Derry ~ Londonderry’s status as an international foodie destination will be in focus in February as the city hosts a month-long campaign to celebrate the North West’s outstanding food and drink, and the people who produce it.
The Love LegenDerry Food Month will create a platform for the city’s chefs and producers to showcase just why Derry and the wider region features on the bucket lists of those planning food themed breaks in 2023.
The campaign has been launched by the LegenDerry Food Network in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council and Visit Derry and will feature a series of special events and mouth-watering food experiences.
In addition, an immersive new food trail will launch as over 40 businesses from across the city and wider area come to showcase how they are using local food to offer a unique and authentic visitor experience.
Visit Derry Chief Executive, Odhran Dunne said the city has become a real melting pot of different flavours with chefs celebrating the very best of local produce by serving up both traditional dishes and international cuisine.
He said: “This city has always been known for its warm and welcoming hospitality but now it is really making a name for itself around the world as a foodie destination.
“From food trucks serving exciting dishes to fine dining restaurants, we have such a wide selection of wonderful food and drink on offer in Derry.
“Our local produce is second to none and it is fantastic to see such an exciting and dedicated group of outstanding chefs determined to serve the very best seasonal ingredients in their businesses.
“From growers, producers, chefs, brewers and restaurateurs there is something really fantastic happening in Derry at the minute, and the Love LegenDerry Food Month will create the perfect platform to showcase this to visitors.”
Odhran also highlighted some of the amazing food stories taking place in Derry including the Lough Foyle Native Oyster.
“Our oyster is perhaps symbolic of the food scene here in Derry. A once abundant resource was in real danger of dying out before a major effort was made to help it flourish once again.
“Today the oyster sustains a buoyant local fishing fleet, with local chefs embracing this wonderful product and making it the star of some of their dishes. It doesn’t stop there either as the Walled City Brewery have used the oyster to brew their famous Foyster Stout.
“The food and drink scene in Derry is thriving and certainly worth raising a glass to.”
James Huey, owner of Walled City Brewery said: “When my wife and I opened Walled City Brewery in May 2015, we had no idea of the success that would follow, although it hasn’t come without lots of hard work and dedication.
“Having recently launched our new taproom which showcases the best of local produce, we truly understand the value of collaborating with our business neighbours and the endless advantages it brings.
“Ourselves and Sippy Fest dreamt up the concept of Foyster during late-night, beer-fuelled chats about how to celebrate the Lough Foyle Flat Oyster which is native to our shores and a true pearl of the Foyle.
“In addition, we work with the fantastic team at Foyle Bia Marra, a family-run business with decades of experience and expertise in the Irish seafood industry, to ensure all of our oysters are of the highest quality and sustainably sourced. Every part of the oyster is utilised to create a unique, decadent, yet subtle stout, available for visitors to try and much loved by the locals.
“The launch of Love LegenDerry Food Month is an extremely exciting opportunity for everyone involved in the food and drink business in Derry and the wider region. We are delighted to have the chance to join forces with local producers and chefs alike to really showcase the amazing array of food and drink experiences on offer here.”
Some of the stand-out events taking place at Love LegenDerry Food Month include:
Beer & Cheese Longtable: Feb 17th
Hosted by Soda & Starch and Artis, this will be a series of long table events which will showcase a selection of local suppliers. It will also involve talks by the producers followed by a sharing banquette based around their produce.
Soda & Starch are a staple in Derry. An independent family run and chef (Raymond Moran) owned Bistro, Soda & Starch, who are renowned for cooking and serving great food, work with local suppliers, families and producers to give the best seasonal ingredients for their changing menus.
Following the success of the outside dining concept at Soda & Starch recently, Ray Moran in collaboration with Phelim O’Hagan, decided it was time to introduce something new and revamp the existing interior space.
This is when Artis was born, offering a new high end dining experience in the Craft Village. Celebrating local produce is at the core of the new eatery, perfect for family gatherings and much-needed reunions.
Urban Foraging: Feb 11
This unique foraging tour and cookery experience, organised by local food business Lo & Slo, will take guests on a tour through the historic St. Columb’s Park.
Guests will be encouraged to clean and chop the produce to make wild garlic and nettle pesto with dandelion petals.
The bespoke meal will be a sharing charcuterie board (including kid friendly options) showcasing the fresh pesto, local food from local producers and preserved foods (with recipe cards of how-to).
This will truly be a food experience not to be missed.
Couples Cooking Experience: Feb 17 – 18th
This is an exciting immersive and interactive dining experience specifically created for couples who want to learn new skills in the kitchen.
Hosted by Fairley’s Flavours, Chef Fairley will take you through a simple but delicious menu, step by step.
Growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa, chef Fairley Ramraj’s Indian heritage meant his family loved cooking bold, flavour-packed dishes with the freshest ingredients.
When he moved to Northern Ireland, Fairley missed the flavours of his home country, and decided to introduce them here in LegenDerry.
You and your partner will have the amazing opportunity to learn some of Chef Fairley’s fantastic recipes first hand as you cook alongside him to make a delicious six-course meal to remember.
Sperrin Goat Experience: Feb 17-18
Hosted by Dart Mountain Cheese and Craigbane Farm, the Sperrin Goat Experience will involve an enthralling visit to the goat farm to meet the baby goats followed by a special goats’ cheese sampling tour.
These handmade, artisan cheeses are bursting with local history and heritage, and firmly rooted in the Sperrins.
Open to parents and their children, this one-of-a-kind experience will offer you the delicious opportunity to sample the multi award-winning product and breathe in the fresh air whilst taking in the beautiful landscapes around you.
Oyster & Stout Festival: Feb 24-25
The Oyster & Stout Festival will take place at multi-award-winning restaurant and taproom, Walled City Brewery.
Located at the heart of the city, Walled City Brewery pride themselves on providing a uniquely local experience to all their guests, from the ingredients in their delightful craft beer to their use of local produce in their enticing menu.
With 15 different beer taps, the largest number in the city, Walled City Brewery is the perfect destination to experience the tastes from the local area.
The festival will be a weekend celebration for locals and visitors from beyond, serving up the Lough Foyle Native Oyster with a variety of stouts including the brewery’s very own Foyster Stout.
If you are thinking of experiencing Love LegenDerry Food Month, why not book an overnight stay or two in one of the city’s beautiful accommodation offerings?
Whilst you are here, there are plenty of other experiences to explore, from the famous 400-year-old walls, the fascinating museums, murals and street art, and the beautiful wider region.
Full details are available at www.legenderryfood.com/events
For information on great places to eat and drink as well as places to stay, log onto www.visitderry.com