Food Service Agency - Northern Ireland in three days and 300,000 caloriesA pint of Guinness, a side of tobacco onions and non-existent portion control. That was my lunch for three days running. Well, maybe not the tobacco onions every day, but the stout and hefty portions, well they’re in fact understatements!

I arrived on the Tuesday just in time for lunch. The bite of the cool summer air (10 degrees lower than England’s I might add!) instilled in me quite the appetite, so on to The Wildfowler Inn, in County Down, I went.

An early morning flight on an ‘Eat’ bacon roll and orange juice was just not enough to sate my hunger. As I sat eagerly awaiting my pub lunch I treated myself to my first ever pint of Guinness. They say you can’t beat Ireland and its Guinness – how right they are. The velvety black mass with its creamy white top is a wonder to behold.

The wow moments continued for me at The Wildfowler Inn, as soon after arriving, in front of me was a meal fit for a King. Two handfuls of fries, two handfuls of tobacco onions, and a ten ounce beef burger smothered in cheddar. You’ll see from the picture, it needed a trough! Soaked in beer, the beef burger paired with the crunchy tobacco onions and relish proved a delight. Someone should have warned me though, a pint of the black stuff is a meal in itself and it’s safe to say my eyes were bigger than my belly in this instance. Still, what I managed was wondrous.

Heading off in a food-induced coma I retreated to my cottage nestled in the green fields, mentally preparing for my next meal.

Wednesday came and I was fortunate to be given a longer break before a food coma enveloped me once more. It was the day of my cousin’s wedding and a hog roast awaited us in the evening. Served in a bun with a hefty spoonful of apple sauce the bun and its filling covered half my plate. But that wasn’t enough for these hearty Northern Irish caterers. Then came the potatoes (yes, I did pronounce this with a high pitched voice), sweet chilli noodles (questionable choice), salad and pasta. Not one to stand on ceremony, I scooped the lot on to my plate. Then very proudly devoured the lot. And I’d learned my lesson by day two and had my Guinness well in advance of the meal!

The dessert spoiled us even more: a trio of gooey chocolate sponge, strawberry cheesecake and honeycomb ice cream and miniature cone. My mouth’s watering all over again.

In true party style we washed these down with a strawberry daiquiri and saved the Guinness for later.

Sore heads and swollen bellies greeted us in the morning. A stroll around Belfast city centre in the fresh breeze was on the cards. But we all know what some exercise and fresh air can do…hunger pangs.

So, in the early hours of the afternoon we stopped off at The Fountain Bar and Restaurant. True to its roots, the building was plastered with Guinness wraps, signs, wind breakers and awning.

Scanning the menu I couldn’t help but notice our lovely client, Moy Park Foodservice’s ‘Chicken Teddies™’, succulent chicken breast perfectly shaped to look like a teddy bear. Naturally my three year old cousin opted straight for that.

I on the other hand opted for a lighter snack and went for the Chicken and Bacon Caesar Wrap – forgetting the lack of portion control I was in shock when I received what can only be described as two bricks of Chicken Caesar goodness. The tobacco fries made a welcome appearance on the plate as well. But alas, the hearty meal was too hearty for this English girl, and a lot was left on the plate! (Apologies to the chef!)

Heading to the airport later that day with a very heavy belly, although everything told me not to, I had to round off the mini-break with a final half pint of Guinness.

I can still feel the bubbles and taste the creamy smoothness now.

Northern Ireland, I’ll be back! (I just need a little rest-bite to recover from my culinary tour)

If you  fancy a taste of Ireland you can find out more here.

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