Food Awards

Celebrating Irish culinary heritage

The annual Euro-Toques Food Awards aim to recognise the very best artisan food producers currently working in Ireland. The recipients are voted on by Euro-Toques chefs who themselves subscribe to the highest standards in sourcing ingredients and culinary excellence.

The Food Awards 2023 will take place on Monday 24th July at Dunbrody House Hotel, Co. Wexford.

Garden party at Ashford Castle 2018

The awards, which were established in 1996 by the members of the Euro-Toques Food Committee and based on an idea by legendary Irish chef Myrtle Allen, include a wide range of categories from makers of hand-cooked crisps, farmhouse cheeses, grass-fed poultry and dairy products to artisanal beers and spirits. They can be established family businesses or new one-person operations seeking to bring superb new produce to the market.

There are currently about 3,500 small to medium-sized food businesses operating in Ireland. Euro-Toques chefs enjoy working directly with theses producers and acknowledge that the quality of the food being produced in Ireland contributes to the success of their restaurants. By working together, food producers and top chefs are helping to enhance Ireland’s reputation around the world as a location for the finest food and highest-quality restaurants.

The Euro-Toques Food Awards support that by recognising excellence, home-grown talent and entrepreneurship in Irish food production. The Euro-Toques Food Awards also honour individuals or organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to food in Ireland, whether through food writing, research, lobbying or hands-on involvement in food.

Winners 2019

Selection process

The Food Awards aim to recognise and celebrate the very best food being produced in Ireland. The awards honour those who produce food of notable flavour and quality. Focusing on the foods and production methods that preserve Irish traditions and heritage, farming and fishing industries, the Euro-Toques Food Council are launching a new format for the 2023 Food Awards. The Food Council have nominated the producers deserving recognition across six categories: Water, Land, Farm, Dairy, Artisan produce, and Traditional craft.

Four producers have been selected in each category, taking into consideration taste and flavour, integrity of production, the use of wholesome natural ingredients, provenance, and environmental sustainability.

Chef members of Euro-Toques Ireland are then asked to vote on their favourite produce/producer within each category.

2023 Categories: Produce/Producers are nominated under the following categories, with four in each category. 

Water

Water – The Island Nation Award to represent produce from our seas, lakes, and rivers, with a focus on sustainable sea and river fish; shellfish; salts; seaweeds; sea vegetables.

This year, for the WATER category, the Food Council has selected to award producers of Mussels. The Food Council wants to highlight the importance of regenerative aquaculture in Ireland. Mussel farms across the island of Ireland act as ecosystem engineers, increasing biodiversity and sequestering carbon, as well as filtering over 150 litres of water per day. Mussel farming is often forgotten, and we want to shine a light on those protecting and championing mussel farms in Ireland.

Land

Land – To honour our heritage – the forests, nature, the wild and above all, our soil with a focus on the growing of varietal herbs, edible flowers, vegetables, fruits, and grains in a sustainable way; caring for bees to produce honey; foraging for mushrooms, edible fruit, herbs, and vegetables; culling wild game sustainably.

This year, for the LAND category, the Food Council has selected to award producers of Honey. The Food Council wants to highlight the importance of beekeepers and honey producers in Ireland. Beekeepers are indispensable pollinators crucial to biodiversity and protectors of our eco-system. Aside from the health benefits of locally-produced, unprocessed honey, beekeepers and honey producers play an important role in arresting the decline of the honeybee throughout Ireland.

Farm

Farm – To honour the best and more sustainable way to rear animals with a focus on: rare breed and native animal production; small farmers; sustainable production of meat, poultry, eggs, and game.

This year, for the FARM category, the Food Council has selected to award producers of forgotten meats. The Food Council wants to highlight and recognise those who promote the conservation of traditional and heritage breeds of livestock. Recognising forgotten meats and producers of rear breeds is a way to honour and preserve culinary traditions and cultural heritage associated with specific regions or communities. Many traditional recipes and cooking techniques are designed to make the most of these unique cuts, which survive to this day thanks to the commitment of small artisan producers.

Dairy

Dairy – To honour Ireland’s rich and flavoursome dairy bounty with a focus on the sustainable approach to the production of milk, butter, cream, yoghurt, cheese, and ice cream.

This year, for the DAIRY category, the Food Council has selected to award producers of yoghurt and ice-cream.  Euro-Toques Ireland is keen to shine a light on the Irish dairy industry, a rich asset to the local food culture. Yoghurt and ice cream are sometimes overshadowed by more popular dairy produce. There are only a handful of producers left in Ireland, who work with fresh Irish milk and cream to make top notch creamy yoghurts and ice creams with little or no preservatives. The Food council wants to highlight the people who go the extra mile to source the best milk from local farmers and turn it into delicious produce.

Artisan Produce

Artisan Produce – To honour a product which requires a traditional and handmade process. An award that might highlight the Second Generation of producers with a focus on: the production of a product like oils, vinegars, flours, beer, cider, juices, spirits, jams, chutneys, pickles, smoked meat, and fish.

This year, for the ARTISAN PRODUCE category, the Food Council has selected to award producers of Irish craft drinks that use apples in their production. The Food council wants to shine a light on the people who protect the tradition and skill of craft drink making in Ireland, using apples. The artisanal nature of cider, brandy and wine production can make them stand out in terms of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the use of local or specialized ingredients. Recognizing Irish craft drink producers in the artisan produce category can help showcase the diversity and excellence within the industry and promote the appreciation of these beverages.

Traditional Craft

Traditional Craft/ Skill – To honour the people behind the product who protect and preserve our culinary skills, technique and craft, whilst inspiring the future, with a focus on: a person/people who has an unique skill that needs to be championed and/or protected. A person perhaps who is actively passing this skill down to the next generation through their work. It can be a butcher, a baker, a fishmonger or fish smoker, a cheesemaker, a grower or a grocer, a producer or a forager.

This year, for the TRADITIONAL CRAFT/SKILL category, the Food Council has selected to award producers of VINEGARS. The Food council wants to shine a light on the people protecting the tradition and skill of vinegar making using excellent raw Irish product. Irish vinegars are seen as Ireland’s counterpart to citrus when cooking. At a time when climate change and our carbon footprint is at the forefront of any conversation, vinegar makers play a huge part in terms of sustainable production.  The nominees were selected because they have been making vinegars for years, bringing innovation and flavour.