Malt whisky and rare Irish bacon will take the place of wine and cheese at Europe’s gourmet food show, Salone de Gusto, in Turin, Italy from 23-27 October.
Invest Northern Ireland is helping six client companies take part in the prestigious event.
A unique collaboration between one of these companies O’Doherty’s Fine Meats from Enniskillen, and Diageo, the global drinks giant, has resulted in the joint launch of two innovative products – a Parma ham-styled Fermanagh Black Bacon and a 12 year old malt whisky which will be launched together at Salone.
The whisky-bacon showcase followed an approach from Diageo to O’Doherty Fine Meats, developer of the richly flavoured and distinctively natural Fermanagh Black Bacon, long a preferred choice of gourmet chefs and retailers throughout the UK and Ireland.
The approach encouraged Pat O’Doherty, Managing Director of the family-owned O’Doherty’s, to bring forward a new addition to the popular Fermanagh Black Bacon range, a wafer thin bacon from his herd of free-range pigs raised on a remote and uninhabited island on picturesque Lough Erne.
Mr O’Doherty, said: “The wafer thin bacon has been developed for salads or for wrapping around other foods including starters, a bit like Parma ham. I set out to create a rich flavour, a product totally free from additives and completely natural.
“The approach from Diageo was a tremendous endorsement of Fermanagh Black Bacon and gave me an opportunity to be part of a high profile launch at the Salone de Gusto, with Invest NI support. Malt whisky from the Scottish Highlands and Fermanagh Black Bacon from Northern Ireland are an unusual and strongly flavoured pairing, the ideal alternative to wine and cheese for special occasions.
“In the past, I’ve launched other products at the event including the successful nitrate-free bacon. My business is focused on natural and wholesome foods, the type of products showcased during Salone. The bacon is matured using natural dry curing techniques over three months,” he added.
Maynard Mawhinney, welcoming the latest success of O’Doherty’s Fine Meats, said: “This collaboration is a marvellous boost for one of our most innovative small food businesses and will help to strengthen Northern Ireland’s international profile and reputation as a source of quality, wholesome and natural food.
“Encouraging and assisting smaller food companies to invest in innovation for developing opportunities in global market niches such as slow food is one of our strategic priorities,” he added.