SEAFOOD lovers will be in for a treat this year with a number of festivals and events taking place showcasing Northern Ireland’s rich local produce says the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB).
The quality of Northern Ireland’s sea and freshwater produce food has been ranked among the best in the world and the reputation of local producers has been recognised with Lough Neagh being Europe’s greatest source of eels and Cuan Oysters named the best in the world.
The food festivals taking place will give locals and visitors alike the opportunity to sample some of the high quality food on offer and a chance to get inspired with a number of local chefs providing cookery demonstrations says NITB’s Culture & Heritage Officer Elaine Groves.
“Northern Ireland has a really vibrant food scene and the food festivals taking place provide a fantastic platform for local producers to showcase their wares and a chance for people to experience the real taste of Northern Ireland,” said Elaine.
“With everything from tasting sessions to cookery demonstrations and a world oyster eating competition, the events also offer a great chance for families to enjoy an exciting day out with lots of entertainment,” she added.
Flavours of Foyle, Co. Londonderry
This fabulous two day seafood festival, taking place on June 30 and July 1, will celebrate the flavours of the Foyle with live cookery demonstrations by 14 local chefs from across the North West and further afield. There will also be a number of food stalls hosted by local chefs, restaurants offering authentic seafood dishes to try and buy, and a seafood trail offering the perfect opportunity for seafood fans to sample some of the best locally sourced fish. Sample baked seabass fillets with fresh vine tomatoes, lime and ginger at La Sosta, fresh seafood chowder at The Tower Hotel and fillet of hake in coriander cream sauce at the City Hotel.
Flavour Fine Food Festival, Shane’s Castle
The Flavour Fine Food Festival will be taking place in Shane’s Castle on June 29 – 30 and is set to be better and bigger than before. The festival is part of the Irish Game Fair and will see local foods including game and fish being brought to life through exhibitors and cookery demonstrations which will showcase mouth-watering and inspiring dishes.
Visitors will have the chance to sample and buy local food and drink such as beef from Bruce’s Hill Farm Shop, Lough Neagh eels, and cider, juices and vinegar from the Armagh Cider Company. Or if you fancy making your own wine, beers or cider then make sure you don’t miss the Dromara based company Get Er Brewed’s stand which supplies homemade kits along with all the equipment needed to start making your own.
Dalriada Festival, Glenarm Castle
Taking place in Glenarm Castle on July 13 – 20, this festival has been billed as Northern Ireland’s biggest cultural and heritage festival. As well as a range of sport and music activities there will be a Fine Food Courtyard at the event which will showcase many high quality local producers and food from right across Northern Ireland including Glenarm Organic Salmon and Ewings Seafood. Celebrity chefs Paul Rankin, Paula McIntrye and Ian Orr will also be taking part in a number of cookery demonstrations throughout the festival.
Hillsborough Oyster Festival
Held every year in September, the Hillsborough Oyster Festival is not to be missed and guarantees fun for all the family. Taking place from September 3 – 8, one of the main highlights of the festival is the World Oyster Eating Championship. This year will see two events taking place, the first will be the ‘warm-up’ event on September 5 and will see entrants from all over the world compete to see who can consume 30 native oysters in the fastest time before the main Oyster Eating Championship takes place on September 7. The current world champion, who consumed 233 oysters in three minutes last year, will be competing against new contenders from America.
On September 8 you will be able to sample and buy the very best of local produce at the Gourmet Food Market and throughout the day there will be cookery demonstrations from Northern Ireland’s best chefs – Danny Millar, Andy Rae, Brian McCann and Niall McKenna.
As well as food events there will be lots more taking place during the festival including a Live Concert featuring Flash Harry, a Diamonds and Pearls Fashion Show and Super Car Sunday.
To find out more about food events and local produce click on www.discovernorthernireland.com or visit your local tourist information centre.