The contest will return with its signature of great Irish food and drinks scene descending on Dingle once more for the weekend on Friday, September 30. File Photograph: fancycrave1 via Pixabay
The heat is on: the deadline for Kildare producers to apply for Blas na hÉireann Awards 2022 has been announced.
This year all roads lead to the pretty seaside town of Dingle as it gears up to host the first in-person Blas na hÉireann awards event in two years.
Regarded by many as a key event in the Irish food industry’s calendar, Blas na hÉireann, like so many others, celebrated their finalists and winners online over the past two years leaving a significant gap in the food and drink calendar.
The contest, which witnessed seven winners from Kildare last year, will return with its signature of great Irish food and drinks scene descending on Dingle once more for the weekend on Friday, September 30.
Commenting on the news, Blas na hÉireann Chairman, Artie Clifford, said: "We’re absolutely delighted to be planning our awards in Dingle this year.
"We were lucky to have been able to move quickly in 2020 and while we were in a position to run our judging throughout the summer months in the last two years, we weren’t able to welcome everyone together for the networking and awards.
Mr Clifford continued: "We are proud of the celebrations that we hosted online, and the awards were a huge success, managing to highlight the best of Irish food and drink during a really difficult time.
"However the one thing that was said over and over to us was that people really missed being in Dingle, so we can’t wait to welcome our Blas family home this year and celebrate our 2022 finalists in person."
According to organisers, this year is the 15th year of Blas na hÉireann with last year seeing a huge increase in entries and many new producers entering the food awards for the very first time.
They said in a statement: "The blind- tasting judging system which was designed by The School of Food and Nutritional Science at UCC under the supervision of Prof Joe Kerry and the team at Blas is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide.
"Winners are always the best Blas ambassadors; something 15 years worth of small producers, farmers, growers, bakers and artisan food makers who have won Blas awards can attest to.
"Research has shown that the Blas accreditation has the highest recognition among Irish consumers and having the coveted winner’s sticker and award logo on products really does encourage shoppers to buy – it is a recognised guarantee of a top-quality Irish product.
Celine Hayes of Couverture Deserts in Kildare added: "For anyone who has won a Blas na hÉireann award, you know how special it is. Winning the award puts you in the spotlight and creates an interest in you as a producer.
"You know you have a quality product but when it is independently endorsed by the judges at Blas you know you're onto something special.
She elaborated: "The Blas na hÉireann awards comes with its own special package: from the Food Festival to celebrating over the best weekend in Dingle, winning the award continues to give all year round.
"Us passionate producers are delighted to be part of this incredible event. It’s fantastic that it’s back in person this year."
Entries for Blas na hÉireann 2022 are open until May 20.
The entry fee is €80 per entry (ex VAT).
For further information, visit http://www.irishfoodawards.com.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.