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Food & Drink

Artisan Producers Give Balmoral Show Visitors A Flavour Of Mid And East Antrim’s Finest Food And Drink

Mayor Paul Reid at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s stand alongside chef Jenny Bristow and some of the borough’s artisan producers

Artisan food and drink providers served up some of Mid and East Antrim’s finest produce to thousands of Balmoral Show visitors. More than 100,000 people headed to Balmoral Park for the four-day event, celebrating 150 years of The Show.

Visitors passed through the NI Food Pavilion and sampled the flavours on offer from across the borough.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council supported the very best of local produce at Balmoral by providing eight local businesses an affordable opportunity to exhibit.


The businesses are all members of the newly launched Mid and East Antrim Food Network, part of Council’s exciting ‘Amplify’ plans to boost the local economy. The network aims to get agri-food businesses working together to promote the sector, in and out of the borough, as not only somewhere for ‘foodies’ to get fresh, local, high quality produce but for businesses to see the borough as a place to invest.

Visitors got a chance to sample tasty produce from Linda’s Original, Tom & Ollie, Flossy Treats, Wee Mallows, From Granny’s Pantry, Clearer Water, Hillstown Farm and Granny Shaw’s Fudge.

Mayor Paul Reid at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Food Network stand alongside chef Jenny

Mayor Paul Reid at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Food Network stand alongside chef Jenny

High Quality, Locally Grown

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Paul Reid joined the crowds and was full of praise for the producers and the quality of the exhibitions on show, “I spent time with some of our producers during a visit to Balmoral Show and was hugely impressed. The NI Food Pavilion is an integral part of the show and a great advertisement for high quality, locally grown produce. Jenny Bristow also added a cherry to the very successful cake by cooking up some of Mid and East Antrim’s finest produce for the masses.

“Mid and East Antrim is home to a vibrant agri-food sector with one in five people working for the 1,363 agri-food businesses based in the region. Agri-food is one of Council’s priority sectors, which we are committed to supporting and growing as part of Amplify. This is an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of our local agri-food companies and I have no doubt thousands left the show with a new-found knowledge and deep appreciation of the fantastic work going on throughout Mid and East Antrim.”

Council secured two exhibition spaces within the NI Food Pavilion for local producers as well as Jenny Bristow’s Kitchen. The initiative is part funded by DAERA under the NI Regional Food Programme.

Food & Drink

Slemish Market Supper Club Hosts Exclusive Summer Fine Dining Experience

The popular Slemish Market Supper Club is set to offer food fans a new experience next month as their exclusive dining experience returns for another six-course event featuring well known chef Rob Curley.

Based in the beautiful surroundings of the greater Ballymena area, the unique pop up dining experience, Slemish Market Supper Club, creates an array of bespoke meals using only the finest local produce. 

Hosted by the award-winning chef, Rob Curley, Slemish Market Supper Club runs across a number of venues across the greater Ballymena area in County Antrim. 

At each fine dining experience, Rob will be on hand to allow you to learn more about each dish by explaining the ingredients, where they are sourced and the inspiration behind the creation of the distinctive cuisines.

“I love surprising people by taking a humble ingredient and turning it into something extraordinary,” said Rob.

The delectable dishes consist of six courses that will include a drink, a wee bite, a starter, a fish course, a meat course and a dessert. 

“We want our diners to have more than a meal,” explained Rob, adding: “We want them to understand what is on their doorstep, what they too can prepare and have a great time as well as great food.” 

Each event differs from the rest, as the ingredients used are done so when the produce is at its finest, making each experience special. Not just that, the menu is a surprise which Rob reveals on the night.

Offering the best summer creations, the next pop up event is due to take place on Saturday August 7 at Incredible Edibles Community Gardens in Cloughmills, Co. Antrim. The unique event not only offers the finest of cuisines but creates an intimate setting allowing you to meet new people and learn top tips from an award-winning chef. 

“It Is a delight for me to showcase what we have on our doorstep,” said Rob. “And when our diners experience the freshness it can be a revelation.”

Northern Ireland is renowned for its quality food and hospitality, and with Slemish Market Supper Club, they combine these two elements to create innovative and unforgettable experiences.

Tickets for the Slemish Market Supper Club at Incredible Edibles Community Gardens are £60 and can be booked at 

To find out more or book a place, ​​phone Rob Curley on 07547804975, go to their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter 

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Food & Drink

Lidl Northern Ireland brings the X-factor with opening of new Buncrana Road store

Lidl Northern Ireland is bringing the x-factor to Derry~Londonderry with the opening of its brand new, £8 million state-of-the-art concept store at Buncrana Road on Thursday 29 July which will be officially unveiled by X-Factor sensation and local celebrity, Eoghan Quigg.

Located at the junction of Buncrana Road and Springtown Road, the newly expanded store replaces the retailer’s former site at 24 Buncrana Road and is the first of three new stores planned for the North West region as part of a wider £26 million investment into the region, announced earlier this year. An additional 10 local jobs have been created as part of the investment.

Dungiven local and radio broadcaster Eoghan Quigg will officially cut the ribbon to unveil the new look Lidl Northern Ireland store and participate in a meet-and-greet with shoppers from 8am – 9am.

Regional Director for Lidl Northern Ireland, Conor Boyle, said:

“As Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket, we’re delighted to continue moving confidently forward with our long-established investment plans for the North West, bringing new employment opportunities to the local community and offering customers an enhanced shopping experience at this new location.

We’re delighted to confirm the new Buncrana Road store opening date for Thursday 29 July. We’re looking forward to welcoming shoppers through our doors and bringing our fresh, high-quality products and market-leading value to more shoppers in the North West region.”

Occupying a 10,000 sq. metre site with a 2,217 sq metre store space, shoppers can enjoy an enhanced shopping experience featuring higher ceilings, a more spacious interior layout and enlarged bakery areas. The store will also include improved facilities for store staff such as a larger canteen and welfare area and shower facilities.

Built with sustainability as a priority, the new store will incorporate a range of environmentally friendly features including an ISO 50001 certified Energy Management System and 4 electric vehicle charger spaces within its 146-space car park, enabling customers to charge their electric vehicles for free whilst they shop.

Speaking ahead of the new Lidl Buncrana Road store launch, Eoghan said:

“I am thrilled to be officially opening the brand-new Lidl Northern Ireland store at Buncrana Road. I’m looking forward to meeting shoppers and hope to see as many people there as possible to have a bit of craic on the morning. There are always great opening day deals to be had as well, so it’s shaping up to be a great event.

Now that I am shopping for a family of my own, Lidl is my supermarket of choice, with its fantastic selection of quality products at great value. The new and improved store is a great addition to the local area and I can’t wait to get in myself for the weekly shop!”

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