Nearly 2,000 delegates from 55 countries gathered in Belfast Waterfront this week for the 2016 World Credit Union Conference, bringing a welcome £3.7m to the city’s economy.
The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is dedicated to strengthening local communities through helping stimulate economic growth and its annual 4-day conference was no exception. WOCCU worked with over 60 local suppliers including 20 hoteliers to maximise the positive impact its event had on the region’s economy.
With our fresh, local produce central to the visitor experience and with many of our visitors choosing the self-catering option for their stays in Northern Ireland, advice from accommodation providers on where to access the best of our natural larders is becoming increasingly important. Welcome hampers packed with local breads and jams, cereals and yoghurts are now a common addition to the self-catering package however, for the more perishable goods, such as the excellent seafood provided by our pristine marine environment, on-the-ground knowledge and ease of access is essential.
Enter the white fishmongers’ vans which for generations have left Northern Ireland’s fishing ports laden with top-quality local seafood to serve customers in county markets, through door-to-door sales and on ‘patches’ established over years and passed down through families.
The Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 continues with a ‘Seas, Rivers and Loughs’ theme throughout the month of July. Tourism Northern Ireland held a special event at Belfast Cookery School where local chef, Stephen Jeffers taught a selection of local press how to cook two delicious meals using a selection of Northern Ireland’s tasty fish from supplier, Ewings Fishmongers. Crawford Ewing from Ewing’s Fishmongers talked about how important it was to include fish in your diet and encouraged everyone in NI to try more fish.
Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen has congratulated four golf courses from counties Antrim and Fermanagh on being accredited with a Golf Quality and Assurance award.
The addition of Ballyclare, Knock and Dunmurry parkland courses to the award scheme and the Castle Hume lakeland course at Lough Erne Resort brings the total of accredited golf clubs in Northern Ireland to 35.
It might seem contradictory for those behind a water taxi service to enter unchartered waters but that’s the case with a Fermanagh couple running Ireland’s only water-based food trail.
Barry and Helen Flanagan launched Erne Water Taxis in March along with the Lough Erne Food Trail which offers a series of tours around the lake. Placing food, landscape and story at the heart of the visitor offering, the trail captures the essence of the Year of Food and Drink and was launched to coincide with the initiative.
“We wanted to do something for the Year of Food and Drink with the food trail being the idea from the beginning,” said Barry. “As we all know there has been a growing recognition of food as a vital part of our culture, heritage and landscape but here in Fermanagh I’d seen an even greater awareness since the G8 summit. That event put a global focus on Fermanagh as a place with top quality local produce with chefs like Noel McMeel [head chef at the Lough Erne Resort where the world leaders gathered] shouting from the rooftops about its quality. That confidence spreads and the Year of Food and Drink has given people yet another opportunity to buy into that.”
Belfast Metropolitan College has acknowledged the importance of the city’s first fish frying apprenticeship scheme as part of the Year of Food and Drink’s ‘Seas, Rivers and Loughs’ month.
Supported by Seafish, the programme is being run in conjunction with John Dory’s award winning fish and chip shops.
The fish frying apprenticeships recognise the skill of employees whilst adding a valuable qualification framework to this thriving local industry.
Belfast Met tutor Ben Polley, said the college was ‘thrilled’ to be delivering the scheme along with the local fish and chip business and the industry training body.
Belfast’s last surviving indoor Victorian market has long been a magnet for locals, stocking up on the weekly shopping from the myriad of stalls within its walls. Built in the 1890s and designed by the then city surveyor, JC Bretland, St George’s has now been serving its citizens for over 120 years.
However, the striking red bricked landmark on the edge of the Markets area is also reflecting the ongoing growth in the city’s tourist trade. Its recent emergence as a vibrant attraction has seen it placed as a must-see for visitors, both domestic and international, who beat a path to its doors. As both the starting point and core of some of the city’s burgeoning food tours – as well as a popular venue for industry conferences during this Year of Food and Drink - the market is fast establishing itself as an integral part of the food tourism trade.
The latest in a series of events organised by Mid and East Antrim Borough as part of the Year of Food and Drink took place last week to coincide with July’s Seas, Rivers and Loughs month.
The ‘Cook Your Catch’ event, which took place at Blackhead Path in Whitehead, saw participants fish for cod, coli and pollock before cooking up their haul at a seaside barbecue.
The event, which is part of an innovative ‘Wild About Food’ calendar put together in collaboration with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, was hailed by Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor William McNeilly. Cllr McNeilly said the shoreline initiative was a great way to celebrate the Borough’s local coastlines and natural larder.
The Guildhall in Derry has welcomed its one millionth visitor since a major restoration project on the building in 2013 which was supported by funding from Tourism NI.
As one of the major visitor attractions in the city the hall welcomes visitors from all over the world and last week announced its millionth – and one - visitor Kevin and Christine Keenan from Randalstown.
The Guildhall was lovingly restored to its former glory in 2013 after two years of restoration work with Tourism NI providing around £2.4 million towards the project.
An innovative ice cream created specifically for the Derry stage of the Clipper Round the World yacht race was introduced to French celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli during his visit to the Foyle Maritime Festival last week.
The newly created Saint Brendan’s Ice Cream has been developed by Glastry Farm Ice Cream and Niche Drinks, the producers of Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueur.
The Saint Brendan’s Ice Cream, which is now part of Glastry’s established portfolio of 20 ice cream flavours and three sorbets, came about after Derry and Strabane Council’s suggestion to the companies to collaborate on a new product to mark the event which ran from 9-17th July as part of the Maritime Festival.
Will Taylor, managing director of Glastry Farm Ice Cream in Kircubbin said his company was delighted to be part of such an important community event in the North West.
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