The first Speciality Food Fair in Moira Demesne at the weekend was an astounding success after it welcomed an estimated 4,000 visitors on the day.
A joint venture between Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and the NI Regional Food Programme, the event featured 37 entities and showcased the quality and vibrancy of the artisan food and drink sector in the region.
“We do a lot of food events, and this was the busiest we have ever attended. For a first time event, that is very impressive.” Krazi Baker’s Mark Douglas
Moira Demesne proved to be a fantastic location and the event site was the perfect amphitheatre, with the artisan food market hosted in the event marquee which opened out to the speciality mobile coffee and gourmet street food vendors in the garden with a very fashionable tipi housing the café bar zone.
Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Economic Development Committee, Alderman Allan Ewart, said: “The collective of local food producers here today highlights the farming heritage not only in this region, but in Northern Ireland as a whole.
“However, what has really impressed me is the passion and commitment of the food and drink producers to innovate and carve a niche for their products and develop a distinct brand.”
Such was the public support, the artisan food market was busy from the time it opened at 10am, and there was a great buzz and enthusiasm with food producers relishing the opportunity to talk directly to customers, old and new.
The demand was so great that it exceeded the expectations of even the most seasoned of food festival vendors such as Abernethy Butter, Krazi Baker, Café Livanto, Forthill Farm and the Fabulous Food Factory.
Mark Douglas of Krazi Baker said: “We do a lot of food events, and this was the busiest we have ever attended.
“For a first time event, that is very impressive.”
Other popular attractions at the event included kitchen sessions led by the ever engaging Charlie Cole of Broughgammon Farm, Stevie Higginson of Square Bistro in Lisburn and Chris McGowan of Great British Menu.
There was a common theme of food provenance with all three personalities using local artisan products to create simple, nutritious and yet satisfying dishes that could easily be made at home.
A lovely tempo created by local musicians throughout the day added to the great vibe with a variety of children’s activities taking place.
These included T-shirt printing, story-telling, arts and crafts and face painting.
Alderman Ewart concluded: “The council sees this as a pilot event in the lead up to the 2016 Year of Food and I think it is fair to say that we have a great deal to look forward too.”