Wild About Food shortlisted for the NI Year of Food & Drink Awards

The shortlist for the NI Year of Food and Drink Awards has been announced. The judging panel, made up of highly respected food writers, critics and hospitality experts, were overwhelmed with the level of entries for the inaugural year of the awards, celebrating the achievements of the Year of Food and Drink in 2016.

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council’s ‘Wild About Food’ initiative has been shortlisted for the Best Food Story Award.

Wild About Food was a collaboration between Mid and East Antrim Borough Council & Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, aiming to celebrate the fantastic local produce available to us in the area. This project was our contribution to the Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016 and we incorporated the Year of Food and Drink monthly themes.

Throughout the Wild About Food programme participants were able to learn new food preparation skills, learn about local ingredients and learn about foraging. For example, participants enjoyed foraging for wild garlic to make a wild garlic pesto, learning the traditional skill of sea angling and ‘cooking their catch’, bread baking, ice cream making, a celebration of the apple harvest and Veggie BBQ’s.

The programme was also intended to act as a reminder of the ecosystem processes which continues to provide us with food, air and water reminding us of the importance of the natural world around us.  With today’s reliance on supermarkets, and the assumption that any food can be purchased at any time of the year, this programme aimed to remind people of importance of local produce and how to make the most of ingredients which have not incurred thousands of air miles and the associated carbon foot print.

 Charles Campion, Georgina Campbell, Joris Minne and Professor Una-McMahon Beattie met at Hillsborough Castle on Mon 16 January to deliberate the entries. The shortlist and winners will be announced at the awards evening on Thursday 02 February at the Culloden Estate & Spa.