Unique Festive Food Tour celebrating the Native Foyle Oyster

Festive foodies will have their appetites whetted with a unique alternative to traditional seasonal fayre thanks to a food tour celebrating the legacy and delicacy of the native Foyle Oyster which takes place in Derry on Sunday, December 11th from 7pm-9.30pm.

The event, which is being organised by Wild Strands Ltd, an innovative seaweed food adventure company based at the Creative Hub in Building Eighty81, Ebrington, will be led by your guide and seaweed chef William McElhinney, aka ‘The Seaweed Man’. It is funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council through the Tier 2 Industry Engagement Programme for Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 and celebrates Tourism NI’s theme of ‘Legacy and Learn to…’

William explained: “The Foyle Oyster is the pearl of the North West food scene, a gourmet delight, but sadly rarely experienced here because of its esteemed market value internationally. The intention is to create a multi-sensory festive celebration of locally sourced seasonal and wild produce. The tour will also explore the Foyle Oyster’s heritage as an important food resource for past generations and explain how Irish emigration influenced the food culture of America.”

The evening begins at Building 80/81, Ebrington, where guests will be greeted with festive homemade non-alcoholic seaweed punch and tasters, accompanied with music by a local harpist. There will be a talk by William and the first viewing of drone video footage created especially for the event by Little Films of wild oysters being fished in the Foyle.

The tour will then move next door to the Walled City Brewery in Ebrington Square for a talk by Master Brewer James Huey and the opportunity to sample a selection of their beers including Kicks, Derry Milk and Wit. Native oysters will be served from handcrafted wicker baskets and accompanied with William’s wild dipping sauces. While you are enjoying the taste of oysters with top quality beer there will be a demonstration of how to properly shuck a Foyle Oyster; the delicate art of releasing the oyster carefully from its shell.

Wrap up well! The tour will then proceed with a guided walk across the Peace Bridge to the Central Bar (Strand Road). There you will be served the signature dish Wild Foyle Oyster Stew which has been created especially for the event, inspired by the Christmas Eve Oyster Stew, a legacy of Irish emigration in America. The dish will be served with William’s dulse brown bread and samples of Guinness/locally brewed Dopey Dick Brewing Co. beer.

Mary Blake, Tourism Development Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the event offered an exciting new gourmet experience based around the iconic Lough Foyle Oyster originating from the largest native European oyster bed. “We are delighted to be supporting Wild Strands who are providing a unique opportunity to experience the native Foyle oyster as never before. This creative and innovative event will help enhance our region’s reputation as a world class food destination.”

Wild Strands, which took part in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s recent hugely successful Slow Food Festival, will also be showcasing local producers such as Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil, Donnybrewer Butter, Emerald Isle Seaweeds, Farren’s Non Toxic Home Clean products, Tamnagh Foods, Whiteoaks Organic Farm. There will also garments from Moville Clothing Company, handcrafted wicker baskets by Brendan Farren and the award winning cook book ‘Feast or Famine’ by local chef and author Emmett McCourt on display.

To book a place on the Wild Strands festive food tour on Sunday, December 11th, contact William by email or call 00353 (0)85 1053893/0044 (0)7445015939. Spaces are limited and booking in advance is essential.
For more information on Derry City and Strabane District Council’s events during NI Year of Food and Drink 2016, visit