Monday 20 January 2020

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Cork Independent

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Supermarkets and small producers taking the plaudits

Wednesday, 7th August, 2019 4:39pm

The Great Taste Awards were handed out last week in the UK and the list of Irish winners this year is 432 products long.

As with many other food awards these days, supermarket chains have submitted their own brands and have reaped awards by partnering with some of the best artisan producers. The fact that supermarkets are now proud to submit products and winning quite a lot of them says a lot about the quality of their products.

Dunnes Stores’ Simply Better Range, Lidl and Aldi are the three major chains submitting products with some of them being from smaller producers like Cooleeny and Cashel Blue who won under its own name as well for Cashel Blue and Crozier.

From Cork we have Longueville House Mor Cider (3 stars) and Original Cider (1 star), My Goodness Kefir (2 stars), Kinsale Mead Co. (2 stars), Cork Chilli Company (1 star), Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese (1 star), Skeaghanore Duck (1 star), North Cork Creamery Butter (2 stars), Milleens Dote (2 stars), Killahora Orchard Apple Port (2 stars) and Icewine (1 star). Apart from the Dote cheese from Milleens and the duck, I have tried all products and loved all of them, so seeing them winning was an added bonus.

From further afield, Keogh’s Sea Salt & Honey popcorn grabbed a star (it’s tasty popcorn indeed), Goatsbridge Smoked and Unsmoked Rainbow Trout as well as their caviar (again, very very tasty) got a star for each of their products and Wildwood Vinegar always picks up a top award of three stars.

But going back to supermarket awards – a few years ago, we wouldn’t have thought that a supermarket product could win at any food awards and here they are, dominating the awards. It makes sense for smaller producers who sell into supermarkets to have the supermarket submitting their product – it can be a difficult and sometimes costly procedure – raising awareness and success of their products.

And that reminds me that the Blás na hÉireann are coming up soon as well – the shortlist is being finalized in August with the final judging taking place in Dingle over the October weekend and the winners being announced on the same weekend.

Dingle will be celebrating the best of Irish food with the awards and the whole town is a hub of foodie activities. Food writers, bloggers, producers and chefs from all over the country will be descending to Dingle in one of the most anticipated events on the food lover’s calendar.

This is where in the past I met people like Robert Jacob from The Gourmet Traveller Journal, Melanie Harty of Harty Chutneys, Fionntan Gogarty of Wildwood Vinegars, Victoria Foley, chef from Tralee and Avril Allshire of Rosscarbery Black Pudding who has become a close friend over the years.

So, you know where you will find me in October!

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