Tourism NI is responsible for the development of tourism and the marketing of Northern Ireland as a tourist destination to visitors within Northern Ireland and from the Republic of Ireland.
Ahead of the Year of Food and Drink’s ‘Love NI Meat’ month, the sector has been given a massive boost with a record breaking awards haul by one of its leading producers. The Meat Merchant, owned by Peter Hannan, smashed all records at this week’s UK Great Taste Awards achieving 36 product awards and a record total of 59 stars. That sum amounts to the biggest number of accolades for a single food manufacturer in UK and Ireland at the prestigious annual awards event deemed the ‘Food Oscars’.
Economy Minister Simon Hamilton congratulated all the Northern Ireland food and drink companies recognised in the 2016 awards announced on Thursday (28 July). Thirteen local products from eight companies received the top award of three gold stars at the event organised by the influential UK Guild of Fine Food. Eighty four local companies secured almost 303 gold stars in total.
The Open House Festival’s decision to place food and drink at the heart of this year’s offering has already paid off in style with almost all of the food related events sold out and over 1000 tickets sold.
The fourth annual festival will kick off in Bangor this Monday (August 1) and will run until August 31 with over 120 events taking place in 40 locations across the town. To mark the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink the 2016 festival will include 26 food and drink events supported with sponsorship by Tourism NI. With over 1000 tickets already sold and 23 of the events sold out wining and dining will play a huge part throughout the month.
“The Sundown Market in particular on Friday 19 August will be one of the biggest and best celebrations of local artisan produce that Northern Ireland has ever seen,” said Open House director, Kieran Gilmore. “There’ll be over 50 producers visiting Bangor that night, with a selection of street-food stalls, a pop up craft beer bar, and some great live music."
Cookstown’s celebrations for the Year of Food and Drink and the completion of a public realm scheme carried out by the local council will mean the County Tyrone town will be ‘looking good and tasting great’ for this year’s Continental Market.
Taking place from Friday 2 to Sunday 4, September, the market is organised by Mid Ulster District Council who this year will place local produce at the heart of the activity. Foodies will not only get the chance to sample cuisines from all over the world, but also a flavour of the best of local produce, with a showcase of local food and a series of cooking demonstrations.
The weekend-long event will also ensure children are entertained and will feature a range of music with performances in the town centre on Friday and Saturday evenings and a stage for local talent on Sunday afternoon.
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council are ready to ‘meat’ the challenge of building on last year’s Moira Speciality Food Fair after securing sponsorship from Tourism NI as part of the Year of Food and Drink.
The council has announced a packed line-up for the fair’s second appearance in Moira Demesne on Saturday, 20 August which is being supported this year by the Year of Food and Drink Tourism Events Scheme. Scheduled to take place during Love NI Meat month, the event could not be more ideally placed with Moira being home to some of our most celebrated meat champions.
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