Foster congratulates Northern Ireland food companies selected to supply historic state banquet

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has congratulated two local companies who were selected to supply produce served at the historic state banquet in Dublin Castle.

Held in the Queen’s honour as part of her first official visit to the Republic of Ireland, the banquet was hosted by President Mary McAleese and was attended by Prime Minister David Cameron, First Minister Peter Robinson and Republic of Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Kettyle Irish Foods, based in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh supplied dry-aged ribeye beef for the main course, while artisan bakery Ditty’s, based in Castledawson, Co. Londonderry, supplied its Traditional Irish Oatcakes for the cheeseboard.

Arlene Foster said: “The state banquet at Dublin Castle provided a unique opportunity for two Northern Ireland food companies to showcase their premium products to highly prestigious and influential guests. This was a tremendous endorsement, not just of Kettyle and Ditty’s, but of our local food sector and the high quality of the produce.

“Invest Northern Ireland is working with food and drink manufacturing companies to increase competitiveness and support export growth. The industry is already our largest manufacturing sector, making it a major employer and significant contributor to the local economy.

“I have no doubt that the presence of Northern Ireland products at the banquet will encourage even greater interest in, and opportunities, for this important industry.”

Kettyle Irish Foods, which is part of Linden Foods, is a major supplier of dry-aged beef to leading hotels, restaurants and major retailers across the UK and Ireland. It has the only purpose built dry-aging facility in Europe.

Ditty’s Home Bakery, which was established in 1963, has won multiple awards for its broad range of speciality biscuits, pastries, breads and savoury foods. The company is committed to local sourcing and combines natural ingredients with traditional baking techniques.