Despite there being few sunny days and more rainfall than ever, the beginning of the spring/summer season is still met with glee by us Northern Irish folk.

It signals longer days, school holidays on the horizon and the occasional brighter morning, not to mention the desire to fire up the BBQ. Our shopping baskets signal a change in season too, as we look for lighter bites, lean towards the healthy at times yet are simultaneously open to ‘treats’ – usually those of the cooling variety, be it ice-cream or thirst-quenching beer.

Here we examine the foodie trends set to take the Province by storm SS17:

  1. Natural fats are all that: Forget ‘low fat’, this season is all about natural fat. Whole milk natural yoghurt is on the up and has become widely accepted as the healthier option. Bryan Boggs, General Manager at Clandyeboye Estates Yoghurt said: “Better a clean natural product that only uses milk than a low fat option with various sugars, sweeteners, thickeners or even pork gelatine added.”
  2. Spanish-style sweet potatoes: Take inspiration from this season’s Latino influenced trends to create Cuban potatoes, blending bacon, green pepper, garlic, cumin and cheese with your potato of choice. For a handy (and healthy) BBQ snack – try this out on the new Sweet Potato chips from Wilson’s Country.
  3. Tis the season for Rhubarb: Rhubarb has risen in popularity due to the sourness associated with it. Cool down with Morelli’s Rhubarb and Custard flavour ice-cream. The perfect blend of sweet and sour.
  4. Gin’s still in: The UK’s love affair with gin continues and local brands are going from strength to strength. From Jawbox and Shortcross to the newest kid on the block, Belfast Cask Gin, this boozy botanical is a drink we’re fast becoming famous for. 
  5. A good kelping: Seaweeds and algae are 2017’s big ingredients, and no better place to find them than up the North Coast. Islander Kelp from Rathlin Island uses kelp picked on its shores to make kelp pesto – hailed as the best pesto outside of Genoa by Marco Pierre White.