Fair days for foodies at Shane’s Castle event

Preparing to cook up a storm at the The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival at Shane's Castle are, from left, Ingrid Houwers; Michele Shirlow, Chief Executive of Food NI; Great Game Fairs celebrity chef, Emmett McCourt; Cathy Chaudran of Lough Neagh Eels and Jane Harnett from Harnett Oils.
Preparing to cook up a storm at the The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival at Shane's Castle are, from left, Ingrid Houwers; Michele Shirlow, Chief Executive of Food NI; Great Game Fairs celebrity chef, Emmett McCourt; Cathy Chaudran of Lough Neagh Eels and Jane Harnett from Harnett Oils.

It will be foodie heaven at The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival at Shane’s Castle next week as Ireland’s premier celebration of all things country raises a glass – and a plate - in a toast to NI Year of Food and Drink 2016.

Food will be very much to the fore, with live cookery demonstrations from celebrity chef Emmett McCourt from Derry and speciality foodstuffs showcased in a bustling marquee mall featuring a mouth-watering range of produce to taste, enjoy and buy to take home.

Emmett said: “Our passion for provenance is undimmed, and we will be celebrating the wonderful natural ingredients from field, stream and sea right across this region and encouraging show-goers to try new ways of cooking and presenting nature’s bounty.

“Our amazing Lough Neagh eels for example are, to my mind, sadly neglected at home even though they are sought after as high end delicacies in many leading European restaurants.

“I’ll be showing visitors how to prepare and cook eels and will be inviting visitors to the show to enjoy what may well be their first taste of this superb local product.”

Emmett added: “We’ll also be presenting some fantastic foodstuffs from local companies who have taken great natural ingredients and combined them with our rich culinary traditions to create fabulous ready-to-eat products.”

From cheeses, oil, jams and chutneys to craft beers and ciders, breads and baked goods, the marquees will be packed with goodies.

The Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival, incorporating the Northern Ireland Angling Show, is set to attract tens of thousands of visitors to the stunning loughshore setting of Shane’s Castle in Antrim over the weekend of Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26.

The family-friendly event, sponsored this year by Betterhomes Group, and organised By Great Game Fairs of Ireland, is packed with entertainment for everyone who lives, works or plays in the Irish countryside.

Central features will be three main display arenas showcasing day-long spectacle and competition and surrounded by marquees and stands featuring country catering plus browse-and-buy rural retailing featuring a massive range of country wares.

The Fair will be crammed with attractions, from battle re-enactments, angling competitions, air rifle shooting, clay pigeons, falconry, archery, horses and hounds and medieval jousting, to the chance to step back in time with a wander through a real living history village.

Irish Game fair Director Albert Titterington says, “For two days in June, we’ll be encouraging locals and visitors alike to come along and enjoy our Great Outdoors in all its aspects.

“Country sports, pursuits, past-times and produce will be taking centre stage at Shane’s Castle in a unique and fun-filled celebration that will be enjoyed by all the family.

”We are thrilled that, this year, the Fine Food Festival which is an integral and hugely popular part of our annual Shane’s celebrations will be bigger and better than ever before, marking the NI Year of Food and Drink 2016 initiative and honouring all those who bring such wonderful food to our tables.”

The Irish Game Fair, incorporating the NI Angling Show & Fine Food Festival, will take place from 10am to 6pm on June 25 and 26 at Shane’s Castle Estate, Antrim.

Admission, which includes on-site parking and free event programme, is £25 for a Family ticket, Adult £10, Child (over 5) £5.

There’s special value for canny anglers: DCAL angling permit holders or licence holders can claim a £5 voucher off admission; available at angling shops or by emailing irishgamefair@btinternet.com or calling 028 4483 9167.

For more information visit www.irishgamefair.com.

Title sponsor is Betterhomes Group (www.betterhomesgroup.com) and The Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival is supported by Tourism NI and Antrim & Newtownabbey Council.

It is part of the NI Year of Food and Drink 2016 and the NI Angling Show enjoys the support of the Department for Culture Arts and Leisure and Inland Fisheries Ireland.