The Euro-Toques Food Awards 2019 presented by Eirgrid took place in the Gooseberry Gardens at Virginia Park Lodge in County Cavan on 27th May, with winners introduced by chef Richard Corrigan and food writer Caroline Hennessy. The awards ceremony was followed by a wonderful feast of Irish produce, including this year’s awards winning products, created by Richard Corrigan’s team at Virginia Park Lodge. All Euro-Toques producer members and nominees were invited to be part of the afternoon’s celebrations and were given the opportunity to showcase their produce, making this a genuinely rich and impressive celebratory showcase of the finest the island has to offer.
Five awards were presented under the categories Water, Land, Farm, Dairy and Artisan Produce with six awards presented under the category Craft, which this year recognises smaller growers.
This year’s award winners are: WATER | Connemara Seaweed Company for their diverse range of hand-harvested and sustainably produced seaweed-based products. LAND | Bumblebee Flower Farm for their sustainably produced edible flowers, grown in respect of biodiversity. FARM | Castlemine Farm for their pasture-fed dry-aged beef, lamb and rare breed pork, reared and butchered with a traditional sustainable approach. DAIRY | The Village Dairy for their locally sourced fresh, organic & Jersey milk, cream and buttermilk. ARTISAN PRODUCE | Ballyminane Mill for their stone-ground wholemeal flour, produced in respect of an ancient tradition. CRAFT | Ballyholey Farm (Donegal); Glensallagh Gardens (Cork); Gorse Farm (Wexford); Iona Farm (Dublin); New Leaf Urban Farmers (Limerick); Garrai Glas Farm (Galway) for growing varietal fruits, herbs and vegetables in an organic, biodynamic or chemical-free way.
Euro-Toques is sending a message of support to the growers who are doing it right, encompassing a holistic approach to healthy food production, land management and care of the environment as well as allowing chefs to avail of fresh seasonal produce. The ceremony was followed by a wonderful garden feast that brought together over 150 chefs and producers, satisfying Euro-Toques Ireland’s long-term strategy to create a platform where chefs and producers can meet, network and exchange knowledge. The lunch was a celebration of Irish produce including this year’s winners and an opportunity for over 50 producers to showcase their products. This year each winner was presented with a piece of bespoke pottery from Fermoyle Pottery, each piece representing their award category.
“Our awards are always a highlight of Ireland’s annual food event calendar with many chefs, writers, and consumers taking note of them in Ireland and further afield,” said the Head of the Euro-Toques Ireland Food Council Anthony O’Toole. “As chefs, this is our opportunity to continue what Myrtle Allen started many years ago and celebrate those who grow, farm and produce with integrity and flavour in mind. We are very lucky to have access to exceptionally good, clean and fair food on this fertile island. Our congratulations to all recipients, whom we welcome to the Euro-Toques Ireland community. We will continue to encourage all our fellow chefs to support current and previous winners through their menus.”