The annual Euro-Toques EirGrid Food Awards are voted on by the members of Euro-Toques Ireland, who subscribe to the highest standards in sourcing ingredients and culinary excellence. Each year the members nominate the best food producers they’re working.
This year the awards received the highest number of nominations from chefs for artisan food producers since the awards’ inception in 2005. The nominated producers covered an astounding array of categories, from artisanal beers and spirits to hand-cooked crisps, brand new farmhouse cheeses, and grass-fed poultry. The winners ranged from brand new businesses to multi-generational.
Irish artisan foods have lately been the subject of international media attention. In 2014 US Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern was blown away by his trip to Cork, especially the Gubbeen family farm. In 2009 Saveur Magazine founder Colman Andrews wrote a book about Irish food following his first visit here, linking the artisan revolution in Ireland with the “invention of modern Irish cooking.” Just this week Irish cheeses were entered for the first time in the prestigious Mondial du Fromage international concourse and came up trumps – Cashel Farmhouse Cheese and The Little Milk Company both sweeping up multiple prizes.
There are currently over 3,500 small to medium sized food businesses operating in Ireland. Euro-Toques chefs work directly with the small producers and credit this produce that comes through their kitchen doors every day with the success of their award-winning restaurants. Furthermore, supporting small local food businesses benefits the local economy too: A study by the New Economics Foundation in London found that every €14 spent at a local food business is worth €35 for the local area, compared with just €20 when the same amount is spent in a supermarket or wholesaler.
“The artisan sector in Ireland has grown so much in the last 10 years, there’s almost nothing Irish artisans don’t produce at this stage. This year’s awards have really shown where the standard is at in this country and I expect to see even more new producers and new products this time next year.” (Euro-Toques Ireland Commissioner General Wade Murphy)
“In our business we come into contact with every sector but we’re especially proud to support these awards. Small business owners are the lifeblood of the local economy and small producers in particular are the lifeblood of the rural community. They truly are amazing people in what they contribute to food, the economy, the environment and life in Ireland and we’re delighted to be able to recognise their enormous achievements, as individuals and as a sector.” (Fintan Slye Chief Executive of Awards sponsor EirGrid)
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