Over 150 gastronomic experiences to tickle the taste buds

A 12-week celebration of Northern Ireland’s finest food and drink, tasty experiences and scrumptious adventures kicks off this week, encouraging people to ‘Taste the Island’ with an extensive range of events taking place throughout September, October and November.

‘Taste the Island’ is a three-year initiative developed in partnership between Tourism NI, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland that gives people a chance to savour and truly experience the world-class, mouth-watering food and drink offering in all corners of Northern Ireland.

The programme of events includes a number of regions with Armagh Food and Cider Festival from 19th September, Festival Lough Erne from 21st September, the Taste Causeway Festival and Slow Food Festival Derry~Londonderry in October and Belfast’s Twilight Market in November.

Experiences across the autumn include a gourmet weekend of island delights on Rathlin, discovering the magic that goes into beer-making at the Whitewater Brewery Tour in Castlewellan, trying your hand at gin distilling at Hughes Craft Distillery in Moira or experiencing a live cookery demonstration with Niall McKenna at James Street Cookery School.

Tourism NI’s Food and Drink Development Officer Gary Quate is encouraging everyone to enjoy what’s on offer across Northern Ireland.

“We are running an extensive programme of events and experiences as part of Taste the Island, including everything from visits to food producers, food trails and food festivals, hands-on workshops and the chance to sit back and enjoy the best of modern local cuisine in traditional pubs, restaurants and cafes,” said Gary.

“Tourism NI has been working with the food and drink industry on this initiative to showcase the best of our award-winning food and drink. We want to provide local and international visitors with experiences and events that will encourage them to discover our exciting local food scene and create lasting memories which will make them want to return,” he added.

Tourism NI is also offering those who try the local food and drink offering the chance to win some unique foodie experiences by sharing their experience on Instagram. To enter, simply post your #TastetheIsland experiences and tag @discoverNI, with an exciting weekly prize up for grabs, from cooking up a storm at Forestside Cookery School to gin tasting with the Shortcross Experience tour.

For the full programme and to book a Taste the Island experience this September, October and November visit: www.discovernorthernireland.com/tastetheisland or follow #TastetheIsland

To learn more about the Tourism NI Instagram competition and for terms and conditions, visit: https://discovernorthernireland.com/about-northern-ireland/taste-the-island/taste-the-island-competition/terms-and-conditions/


Tourism NI is supporting a range of food and drink events taking place across September, October and November, as part of Taste the Island initiative.

  • Armagh Food and Cider Festival (19 – 22 September)
  • Taste the Island at Culture Weekend, Cathedral Food Market, Belfast (20 – 21 September)
  • Festival Lough Erne (21 – 22 September)
  • Belfast Restaurant Week (23 – 29 September)
  • River to Lough Festival, Antrim (28 September)
  • Taste Causeway 2019 (4 – 27 October)
  • Slow Food Festival, Derry~Londonderry (10 – 13 October)
  • Derry International Halloween Festival (26 October – 1 November)
  • Taste the Island at the Twilight Market, Belfast (12 – 13 November)
  • Armagh Georgian Festival (28 – 30 November)

A flavour of the Taste the Island experiences available in Northern Ireland includes:

Blackrock House Kitchen Pop Up Supper Club, Portrush (4th – 25th October)


Blackrock House are teaming up with Chef Darran Benham, who has 30 years of experience in the industry and many prestigious awards, to present ‘A Taste of the Causeway Coast’ at Blackrock House. Darran will serve a seven course bespoke surprise tasting menu of delicious produce from the Causeway Coast. Stay over to fully enjoy your night away with Bed and Breakfast available from £75 per person.

Taste the Island on Rathlin Island (4th – 5th October)


Slemish Market Supper Club presents “Taste the Island on Rathlin Island”, a gourmet weekend of island delights. On Friday 4th October a boat will take you to Rathlin Island for a six course Taste the Island tapas menu in McCuaig’s Bar and will be presented to showcase the great produce of the island. This includes an overnight stay in the beautiful Georgian Manor House Hotel overlooking Rathlin harbour. On the Saturday morning Breakfast will be served followed by a tour around the different island sites before heading back to the hotel for  a six course “Taste the Island” dining experience

Long Meadow Farm Cider, Portadown (19th October)


Long Meadow Cider is a third generation family owned apple orchard and cidery based in rural County Armagh. Immerse yourself in this unique experience whilst being guided through our 30 acre orchard with various plantations and see how the famous PGI Status Bramley Apple is grown, harvested, processed and pressed to be transformed into brands of award winning artisan ciders, apple juice and apple cider vinegar. A visit to the cold storage facilities is also included, explaining the process of storing apples as well as the opportunity to see the newly built vinegar room where they produce their award winning vinegar.

Taste the Island Menu, Belfast (1st Sept – 20th Nov)


As part of Taste the Island, James Street is offering a delicious themed menu from September right through to November. The themed Menu includes Irish Charcuterie, Pickled Radish & Toast, Kilkeel Crab & Chilli Linguini, Hannan’s Braised Ox Cheek, Aged Sirloin, Helen’s Bay Organic Vegetable, Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Clafoutis, Clandeboye Buttermilk Ice Cream.

Gin School at Hughes Craft Distillery, Moira (21st Sept – 25th October)


Whether you want to discover the secrets of craft-distilling or are just an absolute devoted gin fan, get some ‘ginspiration’ at Hughes Craft Distillery’s Gin School. Hand-craft your very own gin with the help of a host to suit your flavour. You will record, taste, observe and measure the spirits putting all your senses to the test. Once you have crafted the gin you will get to bottle the liquid, name the gin and write a personalised label leaving with your bottle of gin, and your own recipe card.

Whitewater Brewery Tour, Castlewellan (6th Sept – 29th November).


Discover the magic that goes into making some of the finest beer in Northern Ireland. On arrival to Whitewater Brewery you will be warmly welcomed into Whitewater’s Tap room where you get to hear all about the journey Whitewater has taken on over the last 23 year, from the first idea to where they are today. Next you will get to experience being in the production area as you are taken into the heart of the Brewery itself. There you hear, see and smell what it takes to produce the award-winning beers. Then it’s off back into the Tap room for the all-important tasting.

Attack of the Killer Bees Halloween, Ballymena (1st November)



The Adair Arms, Ballymena, will be hosting a Supper Club on Friday 1st November which includes an evening of food, fun and a County Antrim ghoulish story at the “Attack of the Killer Bees” Halloween Slemish Market. Winner of Best Emerging Irish Cuisine at Irish Restaurant Awards 2019 & 2018, Chef Rob Curley, will serve a six course meal of Ghoulish treats from Slemish Market Garden and County Antrim to coincide with a scary Halloween story “Attack of the Killer Bees” by Frank McCooke of Slemish Market Garden

Taste the Island Cookery Demonstration Belfast (10th Sept – 5th November)


Take part in the cookery school demonstration at James Street South, Belfast with Niall McKenna as he demonstrates the best of land and sea from the island of Ireland. As part of this year’s island of Ireland produce celebration Niall will cook his favourite scallop dish with langoustines and dulse butter. You will get the chance to sample this dish alongside a locally produced beverage.

Taste the Island Instagram Competition

What to photograph: Capture the creation of a local craft beer, your favourite  bakery’s must-try pastries, an innovative twist on an Ulster Fry, fine dining at one of our Michelin star restaurants or people getting stuck in at a chocolate making class, it’s entirely up to you! Please include a description of the photograph in the caption and any relevant locations, names of venue etc.

How to enter: Enter by posting your picture on Instagram using the hashtag #TastetheIsland and tagging @discoverni

Give the location of the photo and a description

You must be over 18 years old to participate

Prizes: There are lots of food and drink prizes to be won over the course of Taste the Island and these will be detailed each week from 1 September to 30 November on the Discover NI Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/discoverni/.

These include:

Forestside Cookery School, Grand Central, Armagh Cider Company Tour, Boatyard Distillery, Shipquay Hotel, Toast The Coast Tours, Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen, Taste and Tour, Still House Moira, Corick House, Made in Derry Food Tours, Causeway Coast Foodie Tours, Rademon Estate Distillery

Terms & Conditions

For full competition terms and conditions click here: https://discovernorthernireland.com/about-northern-ireland/taste-the-island/taste-the-island-competition/terms-and-conditions/

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