A new experience has just launched in Enniskillen and this is one you really don’t want to miss. It’s the Enniskillen Taste Experience. I was invited along to try this for myself and here’s a brief outline of my day. You will be hungry reading this.
The start of the experience is Enniskillen Castle, on the banks of the River Erne. Our tour guide Mark was there to meet our group and first impressions were how friendly and welcoming he was. I’ve been to the castle on numerous occasions and it’s a beautiful building so well worth a visit. The castle is home to bog butter – this giant ball of butter was discovered on a Fermanagh bog some years ago. It’s thought to be around 1000 years old – I’m quite glad we didn’t get to taste it!
Mark explained that we would be walking around the island town of Enniskillen. Although I’ve visited the town many times I didn’t actually realise it was an island – you learn something new every day.
We met the lovely ladies in the Castle Cafe where we had tea or coffee and we braved the elements to eat our way around Enniskillen. Mark took us along the river where we got a lovely view of the castle and told us about the medieval feasts that would have been held there.
We made our way up to the town where we ended up in a small lane beside Granny Annie’s (formally Wetherspoons). This is home to Joe the Baker – I never knew this place was here! Joe is famous for his sourdough bread and all kinds of other goodies. As well as supplying local restaurants, on Thursdays and Saturdays he has a bread table where he sells directly to the public – he sells out quickly I’m told. Joe was born and bread (pun intended) on this lane. After some years in Miami he moved back. He really is a story in himself to be honest.
Joe told us all about his products, his plans for the future and as he served us an Enniskillen bacon sandwich (his sourdough bread with Fermanagh black bacon) he told us about the bacon. The bacon comes from O’Doherty’s butchers, they rear their own rare breed pigs and these pigs live freely on an island on Upper Lough Erne. I’m wondering how they get there…but I remember my time in a boat moving sheep to an island so I’d better stick to land! We were also given Beechvale natural water – again from Enniskillen. They really have the food and drink thing sorted.
We said farewell to Joe and made our way up the town to The Happiness Trap. I’m no stranger to this place, it’s a gorgeous cafe serving delicious vegan and vegetarian food. We heard the ethos behind the business and we were served the most delicious array of food. I was completely blown away by the selection, the choice and the taste. I could have quite happily stayed here for the day! I loved everything but I have to mention the brownies especially – oh my goodness! They also serve afternoon tea so guess where I’ll be going soon?
It was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to the Happiness Trap but I’ll be back! Mark told us it was Gin O’Clock so we all piled into The Firehouse. This is a really cool, quirky place. With an open kitchen, funky lighting and fab food. We were told all about The Boatyard Distillery which is a farm-to-bottle distillery in Enniskillen. Most of our group had the Boatyard gin – I was driving so just had to smell it but everyone agreed it was delicious. We were given garlic flatbread which is made from sourdough and cooked in the pizza oven. We also had pork belly on apple sauce. We had a look at the Big Bertha oven and had a chat with Gavin who told us more about the food. Another place I’ll be back to visit.
We had a short hop across the road to visit the Tickety Moo ice cream parlour. This beautiful ice cream is made using the milk from Jersey cows on a farm in Irvinestown, Enniskillen. I believe you can actually visit the farm (sounds like a plan).
After our ice cream we took a little walk around the town where Mark pointed out some other great places to eat. It’s amazing the amount of choice there is in Enniskillen. Again there are a few more added to my list to try.
We visited the beautiful Buttermarket where mother and daughter team Sharon and Brigid run Rebecca’s Café. This spot was introduced to me by my friend Ann (who came on the tour with me), the cakes here are just something else. Sharon came out to say hello to us and we were given one of their award-winning scones. Mark explained more about the buttermarket to us which was really interesting.
Up the hill and across the road to Blakes of the Hollow. This is a Victorian pub and you have to call in here. Snugs galore and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Mark, our guide, also happens to be the manager of Blakes. So he told us about the history of the place and the connection with Game of Thrones. Blakes is home to one of the Game of Thrones doors, there are 10 of them in total in Northern Ireland.
The drinkers were given Inish Mac Saint beer – again brewed in Fermanagh. I had a Heineken Zero alcohol free beer which was really nice, to be honest it didn’t taste any different to normal Heineken. We were also given the most delicious sausages, made next door in Stewart’s Butchers, the Spanish ones were really interesting.
Stewart’s Butchers was our next stop. Not just a butchers, more of a food experience. They really do everything there and you’d never be short of dinner ideas. There’s a story about butchers in Enniskillen but you’ll have to go the tour to find our.
After Stewart’s we took a look in the window at The Jolly Sandwich. This is cake heaven and is always so busy – it’s easy to see why. We were given beautifully wrapped up tray bakes to take home.
Our final stop was one of the newest restaurants in Enniskillen. 28 Darling Street, a wow factor from the moment you walk in. Marble tables, chic wallpaper and huge chandeliers.
The man behind this beautiful restaurant is Glen Wheeler, who also happens to be the first chef from Fermanagh to compete on the Great British Menu. Glen isn’t afraid to try different flavours in his food, 28 Darling Street is a real experience and certainly something I would never have expected to see on a food tour. But then this isn’t just a food tour this is a Taste Experience.
From start to finish the Enniskillen Taste Tour was a feast for the senses. With Mark as a guide you are in excellent hands. He will introduce you to not only the food but the stories and the people behind it. You will get a real feel for the beautiful, historic, island town of Enniskillen. The Enniskillen Taste Experience takes place on Saturdays from 11am and finishes roughly at around 2pm. You can find out more about it here. The rest of my photos are here.
I was invited by Anne from Enniskillen BID to take part on the Enniskillen Taste Experience and I would really recommend this to anyone. Even if you are from the town you won’t regret this experience. Probably best to have someone to drive you home though – or make a weekend of it.
A great review Val.
Great reviews well done Mark, it’s great to know parts of Enniskillen and the history, and the final stop was our sons Glen Wheelers Restaurant 28 Darling Street. Great reviews. Well Done Mark Edwards
Glen is doing a fine job, as is Mark.
I agree with your final thought Val. This isn’t just a tour for visitors to Enniskillen. Even if you live here you will discover something new and appreciate just how lucky we are to have such amazing taste experiences on our doorstep.
Thanks Julian and Joanne, yes indeed it’s so worth going on. A great way to see the fantastic variety of food in Enniskillen