Foodies flock to tasty local events

Alderman Allan Ewart, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Councils Development Committee (centre), at the Speciality Food Fair in Moira with (L to R) Ashleigh Hanley, Hilden Brewery; Claire Kelly, Passion Preserved; gardener Jilly Dougan  and Stuart Hughes, Hughes Craft Distillery. Pic by John Murphy
Alderman Allan Ewart, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Councils Development Committee (centre), at the Speciality Food Fair in Moira with (L to R) Ashleigh Hanley, Hilden Brewery; Claire Kelly, Passion Preserved; gardener Jilly Dougan and Stuart Hughes, Hughes Craft Distillery. Pic by John Murphy

Thousands of foodies have flocked to the Lisburn and Castlereagh area this summer to sample a variety of tasty events.

The local area is fast becoming a hub for food lovers, boasting some of Northern Ireland’s most popular food and drink-focussed festivals, fairs and markets.

Anne Halliday with Gillian and Tom Quinn at the Speciality Food Fair, Moira. Pic by Elaine Hill

Anne Halliday with Gillian and Tom Quinn at the Speciality Food Fair, Moira. Pic by Elaine Hill

From the long-established Hillsborough International Oyster Festival, which is credited with introducing oysters to the local market, to the successful monthly Hillsborough Farmers’ Market, acclaimed Speciality Food Fair in Moira and Hilden Beer and Music Festival, the area’s food and drink producers and award-winning eateries are continuing to draw huge numbers of locals and visitors alike.

Around 6,000 people visited the recent Speciality Food Fair in Moira to check out the diverse mix of primary and artisan food producers, alongside live cooking demos and a Q&A session with special guest, renowned food critic Charles Campion.

This year’s food fair offered something for all tastes and ages, with interactive children’s activities, including planting workshops led by ‘Edible Gardener’ Jilly Dougan, proving extremely popular.

The event showcased the outstanding quality of produce available throughout Lisburn and Castlereagh, with many award-winning producers taking part including Abernethy Butter, Passion Preserved and Ispini Charcuterie.

Steve McNeill and Astrid Strohsahl from Dromara sampling some of the tasty treats on offer at the Speciality Food Fair, Moira. Pic by Elaine Hill

Steve McNeill and Astrid Strohsahl from Dromara sampling some of the tasty treats on offer at the Speciality Food Fair, Moira. Pic by Elaine Hill

Reflecting on the success of the event, Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chairman of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Development Committee, said: “The success of this year’s Speciality Food Fair is a testament to the growing interest within our council area and across Northern Ireland in locally-produced food and drink. Now in our third year, the Speciality Food Fair has grown to become a key date in the calendar for residents and guests alike, and we look forward to many successful years ahead as we plan for the 2018 event.”

Other successful events this summer have included Hillsborough Farmers’ Market, which welcomed more than 7,000 customers over three days, UPU Plough Fest in Hillsborough and the annual Hilden Beer Festival, celebrating its 35th year, which once again attracted sell-out crowds.

Alderman Ewart added: “This summer has seen a series of successful events held across the council area.

“In terms of dining out, there are a number of very successful and award-winning eateries across the Lisburn and Castlereagh area, with the newest business Little Wing pizzeria recently opening in Lisburn Square.

Will Abernethy, Abernethy Butter; Janice Cuddy, Ispini Charcuterie; Charles Campion; Deputy Mayor Hazel Legge and Claire Kelly, Passion Preserved at the Speciality Food Fair, Moira. Pic by Elaine Hill

Will Abernethy, Abernethy Butter; Janice Cuddy, Ispini Charcuterie; Charles Campion; Deputy Mayor Hazel Legge and Claire Kelly, Passion Preserved at the Speciality Food Fair, Moira. Pic by Elaine Hill

“There is something to cater for all tastes with a new ‘Silver Social’ on a Tuesday at the Beef & Bird for over 60s to enjoy good food at affordable prices and socialise with background music.

“I would encourage everyone to sample the local produce of the council area and visit one of our many restaurants.”

Deputy Mayor Hazel Legge, Charles Campion and Alison Abernethy from Abernethy Butter enjoying the food fair. Pic by Elaine Hill

Deputy Mayor Hazel Legge, Charles Campion and Alison Abernethy from Abernethy Butter enjoying the food fair. Pic by Elaine Hill

Deputy Mayor Hazel Legge and gardener Jilly Dougan at the Speciality Food Fair, Moira. Pic by Elaine Hill

Deputy Mayor Hazel Legge and gardener Jilly Dougan at the Speciality Food Fair, Moira. Pic by Elaine Hill