West Cork is premier ‘foodie’ destination
West Cork has been named as Ireland’s premier “foodie” destination for 2017.
The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) announced the winner at an event held in the Headfort Arms Hotel in the home of last year’s winner Boyne Valley.
The picturesque region of Cork got the nod after a rigorous few weeks of applications, regional judging visits, and more than 10,000 online votes.
The RAI said events and programmes like the annual Taste of West Cork Food Festival and Cork Character Cafes and the pride and passion that West Cork food producers and retailers have about their products have “set the benchmark for food tourism in Ireland”.
West Cork beat off stiff competition from Boyne Valley, Kilkenny, Kinsale, and west Waterford which made up the remainder of the top five. Just outside these spots were Sligo, Monaghan, Cong, the Loop Head Peninsula, and Galway’s West End.
Co-founder of Irish Food Tours and one of the judges of the event Zach Gallagher said the perception of Irish cuisine abroad is rapidly changing for the better.
“The excellent collaboration between food provider, chef and food producer with the tourism industry is generating amazing potentials for the future development of Ireland as a world-class food destination.”
“The food and tourism offerings all over the island of Ireland and the use of modern media is changing the perception of Irish food as seen from abroad, and this was most evident in the 10 regions that reached the Foodie Destinations of Ireland final,” he said.
Chief executive of the RAI Adrian Cummins said the win highlighted the importance of food in West Cork’s tourism offering.
“It was incredible to see the high calibre of applications for this year’s Foodie Destinations. As food tourism grows in popularity — it is great to see so many places putting local food at the forefront of the visitor experience and like West Cork, enhancing their offering year on year.
“I would like to congratulate West Cork as winners of the 2017 Foodie Destinations award which is sure to further boost their profile as an outstanding food destination,“he said.
Each ‘Foodie Destination’ finalist received a trophy while the top five destinations were presented with an additional token marking their place in the competition. West Cork and Boyne Valley also received an engraved silver plaque as the winner and runner up respectively.