St Georges Market, Belfast
Knock out food and drink is never far away in Northern Ireland, but it’s not just about high end restaurants, trendy street food, taste events and foodie festivals.
It’s time you got out and about to try a mouthful of the great local foodie attractions. Here’s a selection of what’s on the menu.
St George’s Market
Gourmet delights abound in the lively ambience of St George’s Market. No serious foodie can leave this market out of their itinerary either for tasting great food or for buying top ingredients.
The glass roofed Victorian building is home to tempting speciality foods from around the world, as well as numerous local traders selling the freshest fruit and vegetables, artisan produce, meat and the widest range of fish in Ireland. This is foodie central.
Purists can’t resist the tantalising selection of super premium fresh chocolate goodies at Co Couture.
This basement artisan ‘boutique’ is where award winning, luxurious chocolates are hand made in small batches using only the finest raw ingredients.
Drop in and surround your senses with the smell of proper chocolate. Buy some super-premium chocolate bonbons and bars, or sample the truly spectacular hot chocolate. The ultimate in chocolate taste experiences.
Belfast Cookery School
As well as savouring their dishes, good foodies want to learn about cooking and serving food. That’s where Belfast Cookery School comes in.
Attached to the Michelin recommended Mourne Seafood Bar, this place can teach you how to cook a wide range international cuisines with style, plus everything from knife skills to bread making and throwing a dinner party. Lobster, fish and seafood courses are especially popular. When learning to cook is this much fun, you have to go.
Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory
Creating memories for the young and rekindling sweet memories for the not so young is what a visit to Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory is all about. Gobstoppers, Yellow Man, raspberry ruffles, Belfast lollies and brandy drops are just some of the tempting treats on offer from today and yesterday.
A show, demo, tour or chocolate workshop allows you to see how traditional sweets are made, and most can be sampled along the way. The sights, tastes and smells of old time candy making at its' best.
A working craft beer brewery with licensed restaurant in a beautiful and historic setting, now that’s a foodie destination.
First, learn about the craft from the master brewer at Hilden Brewery. Brewery tours include tastings, but you should then also linger on in the Tap Room restaurant to try the beers paired with the excellent food.
It's also worth checking out Molly's Yard Restaurant in Belfast, which is attached to Hilden and holds loads of food and drink matched events.
Old Bushmills Distillery
A tour of the oldest working distillery in Ireland, the Old Bushmills Distillery, is a must for all whiskey lovers and those simply curious to surround themselves with the sights and smells of a world famous spirit.
Listen to the explanations, see the displays, copper pot stills, production and bottling lines and finish in the tasting room where the guides can help educate your whiskey palate. Have lunch in the restaurant, or take home some Bushmills inspired treats and exclusive merchandise.
Tayto Castle Tour
Crisps are a Northern Irish foodie and cultural phenomenon, and for strength, smell and crunch it has to be Tayto. Arguments will always rage as to the best flavour, but there is no doubt Tayto is one of the tastiest crisps out there.
Aficionados can let their taste senses go into overdrive on the Tayto factory tour, where the full magic of these fantastic crisps is laid before your eyes. See thousands of tasty crisps and snacks whizzing past, then try them as you probably never have – still warm from the production line.
A tour of a whiskey, gin and poteen distillery is the perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon, spirit lover or not. All the more when it is set in the grounds of a gorgeous 17th-century estate.
The glass structure of the Echlinville Distillery building not only shows off the beauty of the pot stills and rectifying columns, but opens up picturesque views of the surrounding countryside. The tour and a tasting gives real insights into the distillery workings, or choose the Echlinville Experience, which includes lunch. Look out for the gin evenings too.
Various tour and event times and dates – check with distillery.
Lough Erne Food Trail
If a lakeland food trail floats your boat, then jump aboard a chauffeur driven Erne Water Taxi in Enniskillen and sail away to a Fermanagh feast.
This unique food trail combines a relaxing time on the water with time spent enjoying the local larder. With producers such as Kettyle Irish Foods and Eringrove Preserves on board, plus stops at top restaurants like the Catalina at the Lough Erne Resort en route, the beautiful lakeland landscape will never feel so tasty and inspiring.
Broighter Gold Économusée
International food halls, top chefs, restaurants and households all over Northern Ireland use the award winning and healthy Broighter Gold rapeseed oil, and behind every bottle is a wealth of history.
This product is grown by the Kane family on land where a precious collection of gold artefacts from the Iron Age, the Broighter Hoard, was discovered. Visit their économusée artisan workshop on the couple’s farm near Limavady and you can see the oilseed rape transformed into a crystal clear golden liquid. Wander through the exhibition area and take a bottle of the oil to enjoy at home.
Walled City Brewery
If craft beer whets your whistle, then one of the great places you can make for is the Walled City Brewery in Londonderry. A brew house and restaurant in the same venue, this is a one-of-a-kind.
Sample some Boom, Stitch and Kick – all beers inspired by the city's history – and munch from a delicious tapas-style menu. Stimulate your craft beer senses and conversations, and see the brewing process at first hand on a guided tour.
Cook with Norah
Rick Stein ‘food hero’ Norah Brown MBE is well known for a passion for fresh local ingredients and her skills in the kitchen as proprietor of Grange Lodge Country House in Dungannon.
Luckily Norah also welcomes foodies into the lodge kitchen, where she passes on her experience of the finer points of traditional Irish cooking. A Norah demo will show you the best ways to stock and make good use of a store cupboard and help you cook up a storm in your own kitchen.
Classes run throughout the year – call to book.