Alice McIlhagger was always destined for a career as a foodie — with a grandfather who was responsible for introducing yoghurt to Northern Ireland and came up with the recipe for Ambrosia Creamed Rice.
Alice started selling at school and church craft fairs, selling jam and home-made bread and meringues. She started with strawberry jam because she lives next to a strawberry farm and she made damson jam and chutney using produce from her own garden. It’s not a particularly big garden, but it’s full of fruit and vegetables, including damsons, apples, pears and plums.
Meanwhile, Alice also forages for damsons and blackberries in the wild hedgerows near Lough Neagh.
Alice has won three Great Taste Awards for her dessert sauces — sea-salted caramel, melted chocolate sauce and coffee caramel sauce. Her raspberry and plum jam was also a finalist in the Irish Food Awards in 2016.
Even other artisan producers recognise the quality — the sea-salted caramel sauce is used to flavour artisan ice creams made by Draynes Farm in Lisburn and Glastry Farm in Kircubbin.