ENTRIES for this year’s Irish Food Awards, Blas na hÉireann, will close on Friday next, May 20. This year all roads lead to 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.
This year will see the welcome return of this important weekend of celebrations, with the great and good of the Irish food and drinks scene descending on Dingle once more for the weekend on Friday, September 30.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be planning our awards in Dingle this year,” says Blas na hÉireann chairman, Artie Clifford.
“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. 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.”
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.
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.
“In 2021, Blackwater Honey won Gold in the Honey category of the Preserves competition. On receipt of our award, our business immediately noticed a huge spike in sales and online inquiries.
“We received a huge response from small, medium, and very well-known large retailers contacting us directly seeking to source and sell our products. The exposure we got through social media as a result of winning was massive. So much so, that our following online doubled in a week, as a result of the win. Winning Blas na hÉireann has been fantastic. It has opened many doors for us and helped create fantastic opportunities for our business to grow and expand. Customers and retailers really do take notice when you win the Irish Taste Award,” said Andrew Shinnick, Blackwater Honey, Cork.
Entries for Blas na hÉireann 2022 are open until 20th May. The entry fee is €80 per entry (ex VAT).