Food and drink from a range of local artisan companies from across Northern Ireland are being showcased at this year’s Balmoral Show in the Northern Ireland Food Pavilion.

It is organised by leading promotional body Food NI, supported by the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme, and Tourism NI.

The pavilion is hosting products reflecting the tastes and flavours from local companies, including many which have won awards for originality and quality in prestigious national and international food challenges.

The high-profile food accolades include the UK Great Taste Awards; the Blas na hEireann Irish National Food Awards; the UK Food and Drink Quality Awards; and the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards.

Companies at the pavilion

A host of local companies including Milgro; Glastry Farm Ice Cream; Erin Grove; Ballylisk of Armagh; Kennedy Bacon; Natural Umber; Ke Nako Biltong; and Irish Black Butter are sampling and selling their products.

A new addition to the pavilion is the NI Food and Drink Experience Kitchen, supported by Tourism NI.

The Experience Kitchen will provide a platform to showcase dozens of producers and foodie experiences from across Northern Ireland.

The NI Food Pavilion provides opportunities for visitors to meet producers and learn how they hand craft the food and drink to ensure consistent quality and memorable flavours.

Food and drink sector

The sector generates over £5 billion annually to the local economy and contributes to the wellbeing of rural communities, according to the organisers.

Food and drink products from local NI companies are exported to over 60 global markets such as the Republic of Ireland, other parts of the EU, as well as the US, Middle East and Asia.

Food NI chief executive, Michele Shirlow, commented: “It’s marvellous to [have set] up the food pavilion again for thousands of people to see and sample the best of local food and drink.

“Food writers and journalists we’ve worked with from outside Northern Ireland, have always been impressed by the overall showcase and talented producers," she added.

“We’ve certainly missed the show since it was paused over the last two years by the awful pandemic.

During the show, we have taken steps to ensure visitor safety by implementing systems which promote social distancing and hand sanitation throughout the pavilion. We have also involved increasing space between stands and reduced company numbers this year.

“I am sure that our changes won’t impact the enjoyment of visitors to the pavilion. They’ll have an unprecedented opportunity to experience the very best of our outstanding and award-winning food and drink," Shirlow concluded.