Fabulous deli in Belfast

A Taste of Belfast with Taste and Tour

2016 is the year of food and drink in Northern Ireland and there is no better way to be introduced to a taste of Belfast than with a walking tour of the city’s gastronomic hot spots.

In Belfast, the food tour experts are a company called Taste and Tour run by ex lawyer Caroline Wilson and her partner Phil Ervine who used to be a marketing consultant for a range of food and drink companies. So passionate are they about food that they have both given up their day jobs to run the tours full time. We joined their Belfast Bites Tour.

 

Taste and Tour in Belfast

A Taste of Belfast

A fabulous display of cheese

 

Our first stop on our Taste and Tour walk was an aladdin’s cave of all things gourmet.

In one bite, we were introduced to Wheaton bread, Abernethy Butter and Walter Ewings salmon.

Wheaton Bread is a local staple made from Wharton flour and buttermilk. I had already been introduced to Abernethy butter the night before at one of Belfast’s fabulous restaurants. Abernethy butter has changed me from a non butter eater to one who is slathing on more than than necessary. It is hand churned by the Abernethys every day and, as the only hand made butter in Northern Ireland, it is being well received by chefs and stores across the United Kingdom.

To top this wonderful bread and butter, we enjoyed locally smoked Walter Ewings salmon.

A Taste of Belfast

Wheaton Bread, Abernethy Butter and Walter Ewings Salmon

 

Cheese

Ireland has some interesting and fabulous cheese which, over our visit, I tried a few!
It wouldn’t be Ireland without Guinness cheese!
You couldn’t really taste the Guinness but this marbled cheese would certainly brighten up a cheeseboard.

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Guinness cheese

From this cheese heaven, Phil, our guide, also bought some fabulous cheese to have at the end of lunch.
Young Buck Cheese is an outstanding new raw milk blue cheese and one I quickly became addicted to! So creamy with that hint of blue coming through, you’ll want more!

A Taste of Belfast

 

Chocolate

There is more to chocolate than meets the eye and it was at our next stop that we learnt all about it. Our chocolatier, Deidre is recognised as one of the top forty chocolate makers world wide. Her reputation is based on having the best chocolate available for the best price.

 

A Taste of belfast

Delicious chocolate mouthfuls

 

I learnt a lot about cheese! Did you know that:
Chocolate is a fruit..
The seeds inside a cacao pod taste like mango so when they are fermented together it helps with the        sweetness…
Madagascar produces some of the world’s best chocolate even though less than 1% comes from there…
Milk chocolate was created in Northern Ireland by Hans Slane…
70% chocolate means that 70% is chocolate and that the other 30% is sugar…
White chocolate has no cocoa solids…
The taste of a good chocolate should linger in the throat well after the last bit has disappeared….
Chocolate is a health food! It is only when it is diluted with the addition of sugar that it becomes unhealthy…

And what does all this mean? It means we need to eat more chocolate

Of course the best part of a chocolate stop is tasting the chocolate and here we indulged in a rich hot chocolate and tried their delicious brownie bites!

 

A Taste of Belfast

 

 

Stout and cider

This tour was not all about food. The Irish love a drink so it was time to join them for an Irish stout and McGivers Cider but first we had to try a dish called champ!

A Taste of Belfast

Ireland is renowned for its potatoes and these are the basis of this local Northern Ireland dish. Champ really is another name for mashed potatoes with spring onions and a gallon of butter. Just watch the calories!

 

A Taste of Belfast

Stout Tasting

Stout is not something I enjoy so I left the tasting of McGrath’s Beer no 4 to my husband. His empty glass said it all!

 

A Taste of Belfast

MacIvors Cider

Cider is an ever increasing market and one where every one has their favourites. McGivers was popular with the group as it was not too sweet which was just as lucky as this was the one we were soon to be were trying! I couldn’t believe that 45 million apples are harvested a year. They even have orchard parties…any excuse for a party in Ireland.

 

Gin at the John Hewitt

Our next stop was another pub!
The John Hewitt Pub is quite an exceptional pub as profits from here go to the John Hewitt Resource Centre next door to help retrain those that have lost their jobs. It is famous for its music.
It is also famous for it’s gin…Jawbox Gin which is new to the market having only been released in April this year. It quickly became my favourite gin in Ireland.

A Taste of Belfast

My Favourite Jawbox Gin

The jawbox was the name given to the town’s small sink because it was here that the women gathered to wash clothes, dishes, husbands and to catch up on local gossip. Hence the name jawbox

Jawbox gin doesn’t have the kitchen sink in it ..it is a delicate gin, made in the English manner…a London dry gin that is 43% proof. It was served with ginger ale, a first for us but the Fever Tree ginger ale is quite subtle and suited to an early morning tipple! We also learnt that the Irish invented ginger ale!

 

 

Lunch

A Taste of Belfast

Our delicious lunch!

 

A Taste of Belfast

Another delicious lunch dish!

 

After a quick stop for a fabulous La Ciumbre de San Luis coffee, a very mild filtered coffee that, for a non coffee drinker like myself, was very good, it was time for lunch. And what a lunch it was! As we sipped on Glens of Atrim Prosecco, plate after plate of delicious food kept coming to the table….stunning crispy based pizza, a moreish seafood casserole, fabulous goat meatballs with a hazelnut and Marsala sauce, wild mushroom ravioli and a delicious duck ragu that we couldn’t get enough of!
Just incase we were still hungry after eating all day, Phil bought out the Young buck blue cheese he had bought at our first stop!

What a way to finish our fabulous food tour!

 

 

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Taste and Tour offer a wide variety of tours including a ‘Meet the Brewer’ Brewery Tour, a Belfast Bar Tour and a Belfast Whiskey Walk as well as their award winning Belfast Food Tour.
Taste and Tour website

Thank you Taste and Tour for our complimentary Bites of Belfast Tour. All opinions here are own…you all know we love food tours and this was one was fabulous. Belfast is an exciting city and the food and wine here is exceptional.

 

Other food yours you may enjoy:
Eating in London’s East End
A Culinary Backstreets Food Tour in Athens
A Taste of the Bosphorous

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14 Responses to A Taste of Belfast with Taste and Tour

  1. Rachel Heller January 9, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

    Belfast is a place that was never really on my radar until recently. It sounds like the way to see it is through walking tours: the one you mention here, and the ones that address the street art and the Troubles.

    • Jenny Freedman January 12, 2017 at 11:40 pm #

      Belfast is a great city Rachel. We were surprised by the food and loved this tour as well as the black taxi tour of the murals that we took.

  2. Irene S. Levine January 9, 2017 at 11:55 pm #

    How great to have a guide to all the local foods! The takeaway lesson for me: Chocolate is a fruit!

    • Jenny Freedman January 12, 2017 at 11:42 pm #

      Yes, we can now eat all the chocolate we want to but it has to be good chocolate Irene! Food tours are a great way to learn all about a city’s best food stops and this tour was fabulous in that regard.

  3. Rebecca January 10, 2017 at 2:11 am #

    As soon as I saw the cheese, chocolate and mashed potato, I was sold!
    I love cheese to bits…this tour sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jenny Freedman January 12, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

      You’d love Belfast then Rebecca! So many fabulous foods and let’s not forget the gin and cider as well!

  4. Anita January 10, 2017 at 4:42 am #

    This tour sounds wonderful, wonderful! The cheeses and chocolate look especially inviting to me right now. Yum!

    • Jenny Freedman January 12, 2017 at 11:46 pm #

      The tour was fabulous Anita. Belfast has some amazing food stops and they’re doing a lot to promote their local produce. The restaurants were brilliant as well…a great city!

  5. Janice Chung January 10, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    When I eventually visit Ireland, I’ll certainly tie in Belfast. So glad there’s more than beer. Great variety on the tour and I’d be incredibly full afterwards! The tour sounds wonderful.

    • Jenny Freedman January 12, 2017 at 11:48 pm #

      Belfast was one of the highlights of our trip to Ireland Janice so I wouldn’t miss it. The food was delicious and I loved that they were doing a lot to promote the local produce.

  6. Carole Terwilliger Meyers January 11, 2017 at 9:01 am #

    Irish butter and smoked salmon and Guinness cheese! This is the perfect food tour. Made me hungry. Think I’ll break for dinner.

    • Jenny Freedman January 12, 2017 at 11:50 pm #

      I’m still dreaming about that irish butter Carole. In fact I’d go back to Belfast tomorrow and do the tour again if I could. It was exceptional!

  7. Sue Reddel January 14, 2017 at 4:56 am #

    We have yet to visit Belfast but our trip to Dublin had us surprised by all the terrific Irish food. Your tour with Taste and Tour sure sounded like it was full of tasty bites. Glad you discovered Irish butter there is simply none better!

    • Jenny Freedman January 18, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

      You’d love Belfast Sue. It’s a great city and they do love their food! The food tour was a great introduction to it all

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