Saturday 08 August 2020

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Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

Food heroes come in all shapes

Thursday, 23rd April, 2020 12:20pm

Each year, the team at Blas na hÉireann (Irish Food Awards) asks Irish food producers who they would nominate as Irish Food Hero.

The inaugural winner of this accolade was Neven Maguire a few years ago. I was a judge that year and saw how moved Neven was. This year, Darina Allen, Rachel Allen and Rory O’Connell have been named Food Heroes – congratulation to the team behind Ballymaloe and I hope I will have the opportunity to interview Rory and Darina about this award.

Now, you may ask what is a food hero – it can mean different things to different people? For me, food heroes are not only people who produce delicious food but include people who support these small producers.

Here in Cork we have Bradleys’ (and yes, I do mention them a lot), NeighbourFood and similar. At times like these, it is people like Michael (Bradley’s) and Jack (NeighbourFood) who think outside the box to help not only their customers, but also the struggling small producers who have lost a huge part of their income due to the current situation.

At the moment, everyone working in food supply (supermarkets etc.) can be considered a hero – let’s just celebrate these people as well.

And to add to the good news gallery: supermarkets have seen an increase in sales of Irish farmhouse cheeses of over 20 per cent. I like to thank each one of you who has added to that number.

We have amazing cheese producers here in Cork, from Coolea to Bo Rua, Gubbeen, Durrus, Milleens, Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese to name just a few. Trust me, they are all utterly delicious and deserve your support. Pop over to the CAIS Facebook page where you can find recipes using these delicious cheeses.

As many who have met me will know, I am quite fond of spiced rum – so I was delighted to learn that Blacks Brewery & Distillery in Kinsale have won gold for their spiced rum at the recent World Rum Awards in the Best Column Still Rum Under 5 Years category.

And can you believe it, I wasn’t even aware that Black’s was producing a spiced rum – I need to get my hands on a bottle soon. Saying that, I love their gin and their beer isn’t half bad either.

And staying with drink (and no, I don’t have a problem) – I am currently emptying my pantry and found a bottle of banana liquor (don’t ask me why I had it).

Scrambling through shelves, I found a can of coconut milk and the fridge contained pineapple juice. Mixing it all together resulted in a rather delicious cocktail. With the sun out again, this cocktail is perfect for a mini holiday in ‘La Backyarda’.

And talking about the good old pantry – after finishing the Pizza Project, I turned my cooking spoon to Operation Pasta. Pop over to my Facebook page (Bia Sásta) for some simple yet tasty ideas. Keep smiling my darlings and stay safe!

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