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Speciality Food Fair at Moira Demesne

As the Speciality Food Fair Moira visits Moira Demesne today, we take a look at the home-grown fare that will be on offer

Families will be well fed with a visit to the Speciality Food Fair at Moira Demesne today

TODAY'S Speciality Food Fair Moira at Moira Demesne will feature some of Northern Ireland’s most outstanding small-batch food producers.

This year’s Fair will show off a large selection of award-winning food from over 45 primary and artisan producers, including Moira's own Great Taste Awards Champions, McCartney’s and Hannan Meats.

Products from both will be utilised by the chefs in the live Kitchen Sessions at today's event, with the north’s meat sector also showcased in the Artisan Food Market Marquee.

Visitors will have the chance to buy directly from farmers, including lamb from Buchanan’s Farm, dry-cured bacon from Kennedy Bacon and Dexter Beef from Castlescreen Farm.

In the Picnic Area, Forthill Farm and Broughgammon Farm will be among those serving gourmet street food with a 'farm to fork' ethos.

Alongside these primary producers, you'll also find organic vegetables, artisan cheese, bread and cakes, jams, chutneys, chocolates, fudge and many other speciality foods – many from multi-award winning producers.

Here are just three of the top local talents to look out for during your foodie afternoon.

  • Chris McGowan, Wine & Brine

In advance of his third appearance on BBC’s Great British Menu and following the recent announcement of his eatery Wine & Brine as Best Restaurant of the Year in the Good Food Guide, Moira Chef Chris McGowan will add a celebrity element to the event, cooking up a storm in the Fair’s demo kitchen alongside leading local chefs including Derek Patterson of Moira's The Tannery, part of the Plough Group, and Stevie Higginson of Square Bistro, Lisburn.

"After a long career working in London, my passion for the high calibre of local ingredients available in Northern Ireland was one of the factors that called me home," explains Chris.

"In our restaurant we work to showcase the quality of NI ingredients – many of which are sourced from the suppliers selling their produce at Speciality Food Fair.

"I look forward to continuing to spread the word about the outstanding quality of Northern Ireland’s primary produce and artisan products.

"I feel strongly that events like this will help to build a greater appreciation by local consumers of what’s on offer on their doorstep."

  • Mark Douglas, The Krazi Baker

Winner of the Best Street Food Award at The Food Awards Northern Ireland in June, if it can be baked on a griddle, Mark Douglas has done it – from soda farls to potato and apple cakes to fluffy pancakes.

With his Baking now a fixture at markets across the north and beyond, Mark has also recently branched out into oven bakes and his Butter Shortbread made with Abernethy butter, his potato apple bread and treacle farls have all received nods at the Great Taste Awards.

  • Michael Thomson, Young Buck / Mike’s Fancy Cheese

A pioneer in the developing tradition of raw milk cheese making in Northern Ireland, Michael studied his trade at the School of Artisan Food, Nottinghamshire, before returning to the north and producing our first raw milk cheese, a blue cheese he called Young Buck.

It's now served on cheese and charcuterie boards in leading restaurants, and Mike can be found selling a range of artisan cheeses from across Ireland as Mike’s Fancy Cheese at food events including the Speciality Food Fair Moira.

  • Owen Scullion, Hilden Brewery

Pioneers of the craft beer movement in Northern Ireland and the oldest independent brewery in Ireland, Hilden Brewery produces a widely-acclaimed range of seven craft brews including Hilden Irish Stout, Headless Dog, Twisted Hop and Belfast Blonde from its facilities at Hilden House, Lisburn.

Visit the Tipi Café Bar at Moira Demesne to speak with Owen and his team about their locally-brewed beers and sample the range.

  • Claire Kelly, Passion Preserved

Claire was a chartered accountant with her own practice up until 2012 when she decided that life was too short not to do what she loved.

From a long line of avid gardeners, Claire set up her own business to combine a love of cooking with growing, and Passion Preserved was born.

With a wide range of products including savoury preserves, dips and relishes – the sort of food she enjoys herself – Claire embodies the movement of artisan food producers who are increasingly saying goodbye to their corporate lives in order to pursue a love of food. Passion Preserved is available in a number of artisan food shops across the country, and the brand has been acknowledged with a shortlist placing at this year's Delicious Magazine Produce Awards.

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  • Top Tip – a perfect pairing for cheese lovers

The Speciality Food Fair Moira will offer a selection of award-winning foods and condiments, with simple pairings allowing buyers to maximise the impact of local ingredients.

One favourite among organisers involves pairing Young Buck blue cheese with Watermelon Pickle from Passion Preserved – a perfect juxtaposition of sweet and salty for any cheeseboard.

  • Speciality Food Fair Moira takes place today at Moira Demesne between 10am and 2pm. More information at Facebook.com/foodfairmoira
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