10 new foods to try at the BBC Good Food Show this weekend
The BBC Good Food Show rolls into Northern Ireland this weekend for a second year of live entertainment, top celebrity chefs and great regional produce at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.
A lasting legacy of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink, Northern Ireland’s foodie scene is flourishing with lots of new producers exhibiting this year.
Tourism NI’s Claire Cromie said: “The Hairy Bikers, Nadiya Hussain, John Torode and Michel Roux Jr will leave you feeling inspired to don your apron and get cooking.
“So step into the Food NI Pavilion to browse, sample and shop from artisan producers exhibiting delicious local foods. And why not make it a weekend to remember by checking into one of Belfast’s luxurious four or five-star hotels, then exploring Belfast’s burgeoning food scene. ”
Discover Northern Ireland has picked out 10 producers who are exhibiting for the first time at this year’s BBC Good Food Show…
1. Castlescreen Farm’s Dexter beef and lamb
Castlescreen Farm in Downpatrick raises its herd of grass-fed Dexter cattle in some of the best pastureland Northern Ireland has to offer, enjoying fresh grass and the free range life all year round.
They may be wee cows, but they are big on taste, producing tender beef with a distinctive flavour that has been featured on the menu at Michelin-starred Belfast restaurant, Ox.
Castlescreen Farm’s beef is all dry-aged for 30-35 days, intensifying its flavour, and its gourmet burgers, sausages and beef and veg roll are rusk free. They also offer a gluten free range, available to buy at farmers markets across NI, from the farm gate and at Avoca in Belfast.
2. Ballylisk Dairies’ artisan cheeses and butters
This new family-owned business in County Armagh manufactures a range of artisan cheeses and butters with milk from their own family farm.
The company’s first bespoke offering is a triple cream cheese. This rich, decadent cheese is made from pasteurised cow’s milk with added cream. It has a white mould with its full-flavour balanced by salty, lemony notes.
Further cheeses are in development, including a soft creamy blue, a vintage cheddar and a semi-hard blue. Ballylisk also plans to launch a range of artisan butter and flavoured butters.
3. Lacada Brewery’s beers
Lacada is a co-operative craft beer brewery based in Portrush on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast.
They are bound by a love of the people and the place – and of course making and drinking good beer like their award-winning Devil’s Washtub dark ale, Elephant Rock IPA and Stranded Bunny Porter to name but a few.
Lacada recently swept the boards at the 2017 Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards in Dingle, winning a prestigious Gold medal for their Devil’s Washtub dark ale, Best in Antrim and Best New Product in Ireland, as well as awards for their limited edition stouts. Lacada’s Stranded Bunny Porter has also won a coveted UK Great Taste Award.
The brewery is very much a community enterprise that strives to champion good food and drink from the Causeway Coast region for visitors and locals alike.
4. Springmount Farm Free Range Eggs
Poultry people know that happy, healthy hens produce tasty eggs with golden yolks that stand proud on a plate when cracked.
The third generation farmers at Springmount, Ballygowan believe that “better lives for their hens mean better eggs for their customers”. That’s why the birds are free to roam their fields set deep the heart of County Down, with the sunshine on their backs or the soft rain on their feathers.
Springmount’s Class A Free Range Eggs are ethically produced and are packed on the family farm with a strong emphasis on local sustainability. They are sold from farm gate and distributed to local shops, restaurants and bakeries including Avoca, French Village and Bull and Ram restaurant.
5. Linda’s Original sticky toffee puddings and chocolate brownies
Take two much-loved bakes, make them with real Irish butter and pure double cream, then add all sorts of flavour combinations – such as toffee apple, Cointreau and coffee liqueur – and you have luxury, handmade delicious bakes .
Linda, who is based in Broughshane, started with a great base recipe and then added flavours such as Christmas Pudding and whiskey and porter. There is even a Turkish Delight version, but she is constantly adding new flavours to her range, which she sells at markets all over Northern Ireland.
Linda is a self-confessed perfectionist who spends ages finding the right suppliers for her ingredients. Watch out for her sausage rolls; they get the same flavour treatment.
6. Boringly Good Almond Nulk
A couple moved to China and couldn’t get milk for their cup of tea. One Google search for “how to make your own almond milk”, three countries and four kids later and BoringlyGood was born – an exceptional nut milk.
The UK and Ireland’s first and only cold-pressed, cold-pressured non-dairy milk. Made in the centre of Armagh City with just almonds, water and a sprinkle of pink salt – no fancy ingredients that you can’t pronounce or complicated industrial processes. It’s nut milk made the way it should be – pure and simple.
And the flavours are simple too – only ever sweetened with dates and flavoured with fruit. No need to add anything else when real, whole food tastes so good. You know when something is just so good, it’s boring? Well, they bottled it.
7. Habanero Steve’s hot sauce
Bangor couple Olivia and Steve Stewart have a passion for chilli, but not just your average chilli, we’re talking extreme chilli!
Their innovative condiments have names like “Pyro Peach” and “Naga Extreme”, and they have serious flavour to boot.
Try the “Venom Hot Sauce”, which contains Ghost and Moruga Scorpion chillies for flavour and intense heat.
8. Echlinville Distillery’s spirits
The Echlinville Distillery on the Ards Peninsula is at the forefront of Ireland’s spirits renaissance.
Echlinville will showcase their award-winning whiskeys, gin and poitín at the BBC Good Food Show. Echlinville is home to the iconic Dunville’s Irish Whiskey brand, and this weekend’s show presents the first opportunity for whiskey enthusiasts to sample Dunville’s Three Crowns Peated Whiskey – the latest release under the historic Dunville’s name.
Echlinville are also the careful crafters of Ireland’s only super-premium single estate gin. Distilled from barley grown, harvested and malted on the distillery farm and infused with local hand-picked botanicals, Echlinville Gin recently won the coveted Three Star Award at the Great Taste Awards.
Echlinville’s line-up will be completed by Bán Poitín, a revival of the legendary potato-based spirit that was outlawed in Ireland for over 300 years and officially Ireland’s Best Poitín (Irish Whiskey Awards).
9. City Cheese
Christo and Angelique Swanepoel have a passion for raw milk, which they use to produce four different handmade Dutch gouda-style cheeses from their creamery in Ballywalter.
Their latest, a goat’s cheese, took a gold award at the Artisan Cheese Awards 2017.
They make their organic cheese in small batches, matured for no shorter than 90 days. The cheese is based on a Dutch gouda recipe but Christo will quickly remind you that it is much more than your average gouda.
10. Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op’s craft beer
Farmageddon Brewing Co-Operative Limited brewery is based in Comber, just outside Belfast. The members of the workers co-operative are a group of devoted craft beer loving individuals who developed their idea of creating the styles of beer that they liked to drink.
Farmageddon believe in craft beer, not chemical engineering, so every beer is unfiltered, suitable for vegans and contains no preservatives.
Their Gold Pale Ale is light-bodied and dry with a burst of tropical fruity hop punch. The India Pale Ale is inspired by the American West Coast IPA tradition; dry and hop-forward bursting with pine, resin, citrus and a touch of caramel. Or try the India Export Porter – bitter, hoppy and chocolatey with an edge of citrus.
This year’s BBC Good Food Show also features a new street food area outside the Waterfront, but under cover, featuring four local vendors – Pheasant Hill Farm, The Fancy Fox, Broughgammon Farm and Linen Hill. Another new feature is an onsite off-license where visitors can purchase alcohol, perfect timing for Christmas shopping.
Visit DiscoverNorthernIreland.com to plan your short break to the BBC Good Food Show, or to find more events taking place across Northern Ireland.