Northern Ireland's Year of Food and Drink 2016 is a celebration of everything delicious about the North. The epic landscapes, traditions and people that make the food heritage so unique. With 366 days of foodie experiences, there will be no better time for visitors to enjoy a true taste of Northern Ireland.
Food is a vital part of the Northern Ireland tourism experience and is as important as accommodation, culture and scenery for visitors coming to experience the real Northern Ireland.
Visitors often cite “good quality food, drink and dining” as a key factor when choosing the destination for a short break.
Northern Ireland’s reputation for high quality food and drink is going from strength to strength based on local business recognition in awards from e Guild of Fine Foods. With two supreme champions within the whole of the U.K. and Ireland (McCartney’s of Moira and Hannan Meats) and European recognition of the North’s Comber Early Potatoes, Armagh Bramley Apples and Lough Neagh Eels, it really is something to shout about.
The fresh local produce adds value and a real stamp of authenticity to the visitor experience, and Northern Ireland is poised to grow its reputation on the global stage as a great place to visit and eat. After all, everybody remembers that time they had an exceptional food experience.
Here’s a look at the 12 months ahead in Northern Ireland from a foodie’s perspective:
Celebrate the wonderful charms of a real Northern Ireland breakfast. Along with the staples of bacon, sausages, eggs and tomatoes, the Ulster Fry has the added glories of soda farls and potato bread.
Northern Ireland will celebrate all things local this month. From the artisan to the brilliant big producers, there’s something for everyone.
Heritage and Traditions
Many of the North’s finest chefs and food and drink producers use methods and recipes that have been passed down for generations. Nothing tastes as delicious or authentic as tradition.
Brewing & Distilling
From craft beers, to gin, whiskey and beyond, it’s the month to celebrate all the brilliant things the North is brewing and distilling. In Northern Ireland there has been an explosion in the manufacturing of craft beers and unique gins and whiskeys.
Landscape & Places
In May, Northern Ireland will show how the landscape transforms the taste. The North’s locations and landscapes are tied to its food and drink. This month is all about celebrating the best of local -- Lough Neagh’s eels, Glenarm’s salmon or Fermanagh’s black bacon.
Dairy is king in June. With the amount of lush grassland that covers Northern Ireland, it is no wonder that the dairy is award winning. From farmhouse cheeses to traditional ice cream, dairy is put to good use.
Seas, Rivers & Loughs
Get set for a seafood extravaganza as Northern Ireland champions the best of its lakes, islands, riverbanks and ocean edges. The coasts, rivers and lakes are out of this world so it’s no surprise that the North catches and cooks some of the best seafood imaginable.
Love NI Meat
Carnivores rejoice! Nothing is more tempting at an outdoor event than a pulled pork sandwich, a gourmet beef burger or a succulent lamb kebab. Enjoy them, and many more meat treats!
Bread & Baking
One of the North’s staple foods is undergoing a renaissance. New and different breads are emerging in cafes and bakeries across Northern Ireland, and with that is coming a resurgence in baking talent.
October is all about championing the fruits of the land, the North’s wonderful climate and the talents of the local farmers.
Legacy & Learn
Time to think about the legacy of this delicious year. The North’s culinary interests will keep on producing great fare, and will carry the lessons of 2016 into future years.
Christmas & Premium Foods
Embrace the Christmas spirit this month and be part of the Yuletide celebration extravaganza. Christmas is a time to indulge, and 2016 will be bigger and better than ever.