The deadline for producers to enter the annual Blas na hEireann, National Irish Food Awards, is fast approaching. These awards, the largest of their kind in Ireland, recognise Irish producers for the quality of their produce.
“What our judges will be looking for is produce that is made using top quality Irish ingredients, lashings of tender loving care, and of course talent,” says chairman of the awards, Artie Clifford. “It will have to have that something extra special to win over the tastebuds of our panel of judges. If you make a product that fulfils these criteria, then I would urge you to enter and get the recognition you deserve.
“It is very rewarding for us and our award winners that the competition, now in its fifth year, is recognised at home and abroad as a symbol of a top quality product, enabling businesses to take on all new markets, be they local, regional, national or international, with total confidence.”
Last year, Athenry bakery company, The Foods of Athenry, took a gold award for its Very Berry High Omega Granola Breakfast Cereal at the awards. Having had to rebuild the bakery from scratch following a devastating fire in 2011, the company has since gone from strength to strength and recently signed contracts with major distributors including Tesco, Dunnes, and Musgraves.
Other Galway companies will doubtlessly be hoping to follow in its footsteps. Due to the yearly increase of entries - there were more than 1,300 last year- the board has decided to add extra categories. More than 40 categories of produce will be judged, with products as diverse as chocolate, cheese, biscuits, and black pudding all catered for. New categories this year include beer and cider, reflecting the growth of micro-breweries in Ireland in recent times.
The deadline for entry is tomorrow, Friday, June 27. To find out more or to enter visit www.irishfoodawards.com The winners will receive their awards at a ceremony on October 6.