Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink 2016 is now underway and what better way to kick off the year than to celebrate all things breakfast?
The Year of Food and Drink’s Breakfast Month culminates with Ulster ‘Fry Day’ on Friday 29th January. An Ulster Fry is not just a special treat, but also a delightful demonstration of the finery of Norther Ireland’s artisan produce.
Tourism NI will be taking to Dublin’s Connolly Station to celebrate one of those unique ingredients as Co. Down’s Krazi Baker Mark Douglas will be serving up complimentary local Northern Ireland potato bread with Kennedy bacon from Co. Tyrone to passengers in the early morning rush. Commuters will be encouraged to sample a unique taste of Northern Ireland and enter a competition to win one of five short breaks to Belfast City this Spring.
Clare McCoy, PR Officer (ROI) at Tourism Northern Ireland explains why everyone should tuck in to Breakfast Month:
“Northern Ireland’s dedicated farmers, talented food producers and creative artisans have been using our unique fields, rivers and lakes to make world-class food, for centuries. And breakfast, hailed as the most important meal of the day, features some of NI’s finest including Abernethy Butter which is churned by hand in Dromara, Annaghmore Mushrooms, Kennedy bacon, White’s Oats – I could go on!”
Tourism NI has put together some top NI producers that will help you get your Ulster Fry breakfast off to a winning start:
– Punjana, owned by the Thompson family who are passionate about tea, and have been since their grandfather Robert first started blending in their Belfast factory over one hundred years ago. They were awarded 2 Gold Stars in the Guild of Fine Food’s “Great Taste Awards” in 2014 for the Punjana, Signature and Irish Breakfast blends.
– Hannan Meats is Northern Ireland’s largest supplier of gourmet meat to top restaurants, hotels and retailers in the UK and Ireland. Some of the world’s best chefs source their meat from this Moira based enterprise and their Moyallon Dry Cured Back Bacon is a Great Taste Award winner.
– Krazi Baker, anything that can be baked on a griddle, Mark Douglas does it. From soda farls to potato and apple cakes to fluffy pancakes, customers are wolfing them down as fast as he can make them. None of his creations need yeast, so all he has to do is mix the ingredients and he’s good to go. A speciality is the Northern Ireland favourite of potato bread!
– Irwin’s Bakery is Northern Ireland’s largest independent, family owned bakery based in Portadown, Co Armagh, baking bread for over 100 years. They are famous for their Irwin’s Nutty Krust Plain Loaf, given its name due to the crunchy top and bottom crust – and it’s no surprise that it was voted by the Northern Ireland public, ‘Northern Ireland’s favourite product’!
– Whites Oats is one of Ireland’s oldest brands and largest oat miller. Based on their original site in Tandragee Co. Armagh since 1841, they have 175 years’ experience and expertise in locally sourcing and milling oats for their award winning cereals and porridge.
– Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt, the Co. Down estate is well known for their award-winning herd of Holstein and Jersey cows and the milk is blended by hand using traditional techniques that guarantee a rich creamy texture without a high fat content. The milk is prepared and cultured very gently over 24 hours in small batches, which helps create an exceptional flavour and texture.
A brilliant breakfast is one the great things about getting away for an overnight stay in Northern Ireland. There are plenty of establishments who are passionate about food and have mastered the art of providing the perfect traditional cooked breakfast…and you don’t even have to wash up afterwards.
At Newforge Country House (5*) in Armagh their “Ulster Fry” is legendary and recently won the “Best Breakfast in Ireland” at the 2014 Irish Breakfast awards. A small orchard at the property provides fruits for desserts, chutneys and preserves, and is home to friendly chickens that lay wonderful eggs for breakfast.
Well-known British food critic Jay Rayner raved about the breakfast when he stayed at 5* guesthouse Rayanne House in Belfast. It has won both AA and Egg Cup awards for their start the day offerings, which include ‘crock-baked’ ham and eggs, prune soufflé and a baked cereal laced with whiskey and spices.
All of the Hastings Hotels do superb breakfasts and the 4* Ballygally Castle is no different. They have ditched the multinational cereal companies and plumped for local granola and creamy porridge with a bottle of Bushmills on the side to drizzle over it. They have put together a traditional breakfast menu showcasing the very best of Northern Ireland’s seasonal larder and heritage from a carefully selected group of local and artisanal suppliers.
For more information on Year of Food & Drink 2016 visit www.discovernorthernireland.com. You can keep up to date with what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #EnjoyNI16.