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Appetite building for Big Cheese and Beer Expo

06 April 2016

Food fans will be thrilled to hear that Derry will be hosting a major celebration of two of the North West’s most popular indulgences – cheese and beer – as the Big Cheese and Beer Expo gets set to take over the Guildhall Square, April 15 – 17.

The event was launched this week by Derry City and Strabane District Council as a major highlight of the NI Year of Food and Drink programme, shining a spotlight on some of the finest craft beers and cheeses being produced locally as part Brewing & Distilling month. The expo is supported by Tourism NI and DARD under the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme.

BIG LAUNCH. . . .The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, pictured on Tuesday launching the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 Festival at the Guildhall. Included at back from left are Jennifer O'Donnell, Rural Tourism Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Louise Millsop, Supply Chain Development Officer, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mary Blake, Tourism Officer, DCSDC, Kevin Hickey, Dart Mountain Cheese and Martina Rodgers, Northbound Brewery.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said that following the recent major success of the Legenderry Food Festival, she was delighted to see the announcement of another fantastic food event. “I’m really pleased to see businesses in the North West benefitting from another opportunity to showcase local produce, and some of the innovative work which is transforming the food industry here.

“We have some extremely talented individuals who are dedicated to the development of the craft food and drink industry. This event will open them up to new audiences and give people the chance to sample some of the finest locally crafted products.”

One of the highlights of the programme will be a number of live demonstrations by former Corrie star turned Cheese champion Sean Wilson, aka Martin Platt, who has swapped the TV set for the kitchen, developing his own range of award winning cheeses. He will be joined by a whole host of local culinary talents for cook offs and demos throughout the weekend.

Tourism Officer with Council, Mary Blake, said the Expo was a highlight in the NI Year of Food and Drink Calendar. “I am absolutely delighted that the city will be hosting its first Cheese and Beer Expo as part of the NI Year of Food and Drink programme.

“This event builds upon the success of events like Culture Tech and Sippy of Culture in celebrating the best of Beer and Cheese from across the North West and beyond featuring quality cheese producers and craft brewers.

“The craft brewing industry is definitely on the rise and we already boast some great local success stories including the Walled City Brewery and Northbound Brewery here in the city. And passionate food producers such as Tamnagh Foods have been championing local cheese scooping an array of awards for their efforts in recent months, including 3rd in the World Cheese Awards for their Dart Mountain cheese. Food lovers will be able to sample some of the fantastic ranges being produced, and taste the difference when it comes to beers and cheeses crafted from the very best local ingredients.

“The daytime programme will include a large market hall where there will be opportunities to try and buy, while on the evenings of 15th and 16th the venue transforms into a cabaret style event with live music, hot food with cheesy themed menus and the best of local beer on tap.  I think the quality will speak for itself.”

The Expo will take place over three days and feature an array of events geared towards all ages, from family friendly, cheesy themed activities, to adult only beer tasting and food sampling. The Festival Marquee will have plenty of daytime family fun with pop up puppeteers, face painting, culinary themed arts and crafts plus lots more. In the evening adults can sample the best of the region’s craft beers, and enjoy local cheese and beer inspired dishes accompanied by some of the very best local performers.

Eddie Rowan, Tourism NI’s Events Manager, said: “We are pleased to support the Big Cheese and Beer Expo as part of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink. The event is a perfect platform to showcase our local food and drink suppliers alongside award winning produce. I wish everyone a very enjoyable and memorable weekend.”

The event is also supported the NI Regional Agri Food programme and Louise Millsopp, Head of Supply Chain, is delighted to see the commitment to local Agri Food development programmes which support local food development and supply.

All the action will take place on Friday 15th April - 5pm to 10pm; Saturday 16th April – 1pm to 6pm and 7pm to 11pm; and Sunday 17th April – 1pm to 5pm.

To find out more about the event go to www.derrystrabane.com/food

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