ANOTHER highlight in the food and drink calendar here opens its doors at the Waterfront Conference Centre in Belfast on Friday, November 10. The BBC Good Food Show is a spectacular three-day event showcasing the very best of local produce and many of the UK top chefs.
Food NI is delighted to be involved again with the coordinator of what is probably the most important food and drink show franchise in the UK. We contributed to the success last year when the show was held here for the first time and have been involved again with River Street Events, the organisers, to ensure the attendance this year will be better than in 2016.
Dozens of local food and drink companies will be showing, sampling and selling their superb products. It will be the biggest food and drink event this year beyond our own fantastic Food NI Pavilion at the RUAS in Balmoral Estate.
Our support for this hugely important foodie event has included lobbying the organisers and Belfast City Council to secure a licence for alcohol exhibitors to sell their products to visitors, this was an issue last year that excluded producers of craft beers, ciders and spirits from the show.
We have, of course, a very vibrant cluster of companies producing innovative beverages including over 30 craft breweries. Our cider producers have also won a string of international awards as well as the well-deserved acclaim from cider experts. And our gin, whiskey and vodka producers are also making an impact in markets beyond these shores.
Alcohol exhibitors will now be able to sell through an onsite off-licence located close to the exhibition stand space. This is a significant development for the show, which is set to attract over 12,500 foodies and will feature a new and improved floorplan with the addition of a spacious ground floor hall showcasing local products.
Top chefs taking part will also be cooking with as many local products as possible. Included in the distinguished line-up of top chefs are the famed Michel Roux Jr, the Hairy Bikers, Nadiya Hussain, John Torode and, of course, our own food ambassador Paula McIntyre.
BBC Good Food in Belfast really is an event that foodies just cannot afford to miss. It will showcase the very best that producers here have to offer and provide opportunities to visitors to talk to the people behind our original and award-winning produce and to hear their often inspirational stories, especially against the background of growing interest among consumers in food provenance and transparency.
It’s a tremendous opportunity to experience the commitment of local food and drink producers to wholesome and innovative products, which are increasingly attracting sales in Britain and further afield. Food and drink remain our biggest manufacturing industry that’s continuing to grow steadily in terms of sales, exports and employment. And, of course, benefits our farming industry immensely. So, grasp the opportunity that BBC Good Food Show provides to sample the superb products from this hugely significant local industry.