VIEW FROM THE FOYLE: London, Paris, New York, and now Derry? The rise of a city of food lovers

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My family’s indelible mark on the city is well known.

Anyone who has resided in Derry for any period of time will be fully aware of the cream horn, which has been a staple in the Northwest for generations.

As a son of one of the Doherty’s Bakery owners, food has always been in my blood – and now, the astronomical popularity of Derry Girls has made this tasty treat a star attraction for food lovers visiting the city.

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There is something special about Derry food that locals have a love for. The debates about what to order or where to go can take hours to resolve. Onion rings or tobacco onions? Going out or ordering in? Three courses or four?

Fergal DohertyFergal Doherty
Fergal Doherty

These are just some of the questions that are asked on a weekly basis in this food-crazed place. Food and Derry really do go hand in hand, and as we continue to grow and evolve, more people are realising what a brilliant location we have on our doorsteps.

Various farmlands and fisheries are just minutes down the road, so it would be a missed opportunity if we didn’t maximise our potential.

I lived abroad for over a decade in places such as Australia and the United States, and these experiences coupled with travel throughout Europe and Asia further developed my love of food.

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The mix of cultures allowed me to learn so much about the limitless possibilities of food. It drove me to eventually become a founder of Wild Atlantic Travel Co. when I arrived home, which offers fascinating food tours giving people the opportunity to taste the food history and heritage of the city.

The ’Taste the History of Derry Walking Tour’ features stories from famous sons and daughters of Derry, where food memories of the town they love so well are shared.

In addition, our ‘Seed to Spoon Tasting Tour’ concentrates on the journeys and backstories of local chefs and food producers, giving people a deeper understanding of the local influence on our food.

I’m always on the hunt for the next adventure and I’m certainly not against stepping outside my comfort zone. That’s why we’ve introduced the ‘Derry Girls Food Tour’ where we’re offering people the chance to make their very own cream horn, and we also remind people of Fionnula’s Fish and Chips, Dennis’ Sweet Shop and other iconic and humorous staples from the series. A delicious cocktail will also be thrown in as part of the exciting experience.

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In addition, we are presenting old-school food and drink featured in the series with internationally infused flavours and further stories of the producers, cafés and restaurants that inspired Lisa McGee’s global hit.

Food has a major part to play in some of the world’s biggest cities. You can’t mention the likes of London, Paris or New York without thinking about their unbelievable food scenes, and we want to develop that same experience here in Derry.

With Taste the North West, we want visitors to experience a warm welcome coupled with the authentic tastes of the Walled City. The plan is to create memories, showcase the depth of the food and also embrace the craic – we all know how great the Derry people are.

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We’re essentially a hidden gem, and the success of Derry Girls has put a spotlight on us that must be embraced. Now’s our time to shine. For more information visit

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