Search Is On For Tipp’s Best Food Producers

As the deadline approaches for entry to the annual Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards on 30 July 2011, the search is on for the very best producers in Tipperary. Follow in the footsteps of 2010 Award winners such as James Whelan butchers, Oak Park Foods, McEvoy Foods, AIBP Nenagh, Glenpatrick, Hickey’s Bakery and The Tipperary Kitchen and be recognised and rewarded for your outstanding produce.

As the deadline approaches for entry to the annual Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards on 30 July 2011, the search is on for the very best producers in Tipperary. Follow in the footsteps of 2010 Award winners such as James Whelan butchers, Oak Park Foods, McEvoy Foods, AIBP Nenagh, Glenpatrick, Hickey’s Bakery and The Tipperary Kitchen and be recognised and rewarded for your outstanding produce.

Quality Irish food production is one of the most promising growth sectors in our economy and the annual Blas na hEireann, Irish Food Awards provide and exciting showcase for the very best of it. These Awards are a barometer of how vibrant this food sector is, and offer a true taste of its huge potential. The benefits of succeeding at the Awards are clear and success has helped many companies raise their game.

Last year over 1,000 Irish products were entered into 30 different categories, ranging from soup to seafood and chocolate to cheese, with winners taking Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in each category. In addition there are special Awards, with Flynn’s Kitchen taking Supreme Champion for their Baby Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni, and The Blue Haven Food Company taking the AIB Award for Business Diversification, and The Cake Stand, Dublin taking the Bord Bia Best Artisan Producer. There also was up to €20,000 worth of bursaries awarded for training, innovation, research and development and mentoring.

To win an Award, products are tasted by a panel of over 60 judges in the biggest blind tasting of its kind in Europe. The criteria used for the judging process was created by the sensory analysis department of UCC, headed up by Professor Joe Kerry. This process used is unique to the Blas Awards and is designed to be comprehensive and totally impartial. As well as academics, the panel of judges includes food writers, chefs, retailers, buyers and food heroes

Says Peter Ward, patron and annual presenter of the Awards “these Awards recognise all that is important to Irish shoppers at the moment – supporting local Irish producers in their own communities. Tipperary producers always do extremely well at the Blas Awards, and we hope to see a good turn out again this year”

Entries are now being sought from Irish producers - North and South - for the 2010 Awards. Click on www.irishfoodawards.com for information and a downloadable entry form. The Winners will be announced as part of the Dingle Peninsula Food & Wine Festival from 30 September – 2 October 2011.