Maurice Gilbert of Ballyhoura Apple Farm who won Gold at this year’s Blas na hÉireann awards with Deputy Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Tom Ruddle | PICTURES: Brian Arthur
THREE Limerick food producers are celebrating success in this year's Blas na hÉireann Awards.
With the annual pilgrimage to Dingle stalled because of the pandemic, this year’s winners tuned in from every corner of the country for a virtual celebration of the very best in Irish food.
The team at Blas na hÉireann has been working tirelessly since March to ensure that Blas 2021 went ahead, sustaining their commitment to celebrating the very best in Irish food and drink.
Chairperson Artie Clifford feels that now, more than ever, it is essential to shine a light and give that all important boost to the talented producers dotted around the island.
"Despite the very challenging situation, I am delighted to report a record entry level from producers right across the island. This large increase in entries has raised the bar across all categories, allowing us to introduce new products and producers to the buyers and press with whom we work, which is really exciting. Congratulations to all the winners and to every producer who participated. It is always such a rewarding experience to see the wealth of exceptional foods being produced on the island of Ireland, and this has been the best year yet,” he said.
Mike Cantwell, Head of Limerick Enterprise Office has praised the high quality of the Limerick food producers which were recognised in this year’s Blas na hEireann awards.
"These 2021 winners reflect the range and quality of food produced in Limerick and showcase the very best of what is available. During Covid we have seen how people have supported local producers by buying local and the Blas na hEireann badge helps support consumer choices and recognition of local brands, ” he said.
Ballyhoura Apple Farm won a Gold award and was named Best in County while West Limerick companies Cotter Organic Lamb and Kearney's Home Baking each won silver.
Now in their 14th year, the Blas na hÉireann awards are the all-island food awards that recognise the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people behind them.
The biggest blind tasting of produce in the country, the criteria on which the product is judged as well as the judging system itself, which was developed by Blas na hÉireann with the Food Science Department of UCC and the University of Copenhagen, is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide.
Products from every county in Ireland were entered into this year’s competition to win Gold, Silver or Bronze Blas na hÉireann awards in over 150 food and drink categories, as well as key awards like Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Producer.
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