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MasterChef critic praises Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon ‘Food Heartland’

2. Local chefs impress food critic Charles Campion at the Food Heartland Forum meeting. Back L-R: Ryan McFarland, Neil Bradley Dean Coppard and Simon Dougan. Front L-R: Sean Farnan, Charles Campion and Ryan Ewing

Food critic, Charles Campion, describes local produce as ‘spectacular’ at the latest Food Heartland Forum meeting in Craigavon Civic Centre.

The ‘Food Heartland’ (so-called because of the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon region’s abundance of specialist artisan food and drink producers) is one of the key growth areas for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

The Food Heartland Forum, funded by DARD Regional Food Programme, provides a unique platform for council to work closely with agri-food businesses and various support bodies to drive the local agri-food sector forward. Working with Food NI, Tourism NI, and local event organisers, the Forum is preparing producers and the hospitality industry to champion local produce for NI Year of Food & Drink 2016, with the aim of enhancing the tourism experience and expanding local agri-food exports.

2. Local chefs impress food critic Charles Campion at the Food Heartland Forum meeting. Back L-R: Ryan McFarland, Neil Bradley Dean Coppard and Simon Dougan. Front L-R: Sean Farnan, Charles Campion and Ryan Ewing

2. Local chefs impress food critic Charles Campion at the Food Heartland Forum meeting. Back L-R: Ryan McFarland, Neil Bradley Dean Coppard and Simon Dougan. Front L-R: Sean Farnan, Charles Campion and Ryan Ewing

Speaking at the most recent meeting, food critic Charles Campion said: “The key to building on the NI Year of Food and Drink 2016 is to surprise people and continually exceed expectations. Attitudes to food are changing and improving, but the secret recipe for good food is to keep it simple – good food cannot be too simple.”

Praising the quality of NI produce, Campion continued: “The produce here in Northern Ireland is spectacular. You have a huge range of breads unknown outside NI, as well as good butter, and fantastic meat.”

Food Heartland Forum meetings are held quarterly and attended by local producers and interested bodies such as SRC, Tourism NI and other support bodies.

To get involved with the Food Heartland Forum or for information on how council can support the agri-food sector, please contact Sarah-Jane Macdonald, Economic Development Officer, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council on 028 38 312 572 or email sarahjane.macdonald@armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk.

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