The Loaves and Fishes: A celebration of Seafood Week 2017 in Northern Ireland

27 September 2017

Foodies, families and friends alike can prepare to have their taste buds tantalised when the Loaves and Fishes Food Fair returns to Ballywalter Park on Sunday 8 October (2017). 

The Loaves and Fishes is organised by Ards and North Down Borough Council in partnership with Seafish and with support from Food NI. The event is a Northern Irish celebration of Seafood Week - an annual campaign aimed at promoting the consumption of seafood.

The Loaves and Fishes will see Ballywalter Park, the private estate of Lord and Lady Dunleath, which is not normally open to the public, play host to over 20 local artisan food and drink producers. 

Top chefs Martijn Kajuiter of the Cliff House in Ardmore and Stevie Toman of 'OX' in Belfast (both Michelin star chefs) as well as Danny Millar, well-known local chef and star of the Great British Menu, will be amongst those making local seafood the star of the show at the Loaves and Fishes.  

Worshipful Master fishmonger, Hal Dawson will also provide classes in how to perfectly fillet a fish while Dearbhla Reynolds, one of Ireland's foremost fermentistas, healthy gut activist and author of The Cultured Club, will demonstrate how we can all get fermenting at home. Lady Dunleath will teach visitors about local bread history and how to make sourdough bread made using a home-grown wheat crop.

On Monday 9th October students and staff from all of Northern Ireland's catering colleges will travel to Ballywalter Park for a series of private masterclasses with the chefs and food experts attending the Loaves and Fishes. Fish filleting, fermentation, smoking, curing and cookery are all on the menu. Students will also compete in a "Ready Steady Cook" competition to design a creative and innovative recipe using local, seasonal mackerel. The winning dish will be cooked on the day with the support of the Michelin Star chefs at the event. 

Speaking about the upcoming event, Chief Executive of Ards and North Down Borough Council, Stephen Reid, commented: 

"After the resounding success of last year's event, the Council is proud to bring it back for a second year. The Loaves and Fishes celebrates the fantastic range of foods and drinks produced in Ards and North Down - many of which have won prestigious awards - and supports these valuable local businesses."

Dr Lynn Gilmore, Seafish Northern Ireland Manager, said:

"We are delighted to work with Ards and North Down Borough Council and FoodNI to celebrate local food and in particular seafood at the Loaves and Fishes. The Loaves and Fishes is one of a number of exciting things taking place across the UK during Seafood Week and we'd encourage everyone to get involved. The aim Seafood Week is to get more people, to eat more seafood, more often and is being promoted by Fish is the Dish, our Seafish consumer campaign."