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Article appeared in issue 6, 2021

IRISH
ICONS

Irish glory at the Great Taste Awards

A diverse range of products from Ireland shone at the recent Great Taste Awards, with 416 winners receiving a 1-, 2- or 3-Star accolade from the world’s largest and most trusted food and drink awards. Food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, retail buyers, cooks, producers and a host of food writers, journalists and social media influencers were among the 355 palates to have rigorously blind tasted and judged the 14,113 entries from 108 countries. Here, we meet some of the outstanding Irish winners. 

3-Star Glazing Syrup from Ballyhoura Apple Farm

Ballyhoura Apple Farm was founded over ten years ago by Maurice Gilbert and Gerry Murphy when 5,000 trees were planted in Clashganniv, Co. Cork. In 2014, the entire orchard was successfully uprooted and moved to Kilfinane, Co. Limerick where the business is now located. Its 3-Star winner is a new apple glazing syrup with complex tones of cider balanced with warm gentle spices and made using the farm’s mulled apple juice and cider vinegar. While it was the first time at the Great Taste Awards for the brand, Ballyhoura Apple Farm has won over 21 awards over the past ten years. Maurice Gilbert, CEO and founder of Ballyhoura Apple Farm, commented: “Winning a 3-Star award at Great Taste for our Glazing Syrup was an amazing achievement and a resounding endorsement of both the quality and flavour of our artisanal syrup. We were also very happy to receive a 1-Star award for our Pure Raw Irish Apple Cider Vinegar with the ‘Mother’, double fermented from 100% Irish apples. It has been great encouragement for what we do here at Ballyhoura Apple Farm.”

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3-Star Irish Rosette Apple Juice
from Attyflin Estate

Attyflin Estate was founded a decade ago by Brian and Bridget O’Connell where they grow a wide range of fruit in their extensive orchards and historic walled garden. The apple orchards are the result of ten years of hard work and commitment by the team at Attyflin, and four years ago, the decision was made to increase the number of Rosette apple trees to 1,000. The fruit is picked and pressed at its on-site production facility and the cycle is affectionately known as the ‘bud to bottle’ process.’ This year’s harvest is likely to yield approximately 5,000 bottles of the limited-edition Irish Rosette Apple juice. Irish Rosette Apple Juice uses only one ingredient, the Rosette apple, with a distinct flavour and colour thanks to its marbled red flesh. The juice has previously scooped a 2-Star accolade (2019) and a 1-Star accolade (2018) at the Great Taste Awards, and bronze and silver awards at Blas na hEireann. “We are delighted to receive a 3-Star Great Taste Award,” Brian O’Connell told us. “The award is recognition of the hard work and dedication of the team here and the realisation of our ambitions to create a premium Rosette Apple Juice. We’ve spent many years visiting some of the best fruit growing regions in Europe to marry best practice with our Irish farming heritage to create quality fruit drinks which are world-class. We simply grow, press, bottle and package on-site. We’d like to thank our loyal and excellent customers for their support of our diverse product range over the last number of years.”

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3-Star Slow Braised Short Rib of Beef
from James Whelan Butchers

James Whelan Butchers is a fifth-generation family-owned and run butcher business that first opened in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary in 1966. The company has its own farm and processing facilities and works with traditional craftspeople and farmers to source the finest quality products. 

The winning Slow Braised Short Rib of Beef is part of the Dine at Home Collection and features one of the butcher’s favourite cuts of meat, braised overnight in a rich beef jus with vegetables and rosemary. 

Pat Whelan, CEO of James Whelan Butchers, stated: “This dish reflects our philosophy towards great food. It’s honest, simple, handmade from scratch every day where you can taste the love, care and attention that has gone into every single bite. For the dish to be recognised in this way is testament to the vision of our team, adding a new and timely product offering by creating restaurant quality food for our customers and friends to enjoy at home, with the minimum of fuss and the freshest of locally sourced ingredients.” This multi-award-winning artisan butchers has a long history with the Great Taste Awards: in 2015 its Beef Dripping was crowned Supreme Champion and won the coveted international Golden Fork Award, chosen from over 10,000 entries. Last year it won three 3-Star awards for its Rib Roast, Heritage Cure Ham and Traditional Ham on the Bone.

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2-Star Grafters Working Day IPA
from Rye River Brewing Company 

Rye River Brewing Company was established in 2013 and is based in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. The brewery currently produces over 30 multi-award-winning beers, including exclusive brews for Lidl, Tesco and Dunnes Stores. The Grafters brand is exclusive to Dunnes Stores in Ireland and was launched in 2015. The winning beer is an American-style IPA with citrus flavours. The brewery hand-selects malts and sources the hops directly from farms to ensure freshness, and propagates its own yeast strains in-house for consistency and uniqueness. All recipes have a unique water profile that matches the style of beer, and the brewery achieves this through an on-site reverse osmosis water purification system. 

The Grafters Working Day IPA has won a dozen awards, including a silver at the 2021 World Beer Awards, and welcomes this recent win, says Tom Cronin, managing director: “To be awarded 2-Stars for our Grafters All Day IPA at the Great Taste Awards is something very special. This has been Rye River Brewing Company’s most successful year to date at the Great Taste Awards and the award showcases the skill, dedication, and passion of our outstanding team.

Agribusiness ABP was awarded an incredible haul of 14 stars for 10 of its products at the awards including a 3-Star award for its Certified Irish Angus Bone In Rib, and a 2-Star award for its Butchers Selection Fillet Steak. Dave O’Connell, European Commercial Director for ABP said:  “These prestigious awards are a testament to the dedication of both our employees and our farmer suppliers to upholding an exemplary standard.”