It’s NI year of food and drink and I think my weekend workplace at St George’s Market is well stocked with local producers of food products to celebrate this year long event, starting with the January Breakfast month!
The George’s Of The Market restaurant have already won best breakfast and with awesome views over the market, it’s worth tasting, and better still, they use products from the market traders!
Down on the market floor you can get everything from breakfast juices from Mango Street or Dablo’s Juices, to porridge from the Lazy Goose, to an awesome soda fry from a lot of food traders including Sizzle n Roll, The Belfast Bap, Sandra’s Grill and much more. Or you could grab yourself a savoury or sweet crepe for breakfast.
So what is happening during the year apart from eating and drinking a lot?
Each month is themed kicking off in January with breakfast. Any excuse to go on the hunt for the best Ulster Fry is you ask me!
February is based on Valentine’s and focuses on food and love and loving local. That could be everything from loving CoCouture chocolates, to trying Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil, or Fivemiletown cheese. We have hundreds of local producers to love this month.
March is heritage and traditions, and I think it doesn’t get much more heritage focused than the historic St George’s Market packed with local products every weekend.
April is brewing and distilling, so obviously Bushmills Distillery and Hilden Brewery will play a major roll. Our G spots! writer Grainne has already covered two local drinks stories in the last year featuring Farmageddon brewery and Prohibition Ltd.
Where does your food come from? May is all about location. Do you know where in NI your local food is sourced. Did you know you can get honey from Carrickfergus and the Mournes, did you know Tayto is from Tandragee (of course you did!) Of course we also have Lough Neagh eels and Comber spuds. We are a big food producing country and I can’t wait to find out more in May.
June celebrates dairy and with Clandeboye Yoghurts a big local success story, they are sure to feature heavily, amongst many more!
July’s theme is seas, rivers and lakes. We are surrounded by the first, filled with the second and have a huge lake/Lough right in the middle us. I’m hoping that, like Scotland’s year of food last year, that I’ll discover our NI version of Mara Seaweed which I use every time I cook instead of salt.
Meat is the August focus and at the height of summer you’ll be hopefully outside enjoying some al fresco dining and the odd BBQ, so finding out more about our local meat industry will be perfect timing. If I’m not buying my meat from our butcher on the Ards penninsula at the farm, I usually go for the Spar Enjoy Local range. SparNI are big supporters of local and last year launched their Enjoy Local food range.
Bread and baking in September. You’ll be well over your bread free New Years resolution by then and with cooler weather arriving, bread and baking will be the perfect comfort food this September. Again, St George’s market have some amazing award winning bread and baking producers every weekend. Already I’m thinking about all that bread and cake!
October celebrates the harvest. Autumn harvest is always something I remember a lot from my youth, and something that doesn’t seem to have been on the radar as prominently in recent years. I’m looking forward to this one.
November is about the legacy of the year and learning how to cook, bake, produce and enjoy our local produce.
The year ends with the festive December offering of Christmas and celebration food. Are there any local Prossecco producers, why not??? Hahaha
What a great year of celebrating the food and drink of Norn Iron. Happy eating, drinking and celebrating folks.
By Jeff Meredith