Robert Ditty is a second generation artisan baker who is committed to using local ingredients in his products where possible. He uses local artisan producers such as traditional smoke houses, organic dairies and local farmers to offer a broad range of speciality biscuits, pastries, breads and savoury foods. These combine natural ingredients with traditional baking techniques and time honoured recipes. In particular, Ditty’s famous oatcake range are a credit to Robert’s close relationship with producers throughout Ireland and have featured at numerous prestigious events such as the Ryder Cup and Wimbledon as well as being awarded several Taste Awards.
The aroma of freshly baked breads, bakers whites and trays of wee buns characterise the day to day activity in the bakery. The bakers start work at 3am to produce the soda farls, potato and wheaten breads that are later that morning sold in local stores.
This village is in the townland of Shanemullagh and boasts the largest single span stone bridge in Ireland. Castledawson was named after its castle (a large manor house) built by Joshua Dawson, the former Chief Secretary for Ireland, in 1713. Famous residents included Lord Moyola, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland from 1969-1971.
Northern Ireland has a population of 1.685 million and is made up of 6 counties and 26 districts covering 5,500 square miles. In 1980 there were 1000 small home bakeries in Northern Ireland with 500 being in Belfast alone. Today there are less than 400 craft bakeries left with the majority operating in towns and villages of the region.