February 25 In the Press

Voting is now OPEN…. Have your say and vote for your favourite NI Produce and Restaurant

By Eleanor McGillie

FOOD and drink lovers across Northern Ireland are being invited to have their say in this year’s Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards which are taking place next month to celebrate the resilience and growth of the sector across the province.

The awards, which are considered the most important awards in Northern Ireland’s business calendar, honour the work of our home grown producers and celebrate the contribution which the agri-food industry plays in our economy.

This year, Food NI, our region’s promotional voice for food and drink producers, are sponsoring two awards – The People’s Choice and Taste of Ulster Restaurant of the Year 2013.

For The People’s Choice award, producers, from across Northern Ireland, have been asked to put forward the product which they feel deserves recognition and are now putting its fate in the hands of the public.

As well as that, independent inspectors for Food NI have been busy anonymously assessing Northern Ireland’s top restaurants to score their food quality, use of local produce and standards of service. The top 20 Taste of Ulster Restaurants, selected from independent assessors scoring, will be nominated for the public vote via social media. The restaurant achieving the highest level of votes will win the Food NI Taste of Ulster Restaurant of the year award for 2013.

Michele Shirlow, chief executive of Food NI, said: “This is the 12th Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards and we are delighted to be sponsoring two categories. It has been great fun getting the nominations in. Food and drink producers play a massive role in our economy. We all love something nice to eat and drink and somewhere nice to dine out. But the public can now have their say on whether it’s bread or butter, yoghurt or ice cream or burgers or steak or, indeed whatever, which tickles their fancy, by nominating online.”

In Northern Ireland, over 100,000 private sector jobs depend on the success and continued growth of the agri-food sector which has an estimated turnover of £4billion.

To vote for your favourite produce and your favourite restaurant visit www.nigoodfood.com. Voting is open from Monday morning (February 25) at 9am and runs through til Friday, March 8 at 5pm.


For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 Food and Drink PR | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Brand Journalism Experts | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK


  • Food NI provides a single promotional voice for Northern Ireland’s food and drink. It works to enhance the reputation of Northern Ireland’s food and drink through the Taste of Ulster and Northern Ireland- Good Food is in its nature messages. Food NI is a company limited by guarantee, formed voluntarily by a consortium of food sector representatives, to develop a positive identity for high quality food from Northern Ireland. The Board consists of representatives from across the entire supply chain.



BROUGHGAMMON FARM GOAT BURGERS: “Broughgammon Farm is Northern Ireland’s first commercial goat meat enterprise hand rearing male goats from the dairy industry to provide a deliciously mouth watering, sweeter and healthier alternative to lamb. Although new to the scene they have been quick off the mark and their burgers are simply to die for.”

ELEANOR CRAIG’S HOMEMADE BUTTER FUDGE:  “Homemade Butter Fudge has been in the family for many generations. It has never been altered from one generation to the next. I hold my family traditions very close to my heart and as a result I have found my crumbly textured fudge is enjoyed by everyone due to its distinct texture and taste.”

CAUSEWAY PRIME BROOKS BISTRO STEAK: “From the nest part of select prime rump of beef, cut and trimmed from the succulent rump heart can be served on its own, as part of a surf n turf dish or as the perfect steak sandwich paired with a nice Ciabatta or baguette”

DROMONA SPREADEASY BUTTER: “Dromona Spreadeasy Butter is made using only the finest, freshest, locally sourced milk at our Dromona Creamery in Cullybackey. Did you know that Dromona Spreadeasy Butter is the Number One local butter brand- so if you choose Dromona as the People’s Choice you’ll be in great company.”

BAILIES COFFEE FAIRTRADE ESPRESSO: “Roasted almonds, cream, butter, cocoa, wine, caramel and vanilla are some of the tastes and aromas to be enjoyed within this espresso. This coffee has good body, mild balanced acidity and a long creamy maple syrup finish. This blend has a small percentage of robusta which produces a rich thick cream, and works especially well in cappuccinos and lattes. Bailies Coffee Company, based in Dargan Road, Belfast have been supplying FT espresso to over 300 Coffee shops across Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland for the last 19 years.”

SUNBLEST VEDA: “Once baked all over the UK, Northern Ireland remains the only place still baking Veda today. Sunblest Veda or the ‘yellow one’ as it has become known, is Northern Ireland’s favourite Veda and is baked using the same highly guarded recipe since 1956. Sunblest receives regular requests from as far as Australia for the iconic little loaf, with many describing the sweet maltiness as the ‘taste of home’. ”

SUNBLEST PANCAKES: “We love our pancakes in Northern Ireland but they are often overlooked as a local food hero. However we consume more pancakes than any other part of the UK and Ireland. Baking one million pancakes per week, Sunblest uses flour from our own mills and fresh Dale Farm buttermilk to achieve the fluffy texture that is adored by young and old alike.”

FAIRTRADE BREAKFAST SUKI TEA: “A proper ‘Big Leaf, Big Flavour’ cup of tea. The schooling and health care of the families who pick this are supported every bag you buy & every cup you drink. It’s Rainforest Alliance certificate means the environment and wildlife of the area are also looked after. Tea as it should be. #votesuki”

PUNJANA TEA: Punjana Tea, blended by the Thompson family in Belfast for over a century. Winner of nine Great Taste Gold Awards and fondly remembered for its ‘Pick Punjana Tea’ jingle.

BELLA JO RELISH: The Bella Jo relish is becoming a household favourite across Ireland. All handmade along the Antrim coast with the finest ingredients of vine ripened tomatoes, onions and chillies.




IRWINS NUTTY KRUST: “Nutty Krust Batch Bread is what Irwin’s is most famous for. The bread when it comes out of the oven is ‘batched’, hence the name, it takes a six hour baking process; from the mixing and fermenting of the dough to the baking and resting of the bread. Baked on the sole of the oven, giving the loaf a crunchy top and bottom crust with a soft white centre – it is this traditional method which gives Irwin’s Nutty Krust that distinctive flavour. Irwin’s bake an average of 100,000 Nutty Krust loaves each week proving it is by far, the People’s Choice.”

MADDENS MELLOW ARMAGH CIDER: “Maddens Mellow Armagh Cider is a traditional, full flavoured refreshing cider made using apples grown in Co Armagh. It is produced exclusively from fresh pressed apple juice and contains no artificial ingredients. It is made using traditional, artisan methods, which means it’s bursting with delicious appley flavour.”

TAYTO CHEESE AND ONION CRISPS: “This iconic Northern Irish delight has been produced at Tayto Castle in Tandragee since 1956. Best quality specially grown local potatoes combined with the top secret distinctive flavour makes Tayto Cheese& Onion Crisps part of every Northern Irish person’s heritage and is a Taste of Home whether near or far.”


BROIGHTER GOLD RAPESEED OIL: We are an arable farm on the North Coast who farm 700 acres. We are passionate about our variety of rapeseed oil. We have just been awarded ‘Artisan at Work’to open our farm up to the public. We want everyone to know that our rapeseed is actually grown here and not bought in.


GLASTRY FARM YELLOWMAN HONEYCOMB ICE-CREAM:  “The Great Taste 2012 judges comments in awarding, Double Gold to Glastry Farm Yellowman Honeycomb Ice-cream, was: ‘a beautiful smooth creamy ice-cream matched with a delicious honeyed yellowman inclusion’. With this accolade we have our most popular flavour.

ROY LYTTLE LTD LEEKS: “Situated on the Ards Peninsula, on the shores of Strangford Lough with a relatively mild climate, we have been growing, preparing and packaging seasonal vegetables for over 25 years. Our organic and conventional leeks are available from August to May each year and are of the highest quality. Look out for the blue sticker to be sure that they have been ‘Grown here, not Flown here!’ Perfect for casseroles, pies and winter warming soups.”

CLANDEBOYE ESTATE GREEK STYLE YOGHURT: “Clandeboye Estate is the only company making yoghurt in Northern Ireland. The process of making a true Greek Style yoghurt has not changed in hundreds of years. It involves straining natural yoghurt in cheese cloths to remove most of the whey to give a smooth, thick and creamy yoghurt. (Most others just add powder, cream or gelatine to thicken). As we have the best available ingredient which is milk from our own pedigree herd, we don’t need to add anything else.”

MASH DIRECT CARROT AND PARSNIP: “Mash Direct select old heritage varieties of carrots and parsnips for taste, grow fresh on the family farm in Comber, steam cook, gently mash and prepare. Two great root vegetables mashed together for fantastic flavour and texture. No artificial additives, preservatives or colourings. Gluten Free, Suitable for vegetarians.”

CLEMENTS FREE RANGE LARGE EGGS: “Our free range eggs are laid by hens which are free to roam on our farm and are fed on only the highest quality grain diet. This means Clements Eggs will always be of the highest quality every time you crack one open.”

DIG IN CARROTS AND PARSNIPS: “Dig In is a new brand created to give the customer confidence that the vegetables they are buying are Northern Irish. We promise that nothing other than our own locally grown carrots and parsnips will be sold as Dig In. We even put the area where they have been ‘dug in’ on the label – customers can then visit our website to find the spot! The packaging has been designed to show our commitment to local produce, and features our own NI logo to emphasise this.”


CLOUGHBANE FARM LASAGNE: “At Cloughbane we believe in the ethos of supporting our local farmers which is why our lasagne is made with premium Northern Irish mince steak and cooked with fresh carrots, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, celery and smothered with our homemade white sauce, pasta and cheese to make a delicious meal.”

FILLED FULL OF: “Being so hot and tasty, Filled Full Of mushrooms go with pretty much anything, but we find they go particularly well with a nice crunchy salads.”

HEAVENLY TASTY ORGANICS STAGE 1 PUREES: Heavenly Tasty Organics stage 1 purees are 100 organic, dairy free and gluten free.  They are portion controlled, and come in a handy little tray with 4 heart shaped cavities per tray.  Parents simply pop out what they need with no wastage of product.  Convenience without the guilt.



Food NI Taste of Ulster Restaurant of the year award for 2013.

The Yellow Door Deli – Portadown

The Cuan – Strangford

The Londonderry Arms – Carnlough

The Mitre Restaurant at The Culloden Estate and Spa – Holywood

Del Toro – Lisburn

Ballyrobin Country House – Crumlin

Browns Restaurant – Derry

Carriages – Larne

Denvirs Hotel – Downpatrick

Dufferin Coaching Inn – Downpatrick

Katch 27 – Kircubbin

La Scala Bistro at The Stormont Hotel – Belfast

Malmaison – Belfast

Nick’s Warehouse – Belfast

Roe Park Resort – Londonderry

The Garden Restaurant at The Ballygally Castle – Ballygally

The Burrendale Hotel – Newcastle

Bushmills Inn Hotel – Bushmills

Groucho’s Café Bar – Richhill

Oyster’s Restaurant – Strabane

The Brewer’s House – Donaghmore

Wildfowler Inn – Greyabbey

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