West Cork is premier ‘foodie’ des­ti­na­tion

Irish Examiner - - News - Con­all Ó Fátharta

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.

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