Food: Rediscover the humble apple in Orchard County

Chef Dean Coppard
Chef Dean Coppard

Next Bank Holiday weekend (April 30-May 2), the whole county of Armagh will come alive in a celebration of the apple in all its many, and delicious, forms.

Celebrating its Orchard County status, Armagh will mark the start of this year’s growing season against the breath-taking pink backdrop of 4,000 flower-filled acres of land.

Dean Coppard, head chef at highly acclaimed and multi-award winning restaurant Uluru in the middle of the city, has long championed the use of Armagh’s most famous product on his menus.

“With Uluru, we wanted to bring a taste of Australian cuisine to Northern Ireland’s food heartland and we have been finding innovative and inventive ways of utilising the fantastic local produce in our dishes.

“Of course, few Armagh ingredients are more iconic than the apple. The Armagh Bramley apple has become a worldwide phenomenon since it secured the esteemed Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2012.”

For the last number of years, hundreds of locals and visitors alike have travelled to Armagh for the annual Apple Blossom Fair in Loughgall Country Park but this year the first three-day festival will take place across the county with a generous helping of fun and entertainment for the whole family.

“We are thrilled to be involved in this year’s first Apple Blossom Festival, alongside so many of Armagh’s other fine restaurants and eateries.” Said Dean. “What is great about this new festival is that it allows visitors to go back to the roots of where the apples they eat and drink come from.

“Three local apple industry experts have joined forces to provide an insight into the daily routine of how their farms and production lines operate. Morgan’s Apple Farm, the Apple Blossom Bakery and the Armagh Cider Company are putting on special tours, tastings, masterclasses and meals that provide that added depth of flavour to what is a fantastic day out for foodies and families.”

The three days of activity will centre around Loughgall Country Park and Ardress House, a National Trust property that is nestled amongst the world famous orchards of Armagh.

For further information on ticket prices and information for all events, please contact Armagh Visitor Information Centre on 028 3752 1800 or visit www.armagh.co.uk/appleblossom.