New foodie tour planned for Northern Ireland

Tracey Jeffery, director of NI Food Tours
Tracey Jeffery, director of NI Food Tours

Teacher, trainer and patissier Tracey Jeffrey is opening up a new foodie tour in County Down, Northern Ireland.

Passionate about local produce and the landscapes of County Down, Tracey previously studied languages including French which she then put to good use working in a patisserie. After bringing that expertise back home she became a producer of macarons and fine patisserie and whilst building that business around her home in Killinchy unearthed her latest idea.

“When I took my produce to market I was visiting local farmers’ markets and events and came to realise very quickly that we have amazing producers,” she says. “In this part of north County Down we also have the highest concentration of award-winning restaurants and I just thought ‘wouldn’t it be amazing for people to be taken on a journey around all of these fantastic things’? To be able to hear their story and connect with them on that level, to eat in our fabulous restaurants and sample our local produce? It’s about trying to offer people a very different but authentic experience.”

Crucial to her idea is the beauty of the surrounding landscape, through the famous drumlins of the county to the nearby sea and lough shores.

“I am combining the stunning scenery of the 115 miles of coastline of Strangford Lough and I’m covering some of St Patrick’s Trail in what will be comfortable coach tours. We won’t be out walking but will be driven from place to place in among the drumlins which provide some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.”

Tracey initially plans to offer three tours, one down either side of the lough and a Chocolate Ecstasy tour, the first of which will take place in March. That ‘light-hearted’ tour of Down’s ‘amazing chocolatiers’, will be layered with visits to restaurants with signature chocolate dishes as well as sessions in chocolate workshops. The fishing tradition of the area also provides a natural focus with visits to Kilkeel and Annalong part of the ‘lough’ itineraries.

“We’ll look at the smoking and curing traditions which will be explained by fisherman and local experts down around the harbours in our local fishing villages. They’ll not only be showing us skills such as shucking oysters but will be giving us their stories and letting us really connect with the communities of that area.”

Contact Tracey at or by email at

Bruce McMichael

Food writing, discovering food stories, meeting producers, chefs and food enthusiasts are all part of desire to inspire, inform my readers and fellow food lovers. I am a freelance writer, journalist and published author focusing on the international world of food and drink, culture and travel. In 2019 I graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy with a Masters in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. I am now a visiting Professor at the university teaching Food & Drink Writing. Based in London I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur. In 2017 I won an episode of the ITV (the UK-based national television channel) cooking competition show, 'Gordon Ramsay's Culinary Genius'. I took my children on holiday to Sicily with the prize money. As an experienced farmers' market manager and operator of a small marmalade/ preserves company, I am very familiar with the issues surrounding local food, farming, enterprise and the environment.