Speciality Food Fair is set to return to the picturesque parkland setting of Moira Demesne on Saturday 12th August. Organisers of the annual event, which has grown to be a highlight on the calendar of local foodies, have confirmed a packed line-up with a diverse mix of primary and artisan food producers taking part alongside live cooking demos, interactive children’s activities, and more scheduled for this year’s event.
Reflecting on the popularity of the Speciality Food Fair, Alderman Allan Ewart, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Development Committee said, “We are delighted to welcome the return of the Speciality Food Fair Moira for its third year. As a council, we are proud to see so many award-winning producers from the area take centre stage, as well as welcoming many other quality producers from throughout Northern Ireland. We extend an invitation to local residents and foodies from further afield to visit this free-to-enter event filled with food and fun.”
Building on previous years’ successes, this year’s Speciality Food Fair will return bigger and better than before, with over 40 primary and artisan producers confirmed. Particular attention has been paid to the street food offering so the temptation to dine al fresco will be hard to resist! There will be something to suit all tastes, with brunch dishes, speciality burgers, ramen, gourmet grilled cheese and vegan street food being just some of the choices on the menu.
Each year of the event sees greater focus on provenance and this year, local growers who are excelling at producing head-turning blooms and mouth-watering produce in our back yards, will be celebrated. The demo kitchen will be buzzing with various sessions on current food trends including a Q&A session with the renowned and entertaining food critic Charles Campion, who is returning after enjoying his visit last year. Hands-on workshops in planting and growing will appeal to all ages, and – of course – the popular Café Bar will make its return for a place in the shade to enjoy a tea, coffee, beer or prosecco, among other treats.
Event organiser Joanne McErlain, Babble, commented on the diversity of local artisan food producers set to take over Moira Demesne. “The line-up for this year’s Speciality Food Fair stands as a testament to the variety of food and drink available on our doorstep,” said Joanne. “Taking on board feedback from previous years, we are delighted to have also expanded the offering for those with special dietary requirements including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. As always, we are equipped for rain or shine with plenty of opportunities to eat outdoors, but also a sprawling marquee and canvas cover, which act as a welcomed shelter from rain or shine.” Understanding that Moira is a village that loves its four-legged friends, a unique dog walking service has been brought on board and watering station, which will offer the opportunity for Fido to enjoy a professional walk and a drink while his owners enjoy what the Speciality Food Fair has to offer.
Indulge indoors under the food marquee
Shoppers will be given the chance to stock up on fresh food and larder essentials and interact with local artisans who can recommend food pairings and share some tops. Guests can look forward to tucking into sweet and savoury treats including speciality meats, organic vegetables, artisan cheese, bread and cakes, jams, chutneys, vinegars, chocolates, other speciality foods from award-winning suppliers like Abernethy Butter, Long Meadow Cider, Passion Preserved, Ispini Charcuterie, Castlescreen Farm’s Dexter beef, and Mike’s Fancy Cheese selection of raw milk cheeses, to name a few. Sweet Tooth’s can be satisfied with scrumptious chocolates from Neary Nogs, tray bakes from Tasty Wee Numbers, gravity defying cakes from Crumbs Vegan Bakery – and the smaller family members will be kept happy with cake pops from Little Treats or an ice cream cone from Glastry Farm.
Ringing the changes with the kitchen sessions and children’s workshops
The Kitchen Sessions at the Speciality Food Fair have proven to be a key attraction, and this year will be no exception. There will be a different flavour to the line-up this time with Edible Gardeners Jilly Dougan and David Love Cameron taking to the kitchen alongside fellow grower and renowned cook, Claire Kelly of Passion Preserved for ‘Taste the Greatness’ sessions. We are also delighted to welcome back renowned food critic Charles Campion who will be taking part in a Q&A session. Also featuring in the demo marquee will be Jasper Castel with the Big Green Egg and more to be announced.
‘Edutainment’ will be the key focus for children’s activities, led by Jilly Dougan as she will lead workshops on how to sow peas and take them home to grow pea shoots. Jilly commented on the unique opportunity that the Speciality Food Fair presents to encourage a new generation of keen gardeners: “The Speciality Food Fair will provide the chance for children to get involved in planting their own food, which in turn will raise awareness among our young people of where their food comes from; and the fun and fulfilment which can come from growing your own fruit and vegetables as well as encouraging healthy eating habits.” With parents across Northern Ireland looking for activities for the little ones to keep busy this summer, it sounds like the Fair is not to be missed, rain or shine!
Quench your thirst with some booze or a brew
The Café Bar will make a return at this year’s festival, once again hosted by The Four Trees Moira, offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from local apple juice, cordials, craft beers, ciders, and spirits. Speciality coffee (hot or iced), for those in need of a caffeine fix, teas and proper hot chocolate can all be sought out in the picnic area. A unique addition to this year’s event line-up will include the Horsebox Bellini Bar where guests can ‘pimp their prosecco’ with a selection of liqueurs from Hughes Craft Distillery.
Take in outdoor vendors in the fresh air
Moira’s Speciality Food Fair aims to cater for all guests, from granny to toddler. The speciality food offering is the main dish of the day of course, while Kitchen Sessions will entertain the foodies in the family, and interactive workshops, face painting and balloon modelling will help keep the kids entertained. Gardeners will be in their element with the unrivalled selection of herbaceous perennials from Cottage Garden Plants in addition to edible Gardeners in attendance, David Love Cameron and Jilly Dougan. Live music from local musicians will add to the festival atmosphere of the day, and organisers are encouraging guests to pack a picnic blanket and enjoy the street food on offer, whether it is a gourmet burger, wood fired pizza or something more adventurous from Bia Rebel’s ramen dishes, Dickie D’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese, or a vegan treat from Sarah’s World Fare.
Entry and parking to the Speciality Food Fair is free. The Fair will run from 10am – 6pm on Saturday 12th August with improved accessibility for disabled visitors and larger covered areas to provide shade from the elements.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/foodfairmoira or follow the Speciality Food Fair Moira on Twitter and Instagram @FoodFairMoira.
The full list of confirmed vendors for this year’s Speciality Food Fair Moira Includes:
Amber Catering and Cakes
Amberline Organic Produce and Preserves
Buchanan’s Farm Shop
Cherry Valley Farm
Crumbs Vegan Bakery
Hughes Craft Distillery
Ke Nako Biltong
Long Meadow Cider
Made with Love xo
Mike’s Fancy Cheese
Moo Cow Milk
Neary Nog’s Chocolates
Red Dog Artisan Foods
The Walled Garden, Helen’s Bay
Tom and Ollie
Dickie D’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Sarah’s World Fare
Pheasants Hill Farm Kitchen
The Crepe Makers
The Curious Farmer
The Fabulous Food Factory
The Four Trees
Hills Mix Tape
O’Conaill’s Hot Chocolate
Tasty Wee Numbers
Cottage Garden Plants
Honey Bee Blooms