Throughout the summer months, Northern Ireland will be celebrating the region’s unique food heritage, delicious produce and food and drink innovation. Dedicated food festivals, learning experiences and events will run throughout the summer season highlighting the colourful flavours on offer.
Considered one of Europe’s best-kept foodie destinations, Northern Ireland has made significant progress in building a reputation for excellence in food production and hospitality. In honour of the festivities, each month of the calendar year has been themed, from August’s ‘Love Meat’ month to September’s ‘Bread and Baking,’ there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Top-picks for travellers looking for authentic and mouthwatering travel experiences include farm-to-fork dining at the Orchard Acre Farm or a decadent recreation of the last meal served on the Titanic - all nine courses of it!
Get crafty at Gin Fest, Belfast
From now until the 20th of August, gin-lovers heading to Belfast can indulge at this years sinfully tasty Gin Fest 2016, held at the historical Crown Liquor Saloon. The Victoriana gem is a Grade Listed building and the only public house in the UK that is owned by the National Trust. This year they will be showcasing 31 different premium versions of the tipple, together with innovative gin infused cocktails, mixology master-classes, a Secret Gin Party and prize giveaways. New gins on offer include Death’s Door from the U.S., Little Bird, hailing from Peckham in London and Monkey 47, made in the heart of Germany’s Black Forest.
How: Visit the trendy Crown Liquor Saloon, for Belfast’s home-grown Shortcross gin and tonic garnished with an orange twist.
Farm-to-fork dining at The Orchard Acre Farm
This family-run eco-barn is part of the only eco-tourism farm in County Fermanagh. The award-winning farm offers cooking and learning experiences from local craft beers, under the expert guidance of local brewer Inirsh Mac Saint.
How: Classes run throughout the year and prices start from £30 per person
For more information: http://www.orchardacrefarm.co.uk/
Go back in time and savour the Titanic’s last meal
Rayanne House Hotel in Belfast offers guests the chance to sample the last meal enjoyed onboard the Titanic. The menu is made-up of nine decadent courses, to be savoured with views of the Belfast Lough - where the Titanic sailed down on her maiden voyage. Standout dishes include filet mignon topped with Foie Gras and locally distilled Bushmills Whiskey infused soup.
How: Prices start from £69 per person
For more information: www.rayannehouse.com/titanic-menu
Hilden Beer and Music Festival, Lisburn – 26–28 August
Taking place during the August Bank Holiday, the Hilden Beer and Music Festival will be celebrating its 31st year this year with three days of live music, craft beers and gourmet food in the grounds of the historic Hilden House. Accompanied by Hilden’s range of award-winning brews, the event is one of Northern Ireland’s longest running festivals, showcasing local products and artists.
How: Ticket prices start from £10 per person
For more information: www.hildenbrewery.com
Sharpen your cooking skills
Broaden your palette through local cooking classes, set amongst wild and scenic backdrops of rolling hills and lush countryside. Be inspired at the Belle Isle Cookery School on the magnificent Belle Isle Estate in County Fermanagh where pupils discover and use only the freshest ingredients foraged locally; or learn to prepare the best fish-dishes at the Mourne Seafood Cookery School, set in the hear of Kilkeel – home to Northern Ireland’s largest fishing fleet.
How: Prices start from £15 per person at the Mourne Seafood School or £30 per person at the Belle Isle Cookery School
Discover unknown delicacies at the Lammas Fair in historical Ballycastle – 29–30 August
Held annually since the 17th Century, the two-day Ould Lammas Fair features more than 400 stalls of arts, crafts and locally produced farm products. The origins of the fair are embroiled in the myths and legends of Ireland and will showcase local specialties, including ‘Yellow Man’ – a sweet honeycomb candy – and a red seaweed known as ‘Dulse.’ There will also be plenty of live music and is a chance for visitors to get-to-know the locals.
How: The event is free
For more information: www.ballycastle.info/info/lfair/lfair.htm
For more details, please visit www.ireland.com
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Notes to editors:
Food and drink is Northern Ireland’s biggest and most successful industry, projected to generate around £5 billion for the local economy in 2016.
Northern Ireland currently exports over 60% of its product to over 80 countries worldwide and the year-long campaign is set to help increase its export sales to £30 million.