Earlier this year, I embarked on an unexpected adventure after stumbling upon a LinkedIn post about a retreat for Women in Irish Food. The prospect of connecting with inspiring women in the industry intrigued me. Little did I know, this journey would lead me to a meeting with Fallon Moore from Blas na hÉireann, an organization that has been championing Irish Food Producers for the past 16 years.
Blas na hÉireann, founded by Fallon and her father, provides a valuable platform for showcasing the incredible culinary creations of Ireland. More than just a showcase, it acts as a gateway for small producers, opening doors that might have previously remained closed. Their mission is simple: to celebrate and support the entire food industry, applauding those who take a chance and create exceptional products.
In June, Fallon reached out to me, inviting me to judge a category for the Blas na hÉireann awards. Excited and slightly intimidated, I accepted the challenge. The category was cakes, which might sound delightful, but tasting numerous cakes within a few hours is indeed a labor of love (even if cheesecake isn’t my personal favorite).The judging process was a testament to the professionalism and respect of Blas na hÉireann.
The evaluations were meticulous, with criteria like ‘Visual,’ ‘Aroma,’ ‘Taste,’ and ‘Mass Appeal.’ This last category is particularly noteworthy, recognizing that everyone’s palate is different. This experience later led to an invitation from Fallon to participate in a panel discussion about leveraging technology to manage food businesses—an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Venturing to Dingle, we eagerly explored the scene. While it’s challenging to spotlight just a few products, some stood out:
Roll It All Irish Butter Pastry: @RollitpMairead creates phenomenal pastries from her Meath-based factory, winning two awards at Blas. Find her delectable creations in Dunnes, Supervalue, and other stores.
Dromod Boxty: For the love of potatoes, Dromod Boxty’s classic boxty and potato bread are irresistible. Their two awards were well-deserved.
If you haven’t experienced these culinary delights yet, trust me, add them to your next shopping list. You’ll thank me later.
For a complete list of winners, Blas na hÉireann has put together an incredible booklet here.
On another note, for businesses offering retail products, Prepsheets offers an EU Compliant Labelling option, ensuring your products meet all necessary standards.
(Disclaimer: The recommendations in this article are genuine, and none of the mentioned makers currently use Prepsheets.)