Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

10 Northern Ireland foods every one of us should try

By Claire Cromie

Published 19/01/2016

Salt aged beef from Hannan Meats, Moira. Peter Hannan had to build another Himalayan salt chamber to cope with the demand for his beef, including locally produced Glenarm Shorthorn. Food writers around the world think its the best steak they have ever tasted. And if you're travelling to Moira, you might as well try his guanciale (cured pig’s cheek) too.
Salt aged beef from Hannan Meats, Moira. Peter Hannan had to build another Himalayan salt chamber to cope with the demand for his beef, including locally produced Glenarm Shorthorn. Food writers around the world think its the best steak they have ever tasted. And if you're travelling to Moira, you might as well try his guanciale (cured pig’s cheek) too.
Lough Neagh eel. Our fisherman's cooperative is the largest producer of wild caught eels in Europe, but most are shipped to Holland, for smoking, and Billingsgate, where they're jellied. It seems locals are still reluctant to try them. Trust us, they aren't rubbery.
Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil. The lush rapeseed fields of Limavady make this healthy alternative to olive oil - with half the saturated fat. It has a subtle, velvety and milder nutty flavour than other rapeseed oils, and is the perfect all-rounder for cooking, baking, stir frying and salad dressings.
Islander Kelp. The cool clear waters at Rathlin Island produces some of the best quality kelp in the world, with more calcium and iron than any other vegetable. It's farmed on ropes and is not dried, so it's ready to use, verdant green, very low in salt and hugely versatile.
Venison. Heston Blumenthal serves Oisin venison from Finnebrogue Estate (just outside Downpatrick) in The Fat Duck, so you know it's good. We're also lucky to have Baronscourt on our doorstep, farming venison from its herd of wild Japanese Sika deer in the Sperrins.
Armagh ciders. There are quite a few producers now in our 'Orchard County', where 250 commercial growers supply apples for the cider, bakery and fresh markets. MacIvor's, Long Meadow and Armagh Cider Company have all scooped awards, and are becoming more present in Northern Ireland bars and restaurants.
Abernethy Dulse and Seasalt Butter. Abernethy Butter is churned by hand in Dromara from a cream that comes from cows who graze on the lush grass of the Lagan Valley. This version with a touch of dulse is moorishly salty and great on wheaten bread.
Pokertree Dark Nirvana. A beer with 'bottled angst and attitude', it's named after Kurt Cobain whose roots trace back to the village of Carrickmore in Co Tyrone - home of Darren Nugent's microbrewery. This one is a 6.5% dark cascadian ale, dry hopped with four different types of hops and with a complex malt bill including smoked malt and roasted barley topped off with a shot of real espresso coffee.
Leggygowan goats cheese. Adam and Jason Kelly make an array of artisan goaty products just outside Saintfield in Co Down. Their standout products is an award-winning blue cheese that's aged for 28 days.
Blackthorn Foods' 'Melting Pot' fudge. Small batches are handmade in open pots in east Belfast using only natural ingredients, giving this fudge a uniquely smooth and creamy texture.

Think of Northern Irish food and what springs to mind - an Ulster Fry? Tayto crisps? Comber spuds?

The tourist board has launched "Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink" - encouraging everyone to shout about our tastiest produce during 2016.

We're all excellent ambassadors for the likes of soda bread, but what about the less obvious delicacies?

Here we name 10 foods you might not have tried.

They are the local food and drink produce our chefs - and food writers from afar - rave about. They win awards. But they don't necessarily roll off the tongue as Northern Ireland staples.

Click on the magnifying glass to view in full-screen mode. And #EnjoyNI16!

See nigoodfood.com for information on where to buy .

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