15 September 2020
By Tom Collins
The team at Blas na hÉireann ( irishfoodawards.com ) have been working tirelessly since March to ensure that Blas 2020 goes ahead, maintaining their commitment to celebrating the very best in Irish food and drink. Chairperson, Artie Clifford feels that now, more than ever it is essential to shine a spotlight and give that all important clap on the back to the talented producers dotted around the island.
Faced with the restrictions around college campuses still being in place and under the watchful eye of the academic director Professor Joe Kerry of UCC, the Blas judging relocated to Dingle in July, ensuring the judging was handled with the same care and attention as always.
The finalists shortlisted from Cork across a range of different categories are
Baked 4 U, Bandon Vale, Bó Rua Farm, Caherbeg Free Range Pork Ltd., Centra – Inspired by Centra Made in store Salads, Clona Dairy Products Ltd, Coolmore Foods, Fitzgerald’s Butchers, Follain, Fresh Fish Deli, Glenilen Farm, Gloun Cross Dairy, Hanley’s Puddings Ltd, Hodgin’s Sausages, Irish Yogurts, JDS Foods, Joe’s Farm Crisps, Keohane Seafoods, Kepak, Kinsale Mead Co., Longueville House Beverages, Macroom Buffalo Cheese Products Ltd., Maher’s Coffee & Co Ltd., Nohoval Drinks Co.Ltd/Stonewell Cider, North Cork Creameries, Ó Crualaoi Feoil Teo, O`Keeffe`s Bakery, O’Herlihy’s Bacon Ltd., On The Pigs Back (La charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd), Praline Pastry Ltd., Rebel Chilli, Saturday Pizzas, Shellfish Ireland, Silver Pail Dairy, Skeaghanore West Cork farm, Spice O Life Ltd., St Patrick’s Distillery Ltd., Susan’s Sweet Sensations, Tex-Mex Addict, The English Market, The Good Fish Company, Trace Of Cakes, Velo Coffee Roasters and West Cork Eggs Ltd.
After the initial first round of judging, the top scoring products from a number of categories went through a second round of tasting, both in Dingle and at satellite venues across the country. In conjunction with UCC these results were studied and the findings showed that the results based on two entirely separate panels returned the exact same rankings.
Therefore, these results will be used to determine the winners of Blas na hÉireann 2020 as the difficult decision has been made to cancel the weekend of events in Dingle in October. The annual gathering that takes place each year is an important part of the Blas experience and the team are working hard to move as many events to a virtual format as is possible.
Due to the success of the digital Backyard in April, and the fact that the Backyard has become a very important aspect of the Blas weekend, there will be a series of Backyard panels online this year. An exciting and informative programme that reflects the times we are living in and the specific challenges producers and buyers are facing is currently being scheduled.
The awards will be announced over the course of the day on October 3rd 2020 on the Blas website and across social media channels and while the team will miss gathering collectively to cheer on colleagues and friends, they will make up for it by ensuring that #Blas2020 trends!