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LegenDerry Street Food Festival takes place This Weekend 19th-21st July

Ireland’s only completely Walled City, The City of Derry, is turning up the heat for food and drink lovers this summer with its first street food festival and it’s going to be LegenDerry!

The LegenDerry Street Food Festival will take place in the heart of the historic Walled City in Guildhall Street from 19th-21st July, serving up a totally unique dining experience for visiting foodies seeking authentic local cuisine with some extra pizzazz.

The three-day festival will offer mouth-watering local and exotic street food with lots of added spice from Latin-American, Indian and Asian inspired culinary talent based in the city.

All the delicious food on offer from the participating vendors including surrounding local businesses, will be washed down by craft beers and spirits served from pop up bars. A double-decker bus will even be parked up for some festival seating with a view of prominent local landmarks including the 17th Century City Walls which are 400 years old this year.

Live music performances and DJs will help festival-goers dance their way through the weekend under outdoor heaters and festoon lighting complemented by some specially commissioned street art which will provide a vibrant backdrop to the celebrations.

NONNAS Wood Fired Pizza will be cooking up their delicious fresh Pizzas

There will be two quirky new food trailers on the block for what is believed to be the first street festival of its kind in Northern Ireland. Lo & Slo and the White Horse Hotel will both be debuting their foodie destination wheels in what will also be a ‘first’ for a hotel in the region.

Selina Horshi, Managing Director of the Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel, said: “It is a perfect time during the Open golf championship event to engage locals and tourists with great quality local produce prepared by our finest local chefs.

“We have a new summer menu that showcases some amazing super local ingredients and we are using the expertise of Head Chef, Noel Ward, with the unique spicing skills of our Sous Chef, Umesh, to turn two starters from our summer menu into street food.

“These include Donegal Cod in a Spiced Gram Flour Batter with a Coriander Chutney served with Indian Tea Blackened Chickpeas and Fresh Pomegranate. This dish showcases fresh, local fish but uses Indian flavours to bring a twist to the dish. We are combining the best produce with the best skills - utilising the talent we have with the White Horse and within the city.”

Emily McCorkell of Lo & Slo

Emily McCorkell of Lo & Slo will be unveiling four new products to add to her existing range of authentic smoked barbecue sauces and dry rubs for enhancing meat flavours developed at the city’s Foodovation Centre. These include a Ghost Chilli and Dulse Seaweed Blend, mustard and paprika based blends and a Ghost Chilli and roasted ginger pepper sauce.

Emily, a native of Pennsylvania who has been living in Derry for the past four years, is passionate about American BBQ cooking and will be serving her deliciously flavoured pulled pork and beef brisket. There will even be cotton candy for those with a sweet tooth!

“I love anything to do with street food and can’t wait for the vibrancy this festival will bring to the city at night,” said Emily whose small business has grown so quickly she now needs more staff and a production unit to supply local stockists of her hot sauces which are also now being incorporated in some local restaurant menus.

North west-based Irish Venezualan mobile catering business La Tia Juana’s will also be bringing their authentic Latin American cuisine to the street food festival. Juana was first taught to cook by her grandmother from the Warao people of the Orinocco Delta, picking huge avocados and ripe plantain from the local rain forest.

“We sell authentic Latin American street food using fresh, locally sourced gluten-free ingredients with options for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans,” she explained.

Jennifer O’Donnell, Tourism Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council which has added the LegenDerry Street Food Festival to its award-winning events calendar, said: “We are really excited about our inaugural LegenDerry Street Food Festival which we hope will also become an annual event following the success of our LegenDerry Food Festival and Slow Food Festival. Our ultimate aim is to become the number one food destination on the Island of Ireland by 2025.”

Food experts John and Sally McKenna of the prestigious McKenna Guides have described Derry as the ‘Next Foodie Capital of Ireland’, hailing the destination as “the most happening urban place in Ireland, so get yourself up there before the hordes start to arrive”.

Participating food and drink outlets at the LegenDerry Street Food Festival include: Café Guild, Warehouse, Nonnas Wood Fired Pizza, Burrito Bar, Lo & Slo, 2 North Street Food, Silverbean, Doherty's Meats, La Tia Juana’s, White Horse Hotel, Mekong, Walled City Brewery, Northbound Brewery, Muff Gin, Dopey Dick/Guildhall Taphouse and Baronscourt Brewery.

The festival will run from 5pm-11pm on Friday and Saturday, 19th and 20th July and 2pm-10pm on Sunday, 21st July 2019. Keep an eye on the Social Media Hashtag #LegenDerryFood.

Admission is free!

For more information visit

Foodie Destinations 2019 Applications Close Today!

  • Does your town, village or region have a passion for all things food? 
  • Do you offer a unique experience for locals and tourists? 
  • Do you work together as a community and encourage the use of local food produce? 

Then you could be Ireland's next 'Foodie Destination of the Year!' 
Deadline Extended - Applications Close Today 
at 5pm, Thursday 11th of July!
The winner will be a destination that actively promotes itself through joint promotional activities such as food festivals, gourmet trails, food tours, country or farmers’ markets, as well as great dining experiences for locals and visitors alike.

The Foodie Destinations Winner 2018 was Kilkenny

Entrants will have established a local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses. Education, training, development and employment will be key components of the ultimate food Foodie Destination.

Plans for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level will also be taken into consideration by the judges.

Communities across the country are urged to get involved and work with local businesses, foodie groups, business networks, chambers of commerce and other working groups, to submit their applications and promote their area to both local people and visitors.

The Foodie Town Winner 2018 was Kinsale

There are 10 finalists, chosen from the applicants, who will receive a visit from the judges. Online voting also takes place which counts for 30% of the overall score. Last years winners (from 2018) may not apply this year.

Collaboration is vital for the success of any community based project, and will mean the difference between the winner and runners-up of the ‘Foodie Destinations 2019’ competition. The more people that work together on this project, the greater the potential for prosperity and progress!

You can find the official online Entry Form HERE

It is advisable to read the eligibility criteria/guidelines on their website before applying at
Follow the Foodie Destinations Award as it progresses, on Social Media at hashtag #FoodieDestinations on Twitter @FoodieDest or on Facebook at 


A Taste of Donegal Food Festival 2019 on from Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th August

This year’s "A Taste of Donegal Food Festival" runs from Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th August 2019 and is again sited in the beautiful tented village, on the Main Pier, in Donegal Town.

Now in its 11th year, this is the premier food event in the northwest's foodie calendar attracting excellent crowds and growing in size and stature every year. From humble beginnings this food festival now attracts food lovers from all over the world to the beautiful tented village on the Pier with the backdrop of the Blue Stack Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.

This year’s Taste of Donegal Food Festival has once again gathered together top Restaurants, Hotels, Food and Drink Providers, with over 130 exhibitors, giving you a chance to taste and purchase some of the finest food and drink available from all over the island of Ireland!

Cookery Demonstrations will be by nationally renown Celebrity Chefs such as Neven Maguire, Gary O’ Hanlon, Catherine Fulvio, Kevin Dundon, Brian Mc Dermott, Edward Hayden, Oliver Dunne, Joe Shannon & Frank Forde, Maire Dufficey.

They will also have Local Celebrity Chefs, Anthony Armstrong, Christopher Molloy, Martin Anderson, Paul Brady, Chef Influencer Zack Gallagher, Food Enthusiast Pauline Sugrue, Richard and Andrew Mc Kee.

The Cookery Demonstration tent will be hosted by  award-winning celebrity chef/author and chef-proprietor of the newly restored Foyle Hotel in Moville, Brian McDermott.

Over the weekend there will be tutored Whiskey, Gin, Vodka and Irish Liquor Masterclasses with tastings by Sliabh Liag Distillery, Muff Liquor Company, and Coole Swan. New for 2019 a Coffee Roasting Demonstration by Mark Langford of Triskele Coffee.

Once again the “A Passion to Inspire 2019 Competition”, will be seeking out the best local Chef in the region. The contestants will be tested by a world class judging panel led by our very own Anthony Armstrong C- G WAC, Peter Griffiths M.B.E. President, British Culinary Federation, Bob Mac Donald, C – G Master Chefs of Great Britain. This competition attracts entries from all over the North West Region.

It is also planned to have a Special Chefs Award in memory of one of the judges, Gerard Molly, who passed away recently, as a tribute to his love of food and his outstanding contribution to A Taste of Donegal Food Festival, over the last ten years.

Light entertainment over the weekend will be provided by the timeless music of Dean Martin and The Rat Pack performed by the wonderful Adrian Cullen and highly acclaimed and accomplished musician Zara Montgomery.

Enjoy hilarious side-splitting comedy by Irelands Comical Celebrity Chef Joe Shannon & Comedian Frank Forde in our Cookery Comedy Theatre.

Corvenieo's Entertainment will add some innovative and unique visual audio to this year's event with their Comedy Chef Mascot, Juggling Stilt Walkers and Moving Robots. Mickey & Minnie will make several appearances throughout the weekend to meet and greet young and old. Add in a bit of professional live Children’s close magic with balloons and music by Mr Majestic.

This years to celebrate Heritage Week the Committee in association with The local Authority Waters Programme have planned an awareness Nature Walk along the River Bank. Recently enhanced in the hope of nurturing a feeling of protection and appreciation in children and adults for the plants and animals in this habitat. This will be conducted by Aengus Kennedy of Nature North West.

Exhibitors will also be scrutinised over the Festival weekend with two competitions. The Most Attractive Stand will be judged by The Local Enterprise Office and the Best Product will be judged by Bord Bia, LYIT Killybegs and Dave Lang, Butcher Magazine.

This year’s Festival opens on Friday 23rd August at 4pm. The Official Opening will take place at 7 pm and the MC for the evening will be TV3’s Star and General Manager of Harvey’s Point Country Hotel, Mr. Noel Cunningham.

Brian McDermott, author and chef-proprietor of the Foyle Hotel in Moville, will perform the Festival Opening. This will be followed immediately by our first demonstration of 2019 by Chef Gary O’Hanlon accompanied by Eoin Murphy (Entertainment Editor The Irish Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday) after which there will be a Wine Pairing Masterclass by Wine Expert & Sales Director Eoin Murphy of Wines Direct. The festival organisers are delighted to be partnered this year with Wines Direct for this Food & Wine Pairing Extravaganza at our Chefs Table.

The night will conclude with a fantastic Fireworks Display over the waters of Donegal Bay, a breathtaking event which has become a massive crowd-puller, in itself, over the last ten years!.

Mr Ernan McGettigan, on behalf of the Festival Committee said, "I would like to thank all our loyal Sponsors, Financial Contributors, Donegal Local Enterprise Office, An Garda Siochanna, Donegal County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Bord Iasciagh Mhara, Donegal Local Development Company The Media, Volunteers and anyone who helped to bring this project to fruition."

He added, "A Taste of Donegal is truly a food lover’s dream and will showcase Donegal Town and the surrounding area as a region of high-quality restaurants and hotels with a vibrant and growing Artisan Food Production Family. So why not put us on your to do list for August 2019. All that is left for me to say is come along and tantalise your taste buds and as our caption says, “Discover, Dine and Delight in Donegal Town” over the Festival weekend and indeed every time you visit the region."

You can find out more by Liking the A Taste of Donegal Facebook Page just here:

and details are also available on their website at

Now you have another great reason to go to Donegal!

International Launch of Food On The Edge 2019 takes place in London

‘Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme’ Announced at London Launch.

The international launch of Food On The Edge 2019 took place this evening at Robin Gill’s newly-launched Darby’s restaurant in London. The event saw the announcement of the 2019 venue, the themes and list of speakers to date, as well as the launch of the Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme.

Food On The Edge takes place in Galway, Ireland, on Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd October 2019. The venue for this years Food On The Edge event was also announced at the London launch, as being held in NUI Galway, Galway city’s university, for the second year.

JP McMahon, founder and symposium director of Food On The Edge, said, “We are delighted to launch Food On The Edge 2019 in London this year and to use this event to announce our new Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme. Each year we receive a large number of inspirational applicants hoping to partake and speak at Food On The Edge. These applicants are very often doing wonderful things for Irish food and developing the industry in their own way. While we have limited capacity of speaking slots, we wanted to do something to acknowledge these food champions. I hope this initiative will widen the reach of the Food On The Edge and act as its legacy into the future, eventually expanding onto a global scale.”

Six people who are working to change the landscape of Irish food and are exemplifying the Food On The Edge ethos, will be selected to be the Food On The Edge Ambassadors for 2019. The Ambassadors will be invited to speak in a discussion at Food On The Edge 2019
on the work they are doing, as well as receiving a two-day ticket to Food On The Edge and a profile on the Food On The Edge website. Food On The Edge Ambassador applicants are urged to go to the Food On The Edge website HERE for more details.

Mark Anderson of Gather & Gather officially launched the Food On The Edge Ambassador Programme and discussed the profound impact Food On The Edge had on him. Mark said, “It has had a massive impact on the food team at Gather & Gather. As a group of chefs it inspired us, motivated us, and changed how we think about the future of food. It helped us to put workplace catering on the same stage as some of the most brilliant forward-thinking people in the food world, which gives us the confidence to challenge the industry today, and inspire where we want to be tomorrow.”

Signature snacks at the launch celebrated Irish food and were prepared by London-based Irish chefs. Robin Gill prepared Dooncastle Oysters cooked over coal with Connemara Seaweed, Kevin Burke served up St. Tola Goats Cheese and Pepper Barbajuans, Anna Haugh created Black Pudding wrapped in Ballymakenny Spuds with Apple Purée, Aidan McGee prepared Braised Irish Beef Scrumpet, Horseradish and Aged Parmesan, and Shauna Froydenlund made Treacle Cured and Turf Smoked Trout, Dill on Sourdough Crumpets.

Speakers at the launch included UK-based chefs and Food On The Edge supporters such as  Pierre Koffmann, Skye Gyngell, Tom Brown, Claude Bosi and Doug McMaster.

JP McMahon said “The feedback from last year’s event was so positive and the facilities and support provided by management and staff of NUI Galway meant it was a very easy decision to make. The University is so close to the city centre and as Food Education is a driving factor behind the Food On The Edge ethos, NUI Galway itself is leading the way internationally in terms of third level education, so the fit is perfect”.

JP McMahon then went on to reveal the full list of confirmed speakers to date to add to the already  impressive line-up which includes cult
chefs and stars of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, namely Brazil’s most influential chef Alex Atala of D.O.M, and New Zealand-born Ben Shewry of Attica Restaurant. Columbian chef and winner of 2017 Best Female Chef in Latin America  Leonor Espinosa of Leo Cocina y Cava will be attending as well as trailblazer Daniel Giusti, former head chef of Noma in Copenhagen, who set up Brigaid, a project which puts professional chefs into public schools to transform and rethink school food.

Australian chef Mark Best of Bistro and Netflix fame from The Final Table; Prateek Sadhu of Masque, the number five ranked restaurant in Mumbai; British-Indian chef, presenter & food writer, Romy Gill of Romy’s Kitchen in Thornbury; Irish chef Derry Clarke of Michelin Star l’Ecrivain in Dublin; and Dalad Kambhu of Michelin Star Kin Dee in Berlin are just some of the ground-breaking chefs due to speak.

Other confirmed speakers are Alan Jenkins, editor of the Observer Food Monthly; Korean-born Danish chef Kristian Baumann of Michelin Star Restaurant 108 in Copenhagen; chef, cookbook writer and activist Sophia Hoffmann of Berlin’s Café Isla Coffee; ‘Contemporary’ pizza chef Denis Lovatel of Pizzeria Ezio in the mountains of Belluno; and Brazilian chef Alberto Landgraf, of Oteque in Rio de Janeiro.

Food On The Edge 2019, the two-day programme of 15-minute talks, panel discussions, masterclasses and networking activity, with an artisan food village showcasing the best of Irish and West of Ireland food produce. The event will take place on the 21st and 22nd of October in Galway.

Early Bird Tickets for Food On The Edge are available at a reduced rate of €350 until the end of June which includes admission on both days, lunches, and entertainment on both nights. Installments plan payments are also available. Purchase Tickets Here 

Gather & Gather will be a principal partner of the event again this year, and the Food On The Edge team are delighted to announce Fáilte Ireland as a principal partner for Food On The Edge 2019. San Pellegrino, who have been on board since day one, are returning as major sponsors along with new major sponsors, Galway Bay Brewery.

For more information see Check out @FoodOnTheEdge on social media and follow the official hashtag #FOTE2019 for regular updates.

All Ireland Butchery Team determined to regain title of Best Butchers in the World

Team Ireland's Butchery Excellence Team are heading over to compete at Dalziel’s Butchers Show, in Harrogate, UK, this weekend, as part of their journey to the 2020 World Butchery Challenge.

Each team, in this weekend's competition, have just two hours and fifteen minutes to break down a range of primal meat cuts and turn them into a world class display of pre-determined products and their own creations.

Butchery Team Ireland are focused on ensuring they remain Best Butchers in the World!

Ireland is the current reigning World Champion with the Best Butchers in the World title and this nine-strong Irish team will compete at the next World Butchery Challenge which is taking place in Sacramento, California, in 2020. The team is made up with Butchers from all over the island of Ireland.

The World Butchers' Challenge will see teams of six butchers, each team representing different countries from around the world, going head to head. The butchers will have to go in front of a team of highly qualified judges, preparing innovative and creative meat products.

Leading the team is team Ireland's captain Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town.

Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town

Keith Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons in Donegal Town is the Team Captain

Keith is joined in the team by his uncle Liam Walsh, also from Eddie Walsh & Sons butchers in Donegal Town, who is competing following his success in the team in 2018.

Also on the team is Conor Reynolds, who recently won gold at the International Young Butcher competition in Perth and will represent the team in the young butcher category from M & W Farm Meats, Portadown Co.Armagh.

The other members of  team Ireland include:

  • vice-captain Paul Hamilton from Gary Coote Meats, Fivemiletown 
  • WBC Ireland Judge Sean McKay from McKay's Family Butchers in Ballycastle 
  • Jim Murphy from Murphy's Family Butchers, Tullow 
  • Ger O Callaghan from Drinagh Eurospar, Skibereen 
  • Bryan McNamee from B & M Meats, Newry 
  • Steven Dobson from Dunbia, Dungannon.

“Our win in 2018 was incredibly tough as the competition from across the world is extremely high, and our win was hard fought, but we don’t intend on giving up our crown." said Keith Walsh, team captain. "For the next 12 months, the team and I are focused on ensuring Team Ireland remains the Best Butchers in the World,” he added.

Team Ireland is managed by Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.

Team Ireland is managed by Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.
Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International.

"Team Ireland will be demonstrating how our win in 2018 - the first year that Team Ireland competed – wasn’t down to the ‘luck of the Irish’ – it was a true reflection of the level of skill of our butchers here in NI and Ireland.” said Rhonda Montgomery.

For the next 16 months Team Ireland will be in training for the World Butchery Challenge, which is taking place in September 2020.

Wishing the Best of Success to the Irish Butchery Team!

Irish National Brown Bread Baking Competition Sponsored by Aldi, Launches for 2019

And there's up to €15,000 on offer for the overall winner!

Aldi are once again sponsoring The National Brown Bread Baking Competition, in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).

 Relaunched five years ago by the NPA, the event has proven to be a huge success, with entries from each one of the 26 counties. NPA MD Anna May Mc Hugh and ICA President Josephine Helly were joined today by Sile Seoige (MC of the competition), Emma Ferguson (2018 winner) and Eileen Brennan (NPA) to announce details of this year’s competition.

The National Brown Bread Baking competition is open to both members and non-members of the ICA, and baking enthusiasts have the opportunity to earn some serious 'dough', with a share of the profits from the sale of their winning loaf once it goes on sale in Aldi*.

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said “Given the huge popularity and success of the National Brown Bread Baking competition at Ploughing over the past four years, we are once again delighted to be renewing our partnership with Aldi and the ICA.  It is wonderful to see the long and great tradition of baking in Ireland alive and well at Ploughing.  The total attendance figures for the 2018 National Championships  came to over 240,000 and this year’s event in the new location of Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow looks set to be bigger and better than ever.”

The 2018 Aldi Brown Bread Baking Competition Winner, Emma Ferguson from County Meath

Once again this year, entering the competition will be easier than ever, and Aldi is encouraging any bakers over the age of 16 to take part to be in with a chance of seeing their bread on shelves nationwide.

Keen bakers can enter via the Aldi heats by dropping their bread off at the following locations on the following dates:

  • Aldi Ireland Head Office, Newbridge Road, Naas, Co. Kildare (12th June 2019 from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Regional Office, Limerick Road, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork (12th June 2019 from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Store, New Town Centre, Oranmore, Co. Galway (19th June from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Store, Wexford Retail Park, Clonard Little, Wexford (19th June from 10.30am – 1pm)

All entries must be clearly marked with the bakers Name, Address and contact number.

Group Buying Director, John Curtin said, "At Aldi, we are a proud supporter of Irish suppliers so we are delighted to sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition again, celebrating something as quintessentially Irish as brown bread. ‘Emma’s Brown Bread’ has proven a hit with our customers, and we hope the winner this year will achieve the same success with their brown bread. Now, we are making it easier than ever for people to enter with our regional drop off points, and so we hope to see keen bakers getting involved. At Aldi, we sell a range of great value baking essentials in our 137 stores nationwide so consumers can stock their pantries and make home baked goods all year round.”

ICA members can participate in the competition through local Guilds, with heats taking place nationwide and regional finals taking place at An Grianán, ICA Adult Education Centre on July 18th

Speaking at the launch, Josephine Helly, President of the ICA said, Our members are once again delighted to be taking part in the National Brown Bread Baking Competition to find the best Brown Bread baker in Ireland.  There has been huge interest and the winner will be generously rewarded.”

The four finalists selected from the Aldi bread drops, along with the four finalists selected through the ICA will compete at the National Finals. The National Finals will be held from 17th – 19th September at the Aldi Marquee during the 2019 National Ploughing Championships in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow.

If you think you have the recipe for success, log onto or for information on how to enter and further details about the county finals.

The winner’s brown bread will also be stocked in all Aldi Stores in Ireland for twelve months and they will receive a share of the profits, which could reach €15,000 for the year.

Also keep an eye on hashtags #AldiPloughing and #Ploughing19 on all social media platforms!


Taste The Island - A Celebration of Food and Drink All Over Ireland

“We know that our food and drink experiences are world class, now we want the World to know too.”

Taste the Island, an All-Island Celebration of the amazing food and drink produced here in Ireland will showcase Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland's Food & Drink, together for the first time, from September to November 2019.

This new initiative has been developed in response to growing global interest in food and drink by Fáilte Ireland, in collaboration with Tourism Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and a range of stakeholders. 

Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the whole island of Ireland overseas, as a leading holiday destination.

The extensive programme running all over Ireland, for three months, will help create an international awareness and renewed appreciation at home and abroad of the strength and richness of Ireland’s cuisine today. 

This is an excellent opportunity to internationally market the modern food offerings that are available here on the island of Ireland and to finally purge the perception abroad that the only food people eat in Ireland is bacon and cabbage, breakfast fries and potatoes!

The aim of the Taste The Island program of events is to provide visitors with access to authentic food and drink experiences, high quality local ingredients and world class Irish food and drink produce and further develop the Irish Food Tourism experiences available around the whole island. (see also

Workshops are currently being rolled out throughout the country, from Donegal to Limerick and from Athlone to Dingle, to inform the local food and drink industry about this exciting initiative for food and drink providers. The workshops have been organised for the industry to learn more and provide them with the opportunity to shape the development of a programme of events and experiences for 2019.

Martina Kerr Bromley, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Enterprise Development, said, We are urging people in the food and drink industry throughout Ireland to get involved and participate in our upcoming workshops in your area.  The programme of events for ‘Taste the Island’, will include visits to food producers, distillers and brewers; food trails, food festivals, participation in traditional skills, opportunities to forage, traditional pubs, small-town cafés, restaurants, city bistros and Michelin-starred experiences."

Tracey Coughlan, Fáilte Ireland’s Food Strategy Manager, added, We’ve done the research and know that in order to respond to the rapid growth in travel today and increasing visitor expectations around food and drink, an initiative of scale is required to maximise our full potential in all areas. The international competition is intense, if we want to ensure that the tourism industry capitalises fully, this initiative will have to grow on a sustained annual basis.”

Businesses and event organisers are invited to come along to the workshops to hear more details on how tourism can play a role in their business.

Taste the Island Workshop details for the Republic of Ireland are as follows:

Attendance at all Taste The Island Workshops is FREE but you must register in advance. Registration is via the Failte Ireland Trade Portal (Click Here)  Simply sign in with your FI account details or sign up if you do not have an account - its very easy.

Taste the Island Workshop details for Northern Ireland are as follows:

Tourism Northern Ireland is truly excited to announce their involvement in Taste the Island - A Celebration of Ireland’s Food and Drink.

2019 will be the first of a three-year commitment, delivered in conjunction with their partners at Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland. The timing of the 8 week programme will build on the success of the 2016 Year of Food and Drink and coincides as they celebrate Northern Ireland winning ‘Best Food Destination’ at the International Travel and Tourism Awards 2018/19.

The all island celebration will provide to visitors, both domestic and international, compelling reasons to visit Northern Ireland through the promotion of festivals and events, high quality local produce and authentic food and drink experiences.  Taste the Island aims to enhance our food and drink reputation by showcasing our high quality produce and experiences, as well as assisting in seasonal extension and regional distribution. 

Tourism NI is inviting businesses, networks and individuals interested in providing tourists with a food or drink experience to attend workshops in their local area to find out how they can get involved in ‘Taste the Island’.  

Information sessions will inform the sector about this exciting food and drink initiative.  These workshops have been organised to help the industry to learn more and provide them with the opportunity to shape the development of a programme of events and experiences for 2019 and beyond.

Northern Ireland #TasteTheIsland Workshop details are as follows:

Thursday 30th May 11:00-13:15 - Clandeboye Lodge Hotel, Bangor

Friday 31st May 14:00-16:15 – The Hill of the O’Neill & Ranfurly House, Dungannon

Monday 3rd June 14:00-16:15 - Bishops Gate Hotel, Derry/Londonderry

To register your attendance at one of the information sessions, go to the Northern Ireland #TasteTheIsland Registration Page HERE and register the amount of Delegate places you want, then click Continue to Registration Details to select the session you wish to attend.

If you have a food business or a tourism business that could have a food element attached to it I would highly recommend that you attend your nearest Taste The Island Workshop and take advantage of this amazing opportunity. 

Can you imagine the international marketing kudos that the Island of Ireland will benefit from by showing that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are working together to showcase our amazing food and tourism product. 

I'm personally so delighted to see this All-Ireland Celebration of All of Ireland’s Food and Drink and the excellent collaboration that is going to really help the island of Ireland to change the perception of our Irish Food away from being though of as only Potatoes, Bacon & Cabbage, Stew or the Ulster Fry! 

I'm also very proud of the people in Failte Ireland, TourismNI and Tourism Ireland for working together to promote our amazing Irish Food, from all over the island of Ireland!

Keep an eye on hashtag #TasteTheIsland all social media channels for more news and info.

Happy Days and Taste The Island!

Roast Leg of Irish Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce, Roasted Vegetables and Champ Potatoes

The smell of roasting Spring Lamb, with garlic and rosemary, creates one of those food memories that can take your mind back to your childhood and make your mouth water at the thought of it!

Easter Sunday was always a big occasion in our house when I was growing up as Lent was finally over and we hadn't eaten a sweet thing for the last 40 days!

The history of the Easter Sunday Roast Lamb goes back to the biblical Passover of the Jewish people. A sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and herbs in the hope that the angel of God would "pass over" their home and bring no harm. Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God and as religions merged, lamb became a traditional meat for Easter Sunday.

Here's my recipe for a delicious Roast Leg of Irish Lamb with fresh homemade mint sauce, roasted vegetables and champ potatoes with real roast gravy. If you make all this for any Sunday dinner, you'll certainly impress your guests!

Roast Leg of Irish Lamb 

1 Leg of Lamb - on the bone is better because the bone will add even more flavour as it cooks.
(2kg (4lb) weight will feed around 8 people)
6 cloves of fresh Garlic
1 bunch of fresh Rosemary
50g Butter
Freshly ground black pepper & Sea Salt

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place the Leg of Lamb on a roasting tray.

Score the leg of lamb with a sharp knife making 5mm deep incisions through the skin and push the garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary into the cuts in the meat. Rub the butter all over the leg and sprinkle liberally with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

Cover in tin foil and cook the lamb for about 1 hour 20 minutes. Spoon the juices over the meat every half hour. 20 minutes per pound (½ kg) will give you a lovely pink medium-cooked meat - but adjust the timing to how you like your own meat cooked. Take the tin foil off for the last half hour to crisp up the skin.

When it's cooked, transfer the lamb to another tray and cover it with a clean dish cloth, to rest for about 10 minutes, before you cut it. This allows all the muscle to relax, keeps the juices from flowing out and the meat really juicy and tender.

Real Roast Gravy

To make the gravy, place the roasting tray on top of your stove over a moderate heat, use a scraper to lift all the tasty residues off the bottom of the tray and let the juices caramelise a little for about 1 minute. Add a pint of boiling water. Bring this back to the boil over the heat and let it reduce down by 30%. Sprinkle a little flour on to the tray and whisk it in to the juices. Let it bubble away for another minute and this will thicken up the gravy. You can add a drop of Browning, if you wish. Strain the gravy into a warm serving jug.

Fresh Mint Sauce

50g  finely chopped fresh Mint
2 tablespoons white Sugar
2 tablespoons Vinegar
75ml Water
3 tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon juice

Combine the water, sugar, vinegar & lemon juice in a small pot and bring back to the boil. Boil for 1 minute until the liquid thickens slightly and then add the chopped mint. Turn off the heat, let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour it into a serving jar and refrigerate until required.

Roasted Mixed Vegetables

400g each of carrots, parsnip, turnip, sweet potato - peeled and chopped into chunks
2 red onions, peeled and cut into eight
Olive oil
Sea Salt and freshly-ground black Pepper

Put the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a little Honey. Season with sea salt and pepper and toss about to coat them. Transfer them to a roasting tin and spread out into a single layer. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until cooked. (You can use whatever vegetable you prefer!)

Irish Champ Potatoes

Simply add some chopped scallions, salt, a little white pepper and some real butter to well mashed potatoes, to make Champ Potatoes and serve it piping hot, with your Roast Lamb!

Enjoy & Have a Peaceful and Happy Easter!

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The Wild Atlantic Way is the world's Longest Coastal Route