Hannan enjoying the craic of experimental food venture
One of the best known names in Northern Ireland meat has joined forces with the region's answer to Heston Blumenthal to form a new venture called Craic Foods.
Craic Foods was formed last year by Peter Hannan, managing director of multi-award winning Hannan Meats, and Paul Clarke, the chef behind En Place UK, a specialist in savoury products such as relishes and jams, several of which have won a series of Great Taste and other awards.
The experimental food venture has already launched its first product - 'balsamic rocks', a freeze-dried condiment made from vinegar which can be used to add flavour to dishes.
The product is aimed at UK and Republic of Ireland caterers, but the pair say it also has export potential.
Other products in the pipeline include freeze-dried fruits such as pomegranates, mandarin oranges, coconuts, plums and blueberries.
The new business, which is based in Moira, Co Down, is focused on researching and developing innovative products for the food-service market.
The pair have previously worked together on En Place Foods and are launching the business alongside two other Northern Ireland food industry veterans.
Peter Hannan said: "En Place makes a lot of things, but Craic makes a lot of new things."
"The whole purpose of Craic Foods is to develop new products for food service.
"We've aimed at food service because it tends to do things first, then ideas spread through the chefs and they eventually work into retail. "
Peter said while the product is something entirely new for most kitchens "there are lines of chefs waiting for new products to be invented and they want to use them".
"Freeze drying isn't a new process but we want to use it in new ways. We are also working on a range of flavoured Bramley Apple vinegars as well," he said.