I am not going to lie, I think the last time I took a bus I was 17 and had no choice but to do so for School! Public transport and I would not be friends; walking to the bus stop, waiting in the rain and the sheer frustration when the bus is late, leaves a bad taste in my month.
Now I have been assured by my many of my public transport taking friends that both the bus service and train service across Northern Ireland has improved significantly in the last 15 years, and it is time I gave in and give it ago!
When I was invited to partake in a trial Translink food & drink tour last week, I thought this is the ideal opportunity to cease my 15year public transport break.
Translink Travel Centre is conveniently located in the Europa Bus centre, Glengall Street, Belfast and offers an array of tours, from day trips to Kildare Shopping Village. For just £21per person, to fantastic get ways from as little as £69pps.
A pleasant, clear and crisp Thursday morning, myself and some of my blogging and media pals joined the excited Ulsterbus team at the bus centre to wait on our bus, I was of course running a little late, and a bit flappy on arrival, but pulled it together with the help of a coffee from the Lovely Jacqueline Baker of Jackie’s blog.
All aboard! #tastytraveltours
The bus was clean, warm and spacious, a lovely relaxing way to travel to our first stop Indie Fude in Comber.
This was my first visit to the delightful Co Down independent food company. The beautiful foodhall stocks the best of everything Irish and independent, it really is that simple!
Greeted by the knowledgeable Johnny and Laura, we were treated to a selection of local cheeses and complementing savoury treats and accompaniments, while Johnny told us all about the products, their origin and local producers.
The selection was delicious and after the tasting, I got chatting to Johnny, and could have stayed all day! This is a beautiful little spot for cheese and food lovers and they have even opened a new cheese room!
On the road again… this time we were to visit the spectacular home of Shortcross, Rademon Estate, for an exclusive look at the new visitors center and distillery, but before the tour Erin & Jo from The Edible Flower Co, cooked up a Greek themed healthy lunch, to line our tummies in preparation for the gin tasting.
Having lived in Greece in my late teens; I say lived, I spent my summers working there and if memory serves me right, there was probably more alcohol consumed than food, but I was lucky to work for a local Greek restaurant in the old town for several weeks before high season kicked in. This beautiful Mediterranean cuisine, makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables, and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and various meats.
Erin & Jo nailed it! From the mouth-watering bread, accompanying salad, to the main course; our mouths were treated to authentic Greek cuisine, with the right kick of spice to warm us up on a very cold afternoon.
Our lunch was finished off with the most delightful Tunisian Orange Cake, Cardamom Cream & Toasted Hazelnuts – so moist and delicious!
Finally, the tour! We wont give to much away, as you can now visit for yourself. But even if you don’t drink gin if was a fantastic experience and the only way I can describe the distillery is like Charlie and the chocolate factor; for big kids!
The afternoon finished with a master class on the perfect serve. Cheers Shortcross!
This was a trial tour and if our experience was anything to go on, we hope it’s a runner! A fabulous, fun and informative way to spend a day.
Finally, a big shout out to the lovely Lynne from eating ideas who gloriously fell into the role of tour guide and kept us all informed with her vast food and drink knowledge, not to mention her charm!