A host of sustainable food and drink tourism experiences will take place across Northern Ireland, as part of sustainability month, until the end of April. It is joint initiative between Tourism NI and Food NI.
They include an introduction to the world of cocoa sourcing, sustainable chocolate making and chocolate tasting at Neary Nogs near Newry on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays in April. Shane will do a 45-minute walk-through of chocolate production followed by 45 minutes of sampling chocolate from various origins and products. Booking via www.nearynogs.com
Hillsborough Castle & Gardens will be running a very special ‘Sustainable Feast’ experience on Friday 8th April at 7pm. This will be a very specially curated menu, comprised of ingredients from their cherished local producers, picked from their walled garden and foraged from the estate at Hillsborough Castle. As well as a delicious 3 course menu, priced at £30 per adult and £15 per child, their chefs will host a talk on the menu ingredients and their sustainability practices at Yellow Door Hillsborough Castle. Bookings via email email@example.com
On Saturday 9th April there will be a Sustainable Food Day at Hillsborough Historic Royal Palace featuring sustainable producers, talks and demos. The themes of the talks will be sustainable and regenerative foods e.g., no dig planting, importance of bees in pollination. The garden talks – Growing Green – will take place in the Walled Garden at 11.00am, 12.30pm and 2.00pm. These talks are free but normal garden admissions will apply. The food talks – Foraged Food – will take place on the terrace at 12noon, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Free to all. The producers will offer a range of products incorporating sustainable local ingredients.
There is a Causeway Coast Foodie Tour on April 9th. Led by Wendy Gallagher, it lasts 6 hours. You will become familiar with the area’s heritage and culinary culture, taste delicious local produce and meet the people behind this. Wendy will encourage you to sit back, relax and savour the flavours that make this area so unique. As you travel by luxury small coach through the area on a tour of 5 planned stops, you will experience the fresh outdoors and taste locally produced artisan foods, that have attracted many international awards including Great Taste Awards and Blas ná hEireann marques. You will meet the makers at one of our local artisan markets, visit an exceptional farm & savour the world-famous Bushmills Whiskey, distilled in the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. Producers will tell of their history and experiences, how the produce is grown/reared and why they take such pride in it. This area is not just home to a rich agri-food culture but also famous television dramas including Game of Thrones and The Northman. Book at Coast and Country – Causeway Coast Foodie Tours
Tracey Jeffrey’s small holding on Strangford Lough’s shores is the setting for Gather Eggs and Make Friends on 13th April. For this experience – to highlight their commitment to sustainability – they will invite guests to gather eggs which have just been laid by Hens and Ducks. They will cook these eggs – in the form of an omelette or in butter and they can enjoy the full flavour and taste of organic eggs along with their Soda Farls or Potato breads. Everything will be cooked on the Griddle. Guests will enjoy and savour uniquely Northern Irish Food – simple and delicious and of this area with zero food miles. https://traceysfarmhousekitchen.com
Becky Cole will be guiding a seasonal exploration of Broughgammon Farm and countryside for children aged 12 and under on April 16th. Nature Kids Club at the Farm will include Forest crafts, gardening, foraging, cooking, sensory nature walks, nature learning. It helps children learn about looking after this beautiful part of the world, nature and land stewardship. The children get to see where their food comes from, how to forage, grow food and cook outside. https://www.broughgammon.com/workshops-events/
Feasting on Weeds with Clare McQuillan is at Belfast’s Ormeau Park on April 19th. This will be a walk that will finish up with a group cooking session where participants will learn about the wild greens, how they can and have been used in the past, and how to make them completely delicious in various ways. Booking will be via the website https://www.feastingonweeds.com. Cost £20 per person
Bronagh Duffin from Bakehouse NI is hosting a butter churning, bread making and foraging experience to make wild garlic butter and bread on 22nd April. This experience brings together elements of place, people and planet. It’s the opportunity to get outdoors in the fresh air, which is good for physical and mental health with a little light exercise. To learn about wild food which is tasty and nutritious. To make your own quality, fresh, tasty food from scratch and reduce food waste as you only make and take what you need. Along the way visitors experience the local people and their ways and food stories as well. The visitors will do all the elements of the experience. They will churn, bake, forage before enjoying the small, tasty feast. Email for booking at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, on the 22nd, Northern Ireland’s newest Economusee- the Chocolate Manor is running a chocolate truffle making workshop. Chief Chocolatier Geri Martin will guide you through making ganaches at her premised in the village of Castlerock. Book online at The Taste Causeway Chocolate Experience – The Chocolate Manor
There will be an immersive tour into a day in the life of an apple farmer at McKeever’s Long Meadow in Armagh on 23rd April. It invites guests to get a feel for life on the farm, touch, sample, smell and hear the sights and sounds of a rural County Armagh orchard. To hear stories from the past and present and how the apple industry has progressed over the years.
The experience delves further into the cider, apple juice and apple cider vinegar production. How our family is now sustaining the orchards planted over 50 years ago. How the natural habitat of birds and bees is crucial to its existence. How tree pruning’s are cultivated back into the ground and apple pomace from pressing is given to local farmers for animal feeding.
Guests will learn about the production process of their award-winning craft ciders and apple juice. This will be followed by a cooking demo of traditional griddle bread in the new glass fronted Bramley Barn set in the heart of the orchard. Tea or coffee will be served with hot soda bread straight off the griddle.
Nikki from Walk it Off NI is running a 7k Threads and Breads Walking and Artisan Food Experience with Spring Table Centre on April 23rd. Participants will be able to do Forest Bathing, take part in an Easter-themed sustainable picnic lunch in Edenderry conservation village. They will then create a Spring decoration in a recycled glass container. Bookings can be made at https://walkitoffni.com
Start the day off on 29th April at Princetown Guesthouse in Bangor with an informal but structured breakfast club with people enjoying nutritious, creative, local, homemade, tasty, vegetarian breakfast dishes, taking home new ideas and recipes Diners are served a 5/7 course breakfast with drinks. Targeting people aged 25+, vegetarian, flexitarian and veg curious, also those that want a different, original, breakfast experience. Diners will hear about where/how we source our food, as well as some anecdotes/stories about it, and get a truly personal touch. Email booking via email@example.com
Sea the Day with Crawford’s Rock Seaweed in Kilkeel will also take place on the 29th of April. Forage on the shoreline for Dulse, Nori, Carrageen, Bladderwrack and Serrated Wrack. Then set up and cook with locally caught cod, hake, haddock, mussels, crab claws, Dublin Bay prawns and Crawford’s Rock award-winning Seaweeds, Salts and Seasonings. Let the waves feel your feet and the sand be your seat, wash away all those worries and for those brave enough enjoy a cold-water swim afterwards warm up with an Award Winning Peppermint Kombu Tea and some delicious Seaweed Chilli Chocolate as the sun drops and the day ends. Email Michellewilson2006@hotmail.co.uk- for booking.