New food tour launched along Causeway Coastal Route
Industry Development, NI Food and Drink, Cluster Groups, Product Development
Published September 11, 2017
Launching in September 2017 Toast the Coast Tours is the newest food and drink experience to celebrate the fantastic food offering in Northern Ireland. Taking in part of the Causeway Coastal Route from Whitehead to the Glens of Antrim, the guided tour highlights what each area has to offer from local producers, farmers, chefs and venue proprietors.
Toast the Coast Tours Founder, Portia Woods originally set out in April 2016 as a business consultant and mentor working with businesses owners in Larne and on projects assigned through Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency to help small businesses get their plans off the ground.
She soon found herself involved in the tourism industry and was recommended to join one of the industry cluster groups. These groups were initially established and facilitated by Tourism NI to encourage collaboration between tourism businesses to work together to create visitor experiences which could be purchasable online in the international marketplace. Portia has engaged and worked across both the Gobbins and Glens cluster groups.
After completing WorldHost Food Ambassador Training, Portia realised just how much knowledge and insight she had into the Northern Ireland food and drink stories, aided by her background in sales and marketing roles in Dale Farm and Henderson’s Group she saw the opportunity to create a food tour in the area.
“The tourism industry is such an exciting area to be part of. There was no one in the region celebrating our food and drink offering in a planned itinerary, there are those on the Causeway Coast and in Belfast but our area has its own stories to tell.”
“Developing the business, I had already established a relationship with a local executive and luxury coach company, I approached Ann’s Pantry and Ballygally Castle to see if they would be interested in the opportunity to be involved and from there more connections were developed and venues recruited each telling their own food or drink story.”
Combining the stunning scenery along the Causeway Coastal Route, participants have the opportunity to take the ‘slow road’ and enjoy a range of handmade, hooked and harvested food.
The full day guided tour takes in the following stops, The Bank House, Whitehead, Ann’s Pantry, Larne, Ballygally Castle, Glenarm Castle Estate and Tea Rooms, The Londonderry Arms Hotel, Carnlough and Mary McBrides & The Little Black Door, Cushendun.
“It was important to get the involvement from each of the stops to tell their own stories about what they do, what events they have and what they sell to give people a reason to come back or tell their friends about what they have on offer.”
“Every stop is different, guests get to experience the environment of a family run, busy bakery to the decadence of the Ballygally Castle. Accompanied by little surprises along the way and personal stories passing through generations it makes for a full day of tasting, eating and discovering.”
The standard of each of the establishments and their range of products ensures dietary requirements are catered for.
Commenting on how she has got to where she is now Portia says, “Networking and collaborating with other businesses has been integral to the development of the business. Through my involvement in the local cluster groups I have built relationships with key contacts in the area and over the coming months is something I will be continuing to do for future development of the business.”
The current options include a full day tour, half day tour, an overnight stay and full day tour, Giant’s Causeway tour or tailored tours there is something on offer for everyone.
The first tour takes place on 12th September. For more information and booking visit Toast the Coast website http://www.toastthecoastni.com/
Posted by Tourism NI
Produced by Tourism NI