With tourism on the rise, Northern Ireland is fast becoming known for its foodie culture; and rightfully so because we have some of the best produce in the world! And that’s not just fluffy talk, it’s hard fact. If you go on holiday in Europe the likelihood is that you’ll be eating Northern Irish seafood, as close to 80% of our catch is exported. Take a walk around the luxurious halls of London’s fortnum & masons and you can buy Northern Irish beef. We produce mutton and Rose Veal but we send more across the water than we sell locally. And it’s not just meat and fish. This weekend I was invited down to see the Food NI pavillion at the Balmoral Show, Food NI specialise in showcasing food grown and produced exclusively in Northern Ireland. There is all sorts of amazing produce coming out of NI and after tasting some amazing goodies at this years Balmoral Show (my first year going but hopefully not my last!) I just had to share my favourite picks.
This amazing apple butter is flavoured with cinnamon and treacle and can be used in so many ways but you’ll find it hard to resist just digging the spoon in the jar! Currently sold on its own or with Clandeboye Yoghurt it also received the prize for best new product at Balmoral Show with Morelli’s Ice cream for their Irish Black Butter rippled ice cream! I have a dream of creating a cupcake wonder.. what do you think?
Available in Sawers Belfast, Arcadia Deli, Indie Fude and soon they’ll be selling online directly!
I am not a huge lover of vinegar if I’m honest but these Burren Balsamics lie on the sweeter end of the vinegar scale so I was very happy. The Irish Cherry would be fab as marinade for duck or chicken and just look at how pretty the Gold Leaf balsamic is! Imagine taking out your salad dressing at lunch and wowing the office with those gold flecks! Salad will never be boring again.
Available at Arcadia Deli, Hannans Meat Merchant in Moira and several locations across NI!
Draynes Farm are mainly known for their milk but for a while now they have had a side line in small batch ice creams and this Chocolate Sorbet is the one to seek. This is because it is a magical sorbet that defies science and tastes just like ice cream! So you can have all pleasure of eating ice cream with none of the guilt!
Available in the Lisburn area, milk available in Sawers and across NI
Once again I’ll admit I’m not a vinegar lover so pickles usually don’t get me going but Caroline Stewart (who you may be familiar with off the radio!) has mastered the sweet pickle with her mild offering. Don’t worry though they also do a hot version but I’m just too feared to try it!
Available in Hillmount Gardens Centres, Sawers Belfast, Arcadia Deli, and Indie Fude.
Krazi Baker’s Dexter Mince and Onion filled Potato Bread.
Ok so this might be the most Northern Irish food ever created and it needs to become famous because filling a potato bread farm with mince and onion in gravy is absolute genius! Think of it like a northern irish pasty, perfect on go the go (although make sure you carry a napkin) and super tasty! The fact that they also use local dexter beef is a fab bonus.
Based on Dromore you can find them at several different markets including Crumlin Road Gaol and Folkstown Market.
I grew up on North Yorkshire with a foodie father and a love for fish. Simply put: A girl knows her scampi. This was some of the best scampi I've ever tasted. Clean and fresh seafood with a simultaneously gooey and crunchy batter. Divine!
See their twitter and Facebook accounts for updates on where they are visiting next.
Of course these are just some of the amazing produce we tasted on saturday, I thoroughly recommend checking out any Food NI events happening and make sure you don't miss out!