The Food and Drink Show NI 2014
If the lottery prize was a food and drink show then Northern Ireland has hit the jackpot. After the success of last year’s event, which attracted around 10k visitors, local foodies will be delighted to learn that it’s coming back to the King’s Hall for seconds.
From exhibiting the best of local produce, demos by celebrity chefs/guests and an interactive cookery experience for the kids, the show really is packed full of features to cater for all the family.
As far as I am concerned one of the must-sees for any foodie worth their salt is the Artisan Village. There will be an array of local delicacies to sample and enjoy. Now, who’s going to pass up the opportunity to try some of the highest quality local food and beverages our wee country has to offer? You’ll also get to meet the people at the heart of these local brands and discover new favourites. There are several in particular that have peaked my interest, and I thought I would use this occasion to pose them a few questions about what we can all expect from their displays.
Image © Keen
I spoke to Aimee from Keen Nut Butter,
who told me it was their second year attending the show, having used it as a platform to launch the company the previous year. This time around, they will be treating us to their entire classic range plus an exclusive show-only flavour! Aimee described Keen Nut Butter as “healthy yet indulgent”, and I happen to agree that is something we can all appreciate. When I asked what the good folks at Keen would like to gain from the show, Aimee responded that they were eager to get introducing their products to the gathered foodies and hopefully some new chefs and stockists. She also highlighted the importance of getting to know their fellow food producers within the NI artisan food community (something I strongly commend!). I’m a huge fan of their almond butter and trust me when I say that this is not a stall to be missed.
Image © Broighter Gold
Leona from Broighter Gold
was also kind enough to answer a few questions. Like Keen they were present at last years show and enjoyed great success, meeting new customers who recognised their brand through the wonders of social media. Leona shared with me that hearing positive comments from said customers, as well as having them remark on the notable difference between them and rival brands, really makes all the effort worthwhile. She observes that having a loyal fan base is vital to a small business and keeping this self-proclaimed “farmers wife” in a job! Perhaps this gratitude is one reason why at this years event, foodies will be rewarded with new oils to try, as well as getting to stock up for Christmas with their gift bags and Christmas boxes! “GrownHereNotFlownHere!” is how Leona describes their oils. Grown, bottled and sold from their own farm here in NI.
Image © Tamnagh Foods
To round things off we have a newcomer to the show! Kevin from Tamnagh Foods stated they will be bringing along their recently launched Sperrin Blue (a creamy blue veined cows milk cheese) and Dart Mountain Dusk (an ash coated semi hard cows milk cheese) in addition to their range of relishes, chutneys and granola products. He feels that the show will be a perfect venue to increase awareness of their great products, handcrafted in small batches in the scenic Sperrin Mountains. Kevin considers their products to be “…a unique reflection of the landscape of our region”. They’ve won Gold at both the Great Taste Awards and Irish Food Awards, accolades that should encourage anyone to make this an essential port on their food voyage.
You can find the full list of exhibitors here.
Image © Food and Drink Show
Now a show isn’t a show without some celebrity guests! This year sees James Martin, John Torode, Rachel Allen and Simon Rimmer share their expertise on the Moy Park Celebrity Theatre stage. As well as Catherine Fulvio who will be on the Safeguard stage, Saturday and Sunday, to educate and demonstrate cookery skills for children. I’m looking forward to checking out food stylist and writer Sharon Hearne-Smith on the Phoenix Natural Gas Baking Stage. Can’t wait!
Tickets for the show are selling fast so make sure to grab yours while they’re still available! Click here to book now!
I’ll be attending Saturday’s show. Maybe I’ll see some of you there?
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