Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards 2014 Finalists Announced

Following a huge wave of entries and 8 days of tough judging, the shortlisted products for the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards have been announced today. The 180 shortlisted food and drink products in 50 categories are now in with a chance to win one of the prestigious awards in a ceremony hosted by TV Chef and author Catherine Fulvio on 11th September in the Round Room, Mansion House, Dublin.

This year for the first time a panel of judges from Musgrave Retail Partners chose finalists for the Small Producer of the Year Award – designed to celebrate artisanal foods and drink in Ireland and sponsored by SuperValu. The winner will be offered a prestigious listing in SuperValu stores.

Small Producer of the Year Award (Listing in SuperValu) Finalists are:


· Chicken Liver Paté with Garlic & Brandy – On The Pig’s Back c/o La Charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd

· Scotts Irish Cider – Big Hand Brewing Company Ltd

· Sweet BBQ Pulled Pork – Jack & Keith Molloy Bros. Ltd

Organiser, Helen Lyons, is thrilled with the success of the awards so far and said the judging was a “fantastic 8 days which brought together some of the very best food and drink on sale in Ireland and many of the Nation’s top foodies”.

The Irish Quality Food Awards set out to recognise excellence in product development for food and drink producers, retailers and catering companies in Ireland (North & South) with Q Awards being awarded across 50 different categories. The Overall Gold Q is awarded to the one product that stands out among all the other entries and is chosen from the winners of the main categories, representing the very best of the best.

Bruce Langlands, Director of Food Beverage at Harrods and Co-chair of the IQFA Judging Panel

“The judging process encapsulates all elements of the product, from its ingredients, its cooking or serving suggestions and equally important, its packaging.” said Bruce Langlands, Director of Food & Beverage at Harrods and Co-chair of the IQFA Judging Panel. “Unlike awards which judge products “blind” so that you cannot see the packaging, we do the exact opposite. We demand that our judges know as much as possible about the food and drink that they are sampling so they can respond as a consumer would – with their eyes first, and then with their nose and their mouth.”

The awards are open to all retailers, food producers, wholesalers and food service operators across Northern and Southern Ireland. They are a unique collaboration between Food and Hospitality Ireland and the UK Quality Food and Drink Awards (now in its 33rd year) and sponsored by top UK packaging manufacturer, Benson Group as well as Invest Northern Ireland and MLS Labelling & Printing Systems.

All excess food from the judging was given to The Capuchin Centre for Homeless People, which provides warm food each day and more than 1800 food hampers a week to vulnerable people in Dublin and FareShare.

The Full List of Shortlisted Q-Award Finalists are:

Bagged Snacks

Judges’ choice winner

Biscuits – Savoury and Sweet

Broderick’s 6 Assorted and Indulgent Mini-Bites – Ina’s Kitchen Desserts

My Family Favourites Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Wafer – Dunnes Stores / CKS

Simply Better All Butter White Chocolate and Raspberry Cookies – Dunnes Stores / Regale Biscuit Co.

Simply Better Irish Wholemeal Crackers – Dunnes Stores / Regale Biscuit Co.

Bread – Small Breads and Rolls

Black Olive Roll – Tesco / Panelto Foods

Italian Style White Baguette – Lidl / Panelto Foods

Multigrain Tuscan Roll – Lidl / Panelto Foods

Bread – Large Loaves

Fruit Loaf – Tesco / Irwin’s Bakery

Low GI Multiseed Cob – Lidl / Mannings Bakery

Multiseed Vienna – Lidl / Aryzta

Bread – Morning Goods

Finest Muesli Bread – Tesco / Arytza

Genesis Crafty Blueberry Pancakes – Genesis Crafty

Genesis Crafty Mini Sultana Scones – Genesis Crafty

Bread – Speciality Breads

Cinnamon & Raisin Soda Bread – Lidl / WD Irwins & Sons

Four Cheese Loaf – Cuisine de France

Stout Bread – Lidl / WD Irwins & Sons

Bread – Wheaten and Soda Breads

Aldi Specially Selected Rustic Wheaten – Aldi / Stapletons Bakery

Genesis Crafty Toaster Wheaten – Genesis Crafty

Simply Better Buttermilk Soda Bread – Dunnes Stores / Neville’s Bakery

Wheaten Soda Bannoch – Musgrave Retail Partners / McErlains Bakery

Cakes and Morning Goods

Apple & Blackberry Lattice Bar – Tesco / Golden Bake

Large Red Berry Scone – Lidl / Aryzta

Mini Carrot Cake Loaf – Tesco / Aryzta


Aldi Organic Porridge – Aldi / Stafford Lynch

Kavanagh’s Luxury Fruit Porridge with Apple, Raisin & Cinnamon Dusted Cranberries – Aldi / Stafford Lynch

Simply Better Irish Handmade Red Berry Granola – Dunnes Stores / The Foods of Athenry


Irish Extra Mature Cheddar – Lidl / Dale Farm Dairies

Irish Vintage Cheddar – Lidl / Dale Farm Dairies

Simply Better Cashel Blue – Dunnes Stores / Traditional Cheese Company

Simply Better Cooleeney – Dunnes Stores / Traditional Cheese Company

Chocolate and Confectionery

Irish Chocolate Selection – Lidl / Lir Chocolates

Irish Cream Liqueur Chocolates – Lidl / Lir Chocolates

Yellowman Honeycomb Covered in Dark Chocolate – The Good Food & Wine Company Ltd

Christmas Q – Christmas Cakes, Bakery and Desserts

Aldi Specially Selected 907g Irish Christmas Pudding – Aldi / Seerys Bakery

Aldi Specially Selected Chocolate Centred Christmas Pudding – Aldi / Seerys Bakery

Dunnes Stores 6 Deep Filled All Butter Mince Pies – Dunnes Stores / Sargeants Bakeries

Novelty Christmas Cake – Dunnes Stores / Sam’s Cookies

SuperValu Pear & Cream Liqueur Chocolate Log – Musgrave Retail Partners / Sean Stafford’s Bakery

Christmas Q – Christmas Chilled, Grocery Ambient, Meat, Fish & Savoury

Aldi Irish Cheese Board – Aldi / Horgans Deli

Fresh Three Bird Roast – Lidl / Hogan’s Turkeys

Simply Better Cranberry Sauce – Dunnes Stores / Wexford Preserves

Simply Better Ham Glaze – Dunnes Stores / Wexford Preserves

Cold Beverages

Finest Orange Juice – Tesco / Keeling F Juices Ltd

Green Apple Beer (non-alcoholic) – The Good Food & Wine Company Ltd

Simply Better Valencia Orange Juice – Dunnes Stores / Keeling F Juices Ltd

Dairy and Milk Products – Butters and Spreads

Connacht Gold Low Fat Butter – Aurivo Consumer Foods Ltd

Dairy Manor Irish Creamery Butter – Town of Monaghan Co-Op

Dairy Manor Unsalted Butter – Town of Monaghan Co-Op

Dairymaid Premium Spread – JDS Foods

Golden Cow Butter – Kerry Foods

Dairy and Milk Products – Yogurts

Aldi Specially Selected Handmade Farmhouse Raspberry Yogurt – Aldi / Killowen

Simply Better Handmade Blackberry & Apple Farmhouse Yogurt – Dunnes Stores / Green Valley Farms

Simply Better Handmade Lemon Curd Farmhouse Yogurt – Dunnes Stores / Green Valley Farms Ltd

SuperValu Signature Tastes Rhubarb Layer Yogurt – Musgrave Retail Partners / Killowen

SuperValu Signature Tastes Strawberry Yogurt – Musgrave Retail Partners / Irish Yogurts Ltd

Delicatessen – Antipasti

Carved Cajun Chicken Breast Slices – Lidl / Green Farm Foods

Dunnes Stores Italian Salami Milano – Dunnes Stores / Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies Ltd

Dunnes Stores Peppered Salami – Dunnes Stores / Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies Ltd

Pastrami Irish Beef – Tesco / O’Brien Fine Foods

Delicatessen – Other Deli Counter Products

Aldi Specially Selected Torn Ham with Herb & Onion – Aldi / Country Style

Brady Family Glazed Ham on the Bone – O’Brien Fine Foods

Denny Deli Style 100% Natural Ingredients Crumbed Ham – Kerry Foods

Duck Liver Paté – On The Pig’s Back c/o La Charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd

Wild about Nettle Pesto – Wild About

Wiltshire Cured Ham on the Bone – Musgrave Retail Partners / O’ Brien Fine Foods

Desserts and Puddings

Lemon Cheesecake – Lidl / Prestige Foods

SuperValu Signature Tastes Apple Tarte Tatin, Caramel Sauce – Musgrave Retail Partners / Couverture

SuperValu Signature Tastes Panacotta – Musgrave Retail Partners / Prestige Foods

Tesco Luxury All Butter Apple Tart – Tesco / Mannings Bakery

Fish – Fresh Fish

Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon with Seaweed Marinade – Burren Smokehouse Ltd

Burren Hot Smoked Irish Organic Salmon with Honey, Lemon & Dill – Burren Smokehouse Ltd

Glenarm Organic Smoked Salmon – Glenarm Organic Salmon

Simply Better Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail – Dunnes Stores / Nolan Seafoods

Simply Better Honey and Dill Smoked Salmon – Dunnes Stores / Burren Smokehouse Ltd

Fish – Fresh Fish Dishes

Cajun Salmon Darnes – Tesco / Goodfish

Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail – Lidl / William Carr & Sons

Fish For Two Salmon With Soy Sauce and Ginger – Musgrave Retail Partners / Dunn’s of Dublin

Seafood Chowder – Lidl / Galmere

Food To Go

Chicken With Garam Masala Soup – Musgrave Retail Partners / Ballymaguire

Classic Fruit Salad – Lidl / Fresh Cut Food Services

Tesco Open Salmon Sandwich on Soda Bread – Tesco / Freshways

Tesco Pearl Barley Salad with Basil Dressing – Tesco / Nature’s Best

Free From – Chilled & Savoury

Aldi ‘Has No’ Baps (White) – Aldi / Gallaghers Bakery

Aldi ‘Has No’ Delicious Soft White Bread – Aldi / Gallaghers Bakery

Mallon’s Gluten Free/Low Fat Leek & Pepper Sausages – Arthur Mallon Foods

Mallon’s Gluten Free and Low Fat Sausages – Arthur Mallon Foods

Rudd’s Gluten Free Sausages – O’Brien Fine Foods

Free From – Sweet

Aldi ‘Has No’ Muffins (Lemon) – Aldi / Gallaghers Bakery

Cashew, Almond and Cinnamon Gluten Free Granola – Maria Lucia Bakes Ltd

Cranberry, Coconut and Chia Seed Gluten Free Granola – Maria Lucia Bakes Ltd

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Bacon

Irish Honeycure Back Bacon Rashers – Lidl / Honeyvale Foods

Irish Smoked Maple Cure Back Bacon Rashers – Lidl / Honeyvale Foods

Simply Better Dry Cured Irish Rashers – Dunnes Stores / Callan Bacon

SuperValu Thick Cut Rasher with 100% Natural Ingredients – Musgrave Retail Partners / Carty Ltd

SuperValu Signature Tastes Smoked Rack Of Bacon – Musgrave Retail Partners / Carty Ltd

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Beef Steaks

21 Day Matured European Angus Sirloin Steak – Blackberry Hill Farm

Aldi Specially Selected 28 Day Dry Aged Rib Eye – Aldi / ABP Cahir

Inisvale Irish Hereford Fillet Steaks – Linden Foods

Irish Hereford Striploin Steaks – Lidl / Linden Foods

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Poultry

Confit of Duck – Silver Hill Farm

Duck Breast with Garlic and Pepper – Lidl / Silver Hill Foods

Yummy Duck – Silver Hill Farm

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Sausages, Burgers and Meatballs

Irish Beef Sausage with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper – Tesco / Hilton Foods

Moroccan Lamb Burger – Tesco / Hilton Foods

Simply Better 6 Superior Honey & Mustard Irish Pork Sausages – Dunnes Stores / Arthur Mallon Foods

Simply Better 6 Superior Spring Onion & Cracked Black Pepper Irish Pork Sausages – Dunnes Stores/Arthur Mallon Foods

The Co-Operative Chipotle Chilli Meatball Bake – Dunbia

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Pork, Lamb and Other Joints

Butchers Select Lamb Rack French Trim – Musgrave Wholesale Partners / Kepak

Simply Better Dry Cured Irish Bacon Loin Joint with Acacia Honey & Mustard Glaze – Dunnes Stores / Oliver Carty

Stuffed Irish Lamb Leg – Lidl / Irish Country Meats

SuperValu Piri Piri Marinade Pork Steak – Musgrave Retail Partners / Oliver Carty

SuperValu Smokey BBQ Marinade Pork Steak – Musgrave Retail Partners / Oliver Carty

Fresh Produce – Fruit

Classic Fruit Salad – Lidl / Fresh Cut Food Services

SuperValu Fruit Salad Mix – Musgrave Retail Partners / Freshcut Foods

SuperValu Kids Range Apple and Pear Pouch – Musgrave Retail Partners / Keelings Retail

SuperValu Signature Tastes Supersweet Nectarine Tray – Musgrave Retail Partners / Donnelly Fruit and Veg

Fresh Produce – Salad

Finest Irish Piccolo Cherry Tomatoes – Tesco / Jim O’Rourke

SuperValu Signature Tastes Seasonal Leaf and Walnut Salad – Musgrave Retail Partners / Wonderfoods

Fresh Produce – Vegetables

Easy Cook 7 Minute Baby New Potatoes – Keogh’s

SuperValu Signature Tastes Butternut Squash Stirfry with Edamame Beans & Coriander – Musgrave Retail Partners / Wonderfoods

Frozen Food – Savoury

Aldi Specially Selected Irish Beef Quarter Pounders with Cheddar Cheese and Red Onion – Aldi / Kepak Foods

Aldi Specially Selected Irish Beef Quarter Pounders with Cheddar Cheese and Sweet Chilli – Aldi / Kepak Foods

Dunnes Mega Burger – Dunnes Stores / Kepak Foods

Frozen Food – Sweet

Raspberry & White Chocolate Gelato – Quinn’s Gelato Limited

Roll It Sweet All Butter Shortcrust Pastry – Roll It Pastry

Tesco Vanilla Flavoured Ice Cream 1 pint – Tesco / Lakelands

Grocery Ambient – Savoury

Honeyed Fig, Rhubarb & Chilli Savoury Jam – Irish Bee Sensations

Kari Tropical – Spice Devils

Musgrave Excellence Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Musgrave Wholesale Partners / Pan Euro Foods

Simply Better Luxury Irish Country Relish – Dunnes Stores / Folláin

SuperValu Signature Tastes Roasted Red Pepper Relish – Musgrave Retail Partners / Folláin

Grocery Ambient – Sweet

Aldi Organic Honey – Aldi / Healys Honey

Blackcurrant and Rum Jam – Lidl / Abbey Farm Foods

Deluxe Acacia Honey with Cut Comb - Lidl / Mileeven Fine Foods

Simply Better Three Fruit Marmalade – Dunnes Stores / Wexford Home Preserves

SuperValu Signature Tastes Raspberry Conserve – Musgrave Retail Partners / Folláin

Hot Beverages

Cinnamon Hot Toddy (non-Alcoholic) – The Good Food & Wine Company Ltd

Homestead Original Blend Tea – Homestead Brands / Stonehouse Marketing Ltd

McGrath’s Reserve Blend Tea – Aldi / Robert Roberts

My Family Favourites Gold Blend 80s Teabags – Dunnes Stores / Barry’s Tea

SuperValu Gold Blend Teabags – Musgrave Retail Partners / Barber Daly

SuperValu Signature Tastes Colombian Supremo Coffee Beans – Musgrave Retail Partners / United Coffee


My Family Favourites 3 Pepperoni Pizzas – Dunnes Stores / Green Isle Foods

Pizzado – Choice Pizza Ltd

Tesco Bistro Italiano Chargrilled Peppers, Goats Cheese & Spinach Pesto Pizza – Tesco / Green Isle Foods

Ready Meals

Aldi Tasty Chicken Tikka Masala – Aldi / Kohinoor Ltd T/A Emaan Worldcuisine

Bombay Chicken Curry - Bombay Pantry

SuperValu Signature Tastes Lamb Tagine – Musgrave Retail Partners / Ballymaguire

SuperValu Signature Tastes Smoked Haddock Fillet in a Mornay Sauce – Musgrave Retail Partners / Ballymaguire

Sauces and Salad Dressings

Creamy Peppercorn Sauce – Lidl / Spice’o’Life

SuperValu Squeezy Light Mayonnaise – Musgrave Retail Partners / Blenders

Vine Tomato & Jalapeno Pasta Sauce – The Scullery

Seasonal Occasions

Aldi Chocolate Box (Mother’s Day) – Aldi

Aldi Roisins Honeycomb Easter Egg – Aldi

Iced Easter Madeira Cake – Dunnes Stores / Sam’s Cookies

Side Dishes

Dunnes Stores Simply Better Cranberry, Apricot & Clementine Stuffing – Dunnes Stores / Mr Crumb

Mini Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic & Cream Cheese – Lidl / Unimush Ireland

SuperValu Signature Tastes Braised Red Cabbage – Musgrave Retail Partners / Ballymaguire


Cream of Tomato Soup – Lidl / Princes

Fresh & Chunky Minestrone Soup – Newgrange Fine Foods

Just Food HiLo Super Greens Soup – Just Food

Sri Lankan Chicken Soup – Lidl / Ballymaguire Foods

Value Q

Daily Basics Jaffa Cakes – Musgrave Retail Partners / Bisquiva GmbH & Co. KG

My Family Favourites Irish Fruit Loaf – Dunnes Stores / Neville’s Bakery

My Family Favourites Strawberry Jam – Dunnes Stores / Histon Sweet Spreads

SuperValu Small Producer of the Year Award – Shortlisted to Win a Listing with SuperValu:

Chicken Liver Paté with Garlic & Brandy – On The Pig’s Back c/o La Charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd

Scotts Irish Cider – Big Hand Brewing Company Ltd

Sweet BBQ Pulled Pork – Jack & Keith Molloy Bros. Ltd


Dan Kelly’s Cider – Dan Kelly’s Cider

Fresh & Zesty Cider – The Good Food & Wine Company Ltd

Tempted? Special Reserve Irish Craft Cider – dj’s juice and cider

Tempted? Summer Sweet Irish Craft Cider – dj’s juice and cider

Lagers & Ales

Aldi “O’Shea’s” Traditional Irish Pale Ale – Aldi / Carlow Brewing Co.

Independent Pale – Independent Brewing Company of Ireland

Independent Stout – Independent Brewing Company of Ireland

Sparkling Wine

Crémant d’Alsace Brut AOC – Lidl / S.C.V.B

Prosecco DOC Frizzante – Lidl / La Marca Vini E Spumanti

Spirits – Liqueurs and Speciality Spirits

Coole Swan – Coole Swan

Deluxe Irish Cream Liqueur 17% – Lidl / Terra Ltd

Spirits – Whiskies

Aldi Clontarf Classic Blend Whiskey – Aldi / Castle Brands Inc

Dundalgan Irish Whiskey – Lidl / Terra Ltd


Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Winemaker’s Selection – Lidl / Lidl International GmbH

Pinot Grigio Rosé – Lidl / Lidl International GmbH

St. Emilion Gran Cru AOC, 2011 – Lidl / Union de Producteurs de Saint-Emilion

Note: The organisers chose to merge some categories due to the number of entrants, and remove several categories where the judges felt that a shortlist just could not be selected.

The Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards 2014 Finals will be held in the Mansion House, Dublin on Thursday 11th September. There are several Ticket Packages available – Click HERE to Book a Table.

To find out more about the second Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards, visit: or follow them on Twitter @IrishQFAs


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Brendan O’Carroll gives Longford businessman €30,000 investment for new Irish Food Business

Some of life’s wonderful generosity smiled today on a 61 year old businessman, Eddie Molloy, from Longford who spoke in an interview with comedian Brendan O’Carroll who was guest-hosting the Marian Finucan Show on RTE Radio1 this morning.




The Irish comedian is the writer of the hit TV series Mrs. Brown’s Boys and also the new film version, Mrs Brown’s Boys – D’Movie, which opened this week to rave reviews.





Eddie and his wife Rosie explained to Brendan about how his retail business has been struggling since 2006 and how he was finding it very difficult to support his family. He also explained how although he has spent several years looking for work in other jobs he found that no one was willing to employ him, regardless of his years of experience, because of his age.


Eddie also mentioned that he had been working on a new Irish Food business venture that is unavailable in Ireland, but that he was receiving absolutely no assistance or credit from any of the Irish banks or financial institutions. He has been working and researching his new food product and that he has received very favourable interest in it from restaurants and hotels that he had approached with the idea.


Mr O’Carroll was so moved by the couple’s story that in gratitude to the lucky break that he has received himself over the last year that he decided, live on the radio, to put his hand in his own pocket and offered the Longford man €30,000 of his own money as an investment in his new food business idea!


I’ll tell you what Eddie,” said O’Carroll, “I’m very, very lucky. I had a movie open this week and it’s gonna make me fortune! I’ll put €30,000 quid in front of you and we’ll see if that idea works.”


As the businessman stammered with disbelief, Brendan O’Carroll added, “If we can make that idea work, you being 61 and me being 50-ish, we’ll show exactly what two old men can do.”


The show was later inundated with calls from listeners who were stunned with the generosity of Mr O’Carroll, who had shown himself to be a very capable and understanding interviewer even before this amazing act of kindness occurred.


You can Listen to Brendan talking to Eddie and offering him the €30,000 investment (audio courtesy of RTE Radio1) here:

Rewind to the Start to Listen – the portion of the interview

involving Eddie & Rosie finishes at 5:20 minutes

or at








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French Toast or Gypsy Toast made with Duck Eggs

Ordinary plain white bread that is dipped in egg and milk and fried on the pan is called Gypsy Toast, French Toast, Eggy Bread, Pan Dulcis, Torrija, Fatias Douradas, Lost Bread and Pain Perdu. The name used today apparently comes from a New York innkeeper named Joseph French, who created a dish in 1724 and advertised it as “French’s Toast”. The printer made a mistake on his Menu and it became French Toast!
It’s really simple to make and is a great way to get kids eating eggs. You can eat it with savoury or sweet additions or just with a knob of butter!



Traditionally French Toast is made from older or stale bread because it soaks up the egg mix better than when fresh, but you can use fresh bread anyway. When I was over in Norway last year one of the gourmet restaurants we were eating in served it up as a dessert with cinnamon-sugar and ice cream. Simple.

I picked up a half dozen lovely big free-range Duck Eggs at our local Leghowney Country Market yesterday, so I decided to make a big batch of French Toast with them.

Funny thing is, the man who was selling the eggs had never heard of dipping bread into beaten egg and frying it! I was telling him how to make it and was astounded that he’d never come across it before. He was going home to make some straight after the market! So, here is my recipe for French Toast.

My Ingredients:
2 large Eggs (Duck or Hens eggs)
100ml / ½Cup Milk
12 Slices White Bread (more or less)
rapeseed oil or vegetable oil to fry

My Method:


1. Cut the bread into half slices. Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl.


2. Heat the pan on a low heat with a tiny rub of oil covering the base of the pan. Dip the bread into the egg mix, turning it over to cover both sides and shaking off any excess. Place on the frying pan leaving a space between each slice.


3. Cook until golden brown (approx. 1 min) on each side. Remove from the pan and cover with a cloth to keep warm. Repeat until all the egg mix is used up.

You can eat French Toast with anything! Spread it with Butter, sprinkle it with a little Sugar & Lemon, serve it with Bacon, Maple Syrup, Honey, Cinnamon Sugar, Ice-Cream, Strawberry Jam and Fresh Cream or just plain! Yum!

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Sligo to get a Michelin Star Restaurant – for a Day

There is something for everybody at this years’ Food Festival in Sligo. It starts on Wednesday 11th June and continues until Sunday 15th June with things happening all over the county! In Sligo town, the Só Sligo Food Trail has over 30 tapas sized house specialities available for €5 each!

Urban Foraging to Seaweed Walks, Fermentation and Cheese Making workshops as well as many demonstrations and talks by local and celebrity chefs and experts including Rachel Allen, Jp McMahon, Prannie Rhatigan, Silke Croppe and many more!

Galway chef JP McMahon will be bringing a pop up version of his Michelin Star winning ANIAR Restaurant to The Model in Sligo on the Friday night of the food festival!

For one night only, Sligo diners will be able to experience the exceptional cuisine of the award winning Galway based Aniar Restaurant. Só Sligo has invited chef and co-founder of Aniar, JP McMahon, to run a pop up restaurant at The Model on Yeat’s Day, Friday June 13th.

Described as a terroir based restaurant – a word which is usually associated with wine-making – the combination of factors, including soil, climate, and environment, that gives a wine its distinctive character. In the case of Aniar, terroir is used to describe the way in which the food comes from the specific place that is the west of Ireland, revealing the distinct and various food stuffs that dictate Aniar’s ever-changing and evolving menu.

A Lamb Dish from Aniar

Owned and operated by JP McMahon and Drigín Gaffey; the team who brought Cava Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar and EAT Gastro pub to Galway, Aniar is the only Michelin Star restaurant in the West of Ireland.

Beef Flank Dish from Aniar

At the 2012 Good Food Ireland Award ceremony in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, Aniar was awarded the Supreme Award for “the business that most strongly reflects the Good Food Ireland experience”. Aniar was also awarded Best Regional Newcomer and Overall Newcomer of the Year for their commitment to showcases Irish produce and upholding the philosophy of Good Food Ireland.

Don’t miss this opportunity to dine Aniar style. Tickets are limited so early booking is highly recommended and tickets can be booked by CLICKING HERE

For further info on the SoSligo Food Festival see or contact sosligo14 @


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Winners of the Euro-Toques Ireland Food Awards 2014

The very best of Irish produce has today been recognised and celebrated at the EirGrid Euro-Toques Food Awards 2014 at the Residence Club on Stephen’s Green in Dublin at a reception hosted by Ear to The Ground presenter, Ella McSweeney.

With Irish cuisine currently enjoying excellent international recognition, five food producers were recognised at the 18th annual awards for their outstanding produce and methods and were presented with a coveted Euro-Toques Award.

Euro-toques, was established in Brussels in 1986 by the top chefs in the Europe with the aim of forming a network of chefs committed to quality local food sourcing and to be a voice for the industry to protect Europe’s traditional foods and culinary heritage. Ireland’s Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe House was one of the founding members and went on to found Euro-toques Ireland the same year.




The Euro-toques Food Awards have been in existence since 1996. Their purpose is for Euro-toques chefs to identify the very best food being produced in Ireland for the benefit of fellow chefs and consumers, and above all the producers themselves, who are often very small operators. In doing this they seek to highlight foods and production methods that may be in danger of being lost and to promote people who were producing food of the very highest quality and, above all, the best taste.


Producers are nominated by Euro-Toques member chefs who use their produce on their menu. The Euro-toques Food Council made up of 8 chefs from across Ireland carry out tastings, investigations and visits before choosing 5 winners each year. The awards have been sponsored by EirGrid since 2010.


The prestigious awards honour enterprise, innovation and the preservation of traditional methods behind the fine produce that is celebrated and enjoyed by top restaurants in Ireland and abroad.


The Euro-Toques Ireland Food Council, together with the Euro-Toques Commissioner General Wade Murphy chef/proprietor of acclaimed 1826 Adare restaurant in Adare, Co. Limerick, selected the winners following a nationwide process that involved Ireland’s 160 Euro-Toques chefs nominating producers. Central to the selection criteria was taste, production methods, preservation of traditional methods and provenance.

Euro-Toques Commissioner General, Irish Chef Wade Murphy

Euro-Toques Commissioner General, Irish Chef Wade Murphy

At the Awards ceremony Wade said: “All five winners are true champions of Irish produce and deserved recipients of these coveted awards. The exceptional standard of nominations considered by the panel demonstrates the passion and expertise within the industry that makes Irish produce famous around the world.”

All of these winners have been innovative in preserving traditional techniques and bringing their products to market, ensuring that quality traditional farming and produce does not just survive, but it thrives.”


“What is special about all of today’s award recipients is that they channelled their passion for traditional produce into thriving artisan, and above all, local businesses. Ireland is a nation of great producers and great food and the survival of the traditional techniques and skills, handed down from generation to generation are very much alive with these award winners, albeit with an innovative twist.”


The common underlying theme for this year award recipients is the rural nature of their produce, the care and attention towards our precious heritage and an in-depth knowledge of the raw materials, resulting in these five products which are rare gems in the Irish culinary scene.


The five recipients of Euro-toques Food Awards 2014 are:


Toby Simmonds and Johnny Lynch Toonsbridge Dairy

Toby Simmonds and Johnny Lynch from Toonsbridge Dairy have been making celebrated Mozzarella at their dairy farm in Macroom, County Cork since 2011, using traditional techniques learned in Italy to make delicious mozzarella from their herd of specialty Prince of Lombardia Buffalo. Twitter @ToonsBridgeCafe



Ed Hick Butcher

Ed Hick of J Hick & Sons Butchers

Ed Hick of J Hick & Sons is renowned for his curing and smoking techniques. He is a champion of innovation and tradition, particularly in his production of his much vaulted cured and smoked Irish wild venison, which is celebrated at restaurants throughout Ireland. His shop is situated in Dun Laoghaire and they attend Temple Bar Food Market every Saturday. Twitter @edhick



Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribben of Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms

With a background in food science Lucy Deegan and Mark Cribben of Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms are celebrated growers of specialty mushrooms popular for their taste and texture and famed for their scientific methods to produce a unique natural microclimate in Ballyhoura, County Cork to deliver their award-winning Shitake and Marinated Oyster mushrooms bursting with flavour and texture. Twitter @irishshiitake



Marjorie and Kieran O’Malley of Achill Island Sea Salt

New on the scene, Marjorie and Kieran O’Malley of Achill Island Sea Salt, have been producing the finest hand-harvested sea salt since 2013 at Achill Island Sea Salt. Their passion to deliver a pure, natural, product that celebrates traditional techniques, coupled with the famed texture, flavour and appearance quality of their artisan sea salt has proven a hit with consumers and critics alike. Twitter @achillseasalt



Mick Healy of Wild Irish Game Ltd.

Mick Healy of Wild Irish Game Ltd in County Wicklow is Ireland’s only Department of Agriculture approved processor of wild game including pheasant, venison, rabbit, quail, guinea foul, grouse, pigeon and duck and his customer list reads like a guide to Ireland’s top restaurants. Twitter @WildIrishGame



All of today’s award recipients have chosen the path of directly marketing their produce, which has ensured the viability of their businesses and has given them a vital direct link to the restaurant kitchens! Euro-Toques chefs cherish the direct link with the producers and their kitchen door is always open to those who constantly inspire their menu.

Irish food producers with this calibre of dedication to their craft are vitally important as they encourage others to also concentrate on top quality. Thus begins a new Irish Food Legacy. Congratulations to them all!


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Donegal Rapeseed Oil re-brands with Neven Maguire and casts an eye on International Markets

Established in 2009, Donegal Rapeseed Oil uses seed grown on small farms throughout Donegal, Derry and Tyrone. The seed is cold pressed, filtered, bottled and labelled at a pressing facility near Castlederg, Co. Tyrone – making it a truly local product. Donegal Rapeseed Oil is cementing its success and continuing to develop the business with a total re-brand.

With sales of Donegal Rapeseed Oil increasing substantially year by year, the company’s Managing Director, Austin Duignan decided that now was the time to take stock and develop a clear brand and image that merits the award winning high quality product, which would sell not only in Ireland, but looking to the future, further afield.

“We have had to work hard over the past number of years to educate the consumer on the incredible benefits of using local Rapeseed Oil over the more established options such as imported Olive Oil” said Austin. “We are now getting to the stage where many people, having realised the fantastic health benefits, and sampled the great taste are making the switch.”

“As with any product however, there are variants in both quality and taste within the Rapeseed Oil market itself, and as Donegal Rapeseed Oil is an award winning premium quality oil with a unique taste as a result of the quality of the Donegal soil, we want to ensure that our product visual and branding is distinctive and reflects the quality and flavour of the product, as well as the beautiful part of the country from which it takes its name” Austin added. “We have accumulated a loyal following, and a reputation for excellence and amazing taste, therefore we want to make it as easy as possible for our current and future customers to find us on the shop shelf”. 

Donegal Rapeseed Oil has the lowest saturated fat content of any other oil on the market. It only has 6% saturated fat content compared to most olive oils at 14% and sunflower oil at 10%. It is high in omega 3, 6, and 9, all believed to have a profoundly positive effect on heart health, reduction of strokes, and rheumatoid arthritis. The oil is also a rich source of vitamin E, and can help lower cholesterol.

Indeed the product has gained a reputation as being the oil of choice with an ever growing number of consumers and it is now stored in over 300 stores nationwide including Supervalu and local grocers. It has also gained the seal of approval from some of Ireland’s most revered chefs including award winning celebrity chef Neven Maguire who has used the product for a number of years;

“I don’t cook with anything else, it has a fantastic nutty taste and it’s great for salads and marinades,” Neven said recently “When you cook with it, it doesn’t smoke like vegetable or other oils, it gives a great even heat. It really is a fantastic local product, and I’d highly recommend it to everyone.”

The company have also recently extended their product line with flavoured Donegal Rapeseed Oil in Lemon, Chilli and Garlic and the premium gold range oils in Curry, Fennel and Porcini Mushroom flavours.

With the new look Donegal Rapeseed Oil on the shelves, Austin Duignan, his team and his marketing manager Thomas Hughes, have ambitions to expand and extend the customer base and grow the business further. “Until recently our focus has been solely concentrated on the Irish market, north and south – there is still room for continued growth in the home market, as more and more people are finding out about Rapeseed Oil, however, we have started to look at the prospect of entering new markets.”

They have attended food expos in the UK, are taking part in programmes working towards launching the product in Germany market and they have received great interest from the US and Canada.
The future prospects for this small food company from the northwest of Ireland is exciting and the new branding will ensure Donegal Rapeseed Oil will shine out from any store or supermarket shelf – wherever it may be in the world.


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Seaweed is on the Menu in this year’s 8th Annual Burren Slow Food Festival

Seaweed is the common theme throughout the 8th Annual Burren Slow Food Festival to be held this weekend, 23rd, 24th & 25th May 2014, at the Pavilion in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare.





Author of “Irish Seaweed Kitchen”, Dr. Prannie Rhatigan, is hosting a demonstration and talk on how the thousands of tonnes of seaweed washed up on Irish coastline each day can be exploited for their potential as a foodstuff.


Prainne Rhatigan – distinguished author of Irish Seaweed Kitchen



Meanwhile, Sally McKenna of John and Sally McKennas’ Guides (formerly The Bridgestone Guide) and Stefan Kraan, author of “The Science and Gastronomy of Umami”, will be discussing the benefits for Ireland’s seafood industry in harvesting seaweed.


Sally McKenna’s new book on the culinary & cosmetic wonder of seaweeds


The festival also features food sampling of local artisan foods, a chance to meet local producers and growers, engage with fellow foodies and enjoy cookery demonstrations from well-known chefs including Jess Murphy, Kai Restaurant, Galway; John Sheedy, Sheedy’s, Lisdoonvarna; and Aidan McGrath, Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvarna.


Dillisk  (Palmaria palmata) before drying


Other highlights of the weekend include a talk by Slow Food Ireland President and chef Darina Allen; a Wild Food Foraging Walk hosted by Oonagh O’Dwyer from Wild Kitchen in Lahinch; and a demonstration of the essential skills of making handcrafted fine chocolates by Burren Chocolatier and Burren Food Trail Kasha Connolly.


Getting ready for the Burren Slow Food Festival


The main festival banquet on Saturday night will be prepared by Vivian Kelly of Kierans Kitchen at the Roadside Tavern who will serve Gleninagh Lamb, Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon, desserts from Fabiola’s Pâtisserie and wines from Burren Fine Wine & Food.


Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement


This year a team of food writers from Italy, the home of the international Slow Food movement, will travel to County Clare this week to report on the 2014 Burren Slow Food Festival., an Italian food magazine which highlights excellence and originality in the world of food, will be creating a complete reportage of the event including videos, photographs and articles. The Slow Food movement was originally founded in Italy, in 1986, by Carlo Petrini.

For more details on the Burren Slow Food Festival visit




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