Lo­cal pro­duce is of­fi­cially the best in the land

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS -

LO­CAL pro­duc­ers had lots to cel­e­brate at the Din­gle Food Fes­ti­val over the week­end when they were named among the best in the land at the Blas na hÉire­ann Food Awards.

For Dick Mack’s Brew­house it was the per­fect birth­day when, ex­actly a year af­ter launch­ing, they won gold in the Blas na hÉire­ann ale cat­e­gory, an­other gold medal in the stout cat­e­gory for their cof­fee stout, and the Rogha na Gaeltachta award, spon­sored by Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Only a stone’s throw from the con­verted out­house where Dick Mack’s brew their beer, Jerry Kennedy plies his trade as a butcher in Or­chard Lane and he too was among the win­ners in the highly com­pet­i­tive beef cat­e­gory. Jerry’s Dry Aged Din­gle Dis­tillery Mash Fed Sir­loin Steak, which was reared by Bín Bán farmer Ray­mond Cof­fey, won the sil­ver medal and earned him a place on the podium along­side mega pro­duc­ers Key­pak.

Also in the meat trade, Mi­cilín Muc in Ceard­lann na Coille, Din­gle, won a bronze medal for their black pud­ding and an­other bronze for their sausage rolls.

In the seafood sec­tion of the Blas Awards, Quin­lan’s Fish won bronze medals for both their wild smoked salmon and their fresh crab.

Pres­tige Foods in Lis­towel won the pres­ti­gious ti­tle of ‘Best in County’ as well as a gold medal for their Dunnes Stores Deca­dent Bel­gian Choco­late Mouse Tortes, while Ca­her­siveen-based Camos Bistro won the Best in Farm­ers Mar­ket Award as well as sil­ver for their Spicy Ap­ple Chut­ney

There was more gold for Kerry in the dairy cat­e­gory, with Car­ralea Dairy Prod­ucts ltd in Lis­towel winning a gold medal for their Car­ralea Nat­u­ral Ke­fir Drink, while in the Ready Meals cat­e­gory Brown Sugar Café in Kil­lar­ney won a gold medal for their Brown Sugar Ca­jun Chicken and Pineap­ple Wrap.

The bak­ers of Kerry had a good run of things in this year’s Blas Awards as well, with O’Sul­li­van’s Bak­ery in Kil­lor­glin winning bronze for their Tra­di­tional Kerry Brack, while Bake it Easy in Knock­nagoshel added sil­ver and bronze medals to the list of Blas awards they have won in re­cent years.

The Blas na nÉire­ann food awards, which were estab­lished 11 years ago by for­mer fish­er­man Ar­tie Clif­ford, are enor­mously valu­able to lo­cal pro­duc­ers. As Ar­tie pointed out, buy­ers from Buy­ers from Dubai, Hong Kong, Har­rods, and the pres­ti­gious Bor­ough Mar­ket in Lon­don are among those who at­tend the awards in Din­gle to source new sup­pli­ers and this gives Ir­ish pro­duc­ers a po­ten­tial foothold in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

One man who fully ap­pre­ci­ates the value of a Blas award is Liam Quin­lan of Ca­her­siveen-based Quin­lan’s Fish. “Be­ing a Blas Awards win­ner has been fan­tas­tic for our busi­ness,” Liam told The Ker­ry­man. “We have one cus­tomer alone who buys €150,000 worth of prod­uct a year on ac­count of the Blas Supreme Award we won in 2015 but, aside from that, it’s a great boost for the rep­u­ta­tion of our fish shops around Kerry.”

Paddy Chau­vais of the Skip­per Restau­rant (now based in the Din­gle Penin­sula Ho­tel near Muiríóch) was at his sta­tion in O’Fla­herty’s pub dur­ing the Din­gle Food Fes­ti­val.

Grace Treloar from Rinn Bhuí tries her hand as milk­ing - on a mock-up cow that was pro­vided for the pur­pose at the Din­gle Food Fes­ti­val taste trail.

Pa­tri­cia Flana­gan fear­lessly sam­pling snails the Din­gle Food Fes­ti­val on Satur­day.

Brew­ers of the finest ale - Ozzy Barrett and Graeme Mur­ray re­act in de­light as Dick Mack’s Brew­house was an­nounced as the win­ner of the Blas na hÉire­ann Rogha na Gaeltachta award.

Tom Cur­ran and his wife Eleanor with Arthur Spring at the Din­gle Food Fes­ti­val on Satur­day.

Karen Ple­ass from Lis­towel and Mary Ah­ern, Glin, en­joy­ing the com­fort of a seat in the shade out­side the Orig­i­nal Kerry shop on Green Street where Karen’s tex­tile art­work is sold.

Diar­muid Mac a’ t-Saoir with Theresa Rafter-Mo­ri­arty on the Tig an t-Saoir­sigh stall at the Din­gle Food Fes­ti­val where Biddy’s Ir­ish Stew - made by Pablo the Por­toguese chef - was a pop­u­lar choice.

Máirín Ní Bhroinn and Máire Treasa Ní Chonchúir chat­ting over an ice cream at the Din­gle Food Fes­ti­val on Satur­day.

Theresa Heneghan of Tribal Foods.

Caoimhe Barry-Walsh serv­ing food at the Adam’s Bar stall.

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