Nine producers from Waterford were among the winners at Blas na hÉireann, the Irish food awards, in Dingle recently. Now in their 12th year, the Blas na hÉireann awards are the all-island food awards that recognise the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people behind them.
The bronze, silver and gold winners from Waterford across a range of different categories are Blackwater Distillery, Carters Chocolate Café, Irish Gourmet Butter, Legacy Irish Cider, Pip & Pear, Pure Food Company, Tastefully Yours Ltd. trading as Kiely’s Dunhill, Tea & Coffee Warehouse and Veronica’s Cafè. With Irish Gourmet Butter winning Best in Waterford and Pure Food Company winning Best in Farmer’s Market for Waterford.
The biggest blind tasting of produce in the country, the criteria on which the product is judged as well as the judging system itself, which was developed by Blas na hÉireann with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen, is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide. Products entered are blind-tasted, meaning that all packaging and identifying features are removed from products before being presented for judging, creating a level playing field for products from both large and small producers. Judges come from a range of food backgrounds from chefs to restaurateurs, academics, journalists, authors, food champions, caterers and enthusiastic home cooks.
The founding mission of Blas – establishing quality benchmarks for Irish produce on a level playing field – is strictly adhered to and measurably applied.Speaking after the announcement Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann said, “Blas na Éireann 2019 has been another exceptional year showcasing the talents and hard work of some of this country’s most innovative, forward-thinking and disciplined food entrepreneurs. This is our 12th year of the Blas na hÉireann awards, and our aim continues to be to assist Irish producers to tell their stories by marking them out as special, and worth exploring. Winning a Blas award has been shown to work for our previous winners in bringing them to the attention of food-lovers both at home and abroad and we are looking forward to yet another exceptional year for our worthy winners of Blas na hÉireann 2019.”