Sunday 23 September 2018

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Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

Irish food producers continue to show Great Taste

Thursday, 9th August, 2018 9:05am

As with most food writers, I follow the big food award organisations like Blás na hÉireann and Quality Food Awards (I have been judge on both awards) as well as the UK-based Great Taste Awards.

Although the Great Taste Awards is UK-based, Irish producers are invited to submit their products and since we all know how awesome Irish food is, are winning awards ever since.

This year was no exception with a staggering 392 awards for Irish-based producers. Yep, you read correctly. 392 awards were scooped up by producers like Longueville House, Ballyvolane House Gin, Ballyhoura Apple Farm and Elbow Lane to name just a few of the Cork’s winners.

The number of winners proves again how far Irish food has come in the last 20 years and how highly it is regarded by food experts.

Our food safety measures are higher than anywhere else I believe, giving Irish-produced food the green label that so many desire. These food awards are essential for smaller producers to attract national and international buyers, needed for growing a company beyond its local market.

I have the pleasure of knowing most of the Cork-based producers and can honestly say that the awards are well deserved; especially so for Maurice Gilbert of Ballyhoura Apple Farm. Originally working in the construction industry when the recession hit, he started making apple juice from his orchard and selling it at local markets. Never one to sit down and relax, he started making apple cider vinegar, mixed apple juice with beetroot and parsnip and I particularly love the Hot Friskey.

His award was given for the pure Irish apple juice – and if you like to know why it got an award, head out to the Mahon Point Farmer’s Market on a Thursday or visit his shop on his farm in Kilfinane. Yes, I know Kilfinane is located in county Limerick but he used to have a farm in North Cork, so I am still counting him as a Cork producer.

Maurice is not only a producer of juices and vinegars and amazingly innovative (he just installed a vinegar vault), he is also an amazing storyteller.

I suggested him as a speaker on diversity in business when I was giving a talk on interview skills. He had his audience captured and was bombarded afterwards with questions and requests.

When such a person wins an award, I am simply over the moon as it proves that hard work, honesty and creativity can lead to success.

And the same can be said for all other winners – congratulations to all winners. A list of the Irish winners is on my website biasasta.ie.

 

Upcoming food events:

16 August Food & Wine

Tasting at Burtown House

16 – 19 Aug The Big Grill

24 August Taste of Fermoy

For more details on these and other food events, please go to bisasta.ie/calendar.

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