TV baker hails Northern Ireland's 'world-beating' bread
The quality of Northern Ireland's breads and buns are "world beating", according to one top television baker.
John Foster, star of the BBC series Victorian Baker, was speaking after a visit here as part of the NI Year of Food and Drink.
"It was most rewarding and really welcoming," he said of his stay. "I found the food to be slightly different as to what we see in England. It's a more homely type of food, still sophisticated, but in a different sort of way.
"The bakers are very understated. What they are doing is fantastic stuff and is world beating."
During his trip he visited some of Northern Ireland's top bakeries and suppliers.
That included the Yellow Door Deli, French Bakery and Andrew Ingredients.
It was also the first time the seasoned baker had ever tried wheaten bread.
"When you see people like the Yellow Door... it's just stunning what they are doing in terms of their investment," he said.
"I hadn't tried wheaten before. Wherever I went, it was different. The flavours were different. Every bakery had its own take on it.
"The highlights included Andrew Ingredients. They supply the ingredients for all the bakeries across Northern Ireland, and they have an innovation kitchen.
"It's better than anything I have seen in England. It's world beating. I also did an address to the Yellow Door Deli, to food producers.
"The questions they asked me, it was like being Jeremy Paxman for an hour. It showed they were intelligent food producers, they weren't following, but they were leading.
"And the final moment was standing at the end of Irwin's Bakery batch bread oven - I nearly cried, it was that good. Nothing flamboyant, but it just got me as a baker."