Growing up in Northern Ireland means we cultivate a lasting love affair with certain iconic brands, some of which are now well known throughout Ireland and further afield. February celebrates ‘Love Local’ in our monthly themes for the Year of Food and Drink 2016.
When you look around our phenomenal landscapes, you’ll not be surprised that we’re bursting at the seams with wonderful local producers. Bring your appetite, book a room and enjoy the tasty creations our farms, factories, breweries and bakeries are making.
Tayto crisps are well known throughout Ireland, but the jury is out on the ongoing debate on both sides of the border about whose Tayto cheese and onion tastes better! The NI Brand celebrates its 60th birthday this month and you can visit the 4* Tayto Castle in Tandragee in Co. Armagh for guided tours.
On the subject of loving potatoes, Comber in County Down has the perfect climate for growing them. Now famous throughout Europe, the Comber Earlies are delicious with a knob of butter and have recently attained protected EU status. Mash Direct, also based in Comber, is now the top selling brand in chilled side dishes in the UK and Ireland and there are 37 different dishes in the company’s product portfolio.
Relax with the rich warming distinctive taste of award winning Bushmills Whiskey made at the oldest distillery in Ireland. Experience the story of Bushmills and learn about the skill, passion and expertise from ‘grain to glass’ on their 4* distillery tour located on the Causeway Coast.
The Cookstown Sizzle
Our great brands evoke sweet childhood memories, emotions and associations. George Best Cookstown sausages rose to fame through the late football star’s TV ads, and with him they’re still sizzling as a local favourite.
Recall the smell of fresh bread, soda farls, muffins and potato bread delivered to your door in bygone days by the Ormo bread server in his small van. You are spoilt for choice with so many tasty Northern Ireland’s breads from a wee bit of Irwin’s toasted Veda or an Irwin’s Nutty Crust sandwich made with the award winning artisan cheddar cheese from Fivemiletown Creamery.
Whites Oats & Punjana Tea
Start the day with a heart-warming tasty breakfast bowl of Whites Oats porridge who have 175 years’ of experience and expertise, and a focused passion for locally sourcing and milling oats. The Thompson’s family have been brewing tea in Northern Ireland for over 100 years and their Punjana Tea is one of the most popular brands in Ireland and Scotland.
Lough Neagh Eels
The Lough Neagh Fisherman Co-operative is the largest producer of wild eels and well known throughout Europe. Lough Neagh eels were given EU protected name status and are a tasty specialty that can be found in many local NI restaurants and eateries.
Childhood memories of sunny seaside visits would not be complete without this delicious summer time treat. Dale Farm with its many varieties of classic cool ice-cream to the unforgettable taste of Morelli’s in Portrush and the magical Mauds Pooh Bear flavour at various locations in Northern Ireland.
For more details on Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016 and the monthly themes, log on towww.discovernorthernireland.com/yearoffoodanddrink2016