also took 2 stars for their Dry Cured Gammon Roast as did Quail’s Fine Foods’ Dry Cured Streaky Bacon, 28 Day Aged Himalayan Salt-Aged Bone In Rib Roast and Homemade Pastrami. Carnbrooke Meats won 2 stars for their Salt-Aged Fillet of Beef, Mourne Lamb Carvery Leg, French-Trimmed Mourne Lamb Rack and Mourne Lamb Rump. Cavanagh’s Free Range Eggs jumped up to 2 stars from 1 in 2015. L’Artisan Foods won with their Smoked Salmon Quiche and their Portuguese Natas custard tarts. Dale Farm took 2 stars for their Natural Cottage Cheese and the Yellow Door impressed with their Sticky Toffee Pudding and Glastry Farm with their Zesty Lemon sorbet. There were stars for craft beer producers Lacada, Whitewater, Hillstown and Northbound and for MacIvor’s and Kilmegan cider

companies. Winners for non-alcoholic beverages included Squeeze, Thompson, SD Bell and Suki. Bakery winners included Ann’s Pantry, Genesis, Super Valu, Yellow Door, Irwin’s, The Cookie Jar, Linwoods, The Krazi Baker, Heatherlea, Modition’s Bakery and Amber Catering. Producers of condiments who won a star included Passion Preserved, Hollah Preserving, Deli Muru, PEPPUP Sauces, En Place, North Coast Smokehouse and Red Dog. Among the meat producers, Hannan Meats picked up a further 17 stars. They were joined by Kennedy Bacon, Cookstown, Finnebrogue, Carnbrooke, Buchanan, Baronscourt and Cloughbane Farm Shop. Dairy star winners included: Clements Eggs, Glenballyeamon Eggs, Clandeboye Estate Yoghurts, Abernethy Butter, Dale Farm’, Dart Mountain and Fivemiletown. Sweets and desserts one star winners included La Coquine, Brambleberry Jam, Glastry Farm, Dale Farm and Yellow Door. Vegetable producers to win included Mash Direct and Avondale Foods and for cereals, Tamnagh Foods.

hile David Gilmore of James S t r e e t S ou t h won Best Chef in Antrim in the Irish R e s t a u r a n t Aw a r d s 2016, in the remaining counties, Uluru Bistro won the award for Armagh, in Derry~Londonderry it was Browns Restaurant and Champagne Lounge, in Co Down the winner was The Boat House, Bangor, and in Fermanagh, the Watermill Restaurant. Best Chef Awards went to David Gilmore of James Street South for Antrim and John Matthers of Newforge House - which also won Best Hotel Restaurant in the county for Armagh. Chef Danny Millar of Balloo House was the winner for Down and Noel McMeel of Catalina Restaurant at Lough Erne Resort for Fermanagh. The Catalina also won the Best Hotel Restaurant Award for Fermanagh while in Antrim that honour went to The River Room at Galgorm Resort. In Derry the Hotel Restaurant award went to the Ardmore Restaurant at Beech Hill Country House Hotel and in Down, it went to The Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro in Bangor. The winner in Tyrone was The Kitchen Restaurant at Tullylagan Country House Hotel. For Best Casual Dining, gongs went to Armagh - 4 Vicars; Derry - Harry’s Shack and Tyrone - Oysters Restaurant. There were Best Gastro Pub awards for The Poacher’s Pocket in Down and Wine & Brine in Armagh which also picked up a Best Newcomer Award, along with the Walled City

Brewery in Derry~Londonderry. Best Wine Experience Awards went to Uluru Bistro, Browns Restaurant and Champagne Lounge, The Boat House and OX cave while Alain Kerloch’h of OX won Best Restaurant Manager. Best Customer Service Awards went to The Great Room Restaurant at the Merchant Hotel, The Moody Boar, Browns in Town, Kilmorey Arms Hotel and Best Café was The Jolly Sandwich in Enniskillen. Among the many other awards throughout the year, a highlight was the NI Tourism Awards 2016 and the winners included: Hotel of the Year Galgorm Resort & Spa; Most promising New Tourism Business - Walled City Brewery; Customer Service Excellence Bushmills Inn Hotel & Restaurant and Serviced Accommodation - Blackwell House. Northern Ireland producers were well represented at the Irish Quality Food Awards w ith a Platinum w in for Tempted? Elderf lower Cider and Farmageddon Gold Pale Ale. Gold winners also included Genesis Crafty, Magherafelt, Farmageddon India Export Porter and Tesco Finest Salted Caramel Cream Liqueur by Niche Drinks Co, Derry~ Londonderry. The Dunnes Stores Simply Better Small Producer of the Year was Camran Artisan Crafts, Carrickfergus, for its Orange, Mango and Gin Marshmallow and the SPAR Select Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar Crisps by Golden Wonder, Tandragee.


Belfast Telegraph l DECEMBER 21 2016

Launching the NI Ye ar of Food and Drink 20 Tourism NI; Jackie Reid, Belfast Telegrap 16 Awards: Susie Brown, h; Paul McKnight, Cu and Michele Shirlow, lloden Hotel Food NI

To celebrate the success of the Year of Food and Drink 2016, Tourism NI is partnering with the Belfast Telegraph to deliver a prestigious awards event in February 2017. The awards will celebrate the best of Northern Ireland’s food and drink industry with nominations welcome from the public, food critics, governing bodies and industry associations.

MEET THE JUDGES The entrants to the Year of Food and Drink Awards have to impress some of the most discerning critics in the UK and Ireland with the judging panel comprising top food writers Charles Campion, Georgina Campbell and Joris Minne and Professor Una McMahon-Beattie, Head of the Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management at the University of Ulster. All four are looking forward to getting down to work, having followed the Year of Food and Drink closely.

Charles Campion says: “I look forward to finding plenty more people dedicated to raising the standard of food and drink even further!” Georgina Campbell says: “Far from being ‘just another awards scheme’ the NI Year of Food and

Drink Awards in association with Belfast Telegraph are highly relevant to the development of the food and drink visitor experience, in underpinning the very real achievements of 2016 and paving the way for further ‘taste the place’ progress in 2017 and beyond.”

NI Year of Food and Drink 2016 Awards categories There are eight categories entrants can apply for ÷ Best NI Food Event or Festival ÷ Best NI Local Market ÷ Best NI Tours and Trails ÷ Best Food Story

÷ Roots to Market ÷ Growing for The Future ÷ Best Marketing Achievement ÷ Best Food Innovation

It’s time to celebra t best of No e the rthern Ireland’s f ood and dr ink sector! To e nter or nominate a winner, v is belfasttele it k foodanddr inkawards / #YOFADBE LTE AWARDS L

Northern Ireland Year of Food & Drink 2016  
Northern Ireland Year of Food & Drink 2016