A group of food writers from around the world – including from Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, India, Belgium and Scotland – visited Northern Ireland recently, as guests of Tourism Ireland. The journalists write for a range of top food and lifestyle magazines, including BBC Good Food (Indian and Middle East versions), Good Housekeeping (India), Copenhagen Food Magazine, La Cucina Italiana and Scottish Provincial Press.
Their visit coincided with Belfast Restaurant Week, when the group had the opportunity to sample the fare in some of the city’s top eateries – including Shu, Il Pirata and OX. They also met, and tasted the produce of, some of Northern Ireland’s up-and-coming food producers including goat farmer William Haire, award-winning butchers Hannan Meats and some of the stall-holders at St George’s Market.
Their itinerary – designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board – included afternoon tea at Newforge House in Co Armagh, where the group met owner and chef, John Mathers. John also showed the visitors his vegetable garden and how he uses local artisan produce in his menus.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring this group of food journalists to Northern Ireland. Seeing is definitely believing, so fact-finding visits like this are an extremely important element of our annual publicity and PR programme across the world.
“Food is such a vital component of the holiday experience nowadays, with travellers becoming more and more discerning about food and where they eat. Gastronomy and the extremely high quality of our food is one of the key themes being promoted by Tourism Ireland worldwide this year – and this visit will enthuse these writers about Northern Ireland, enabling them to share their experiences here with their readers.”