Some of Ireland’s most respected food critics have been getting a taste of the action across Mid and East Antrim as the borough battles it out to become Ireland’s Top Foodie Destination 2019.
The area has been shortlisted as one of Ireland’s top 10 Foodie Destinations for a second year running. It’s one of two areas in Northern Ireland competing for the prestigious accolade.
The competition, organised by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), looks at what destinations lead the way with food festivals, gourmet trails or farmers markets, as well as great dining experiences for locals and visitors alike.
Judges Deirdre McGlone and Anthony O’Toole have decades of experience in the culinary world and on their journey across Mid and East Antrim have been sampling delights from Slemish Market Supper Club chef Rob Curley, The Dairy in Gleno, traditional bakes by Bellahill Cookery School, The Bank House, Lighthouse Bistro, Hillstown Beers, Glenarm Castle and Ballygally and Galgorm Hotels.
It’s not just down to the judges though, with a public vote running until Thursday 20 August, so the borough’s array of tasty businesses and suppliers need you to get on board and vote for free online.
The borough will be showcasing its best retailers, suppliers and foodie experiences on offer here in Mid and East Antrim.
Mayor Cllr Maureen Morrow is encouraging everyone to get behind the area and vote: “We’re very proud to have been shortlisted for a second year running. To make the top ten out of the whole of Ireland as a must see foodie destination is testament to the fantastic produce we have on offer in the borough. We received a highly commended last year and are hoping to build on that success this year.
“Not only does Mid and East Antrim boast a thriving Food and Drink Network, with the area home to a superb array of excellent food producers, chefs, hospitality providers and food retail businesses.
“But our unique location is what sets us apart, to have such rich land based agricultural and coastal produce on our doorstep encompassing all types of food along the way, we’re very lucky. Winning this prestigious award would be a great boost for our local food tourism economy.
“I would encourage everyone, including our local businesses to get on board and vote. Get sharing the council’s social media posts and share the link to vote so we can be in with a real chance of winning this time.”
Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said: “We are delighted to have such a broad range of entries for Foodie Destinations 2019. Ireland has a diverse food landscape and we can’t wait to see the unique contributions that the Foodie Destinations 2019 Finalists are making.”
The 2019 Finalists are:
Mid and East Antrim Borough
The Food Coast Donegal
Monaghan and Glaslough
The winner of Foodie Destinations 2019 will be announced at the end of August. Members of the public can vote for their favourite finalist at www.foodiedestinations.ie