The Donegal Food Coast initiative is going from strength to strength with the announcement that seven food producers in the county have been shortlisted as finalists for the Blas Na hEireann Awards. A total of 24 finalist entries from across a wide selection of Donegal produce made it to the final of this year’s awards, which are the biggest competition for quality Irish produce on the island of Ireland.
The seven finalists from Donegal are Atlantic Treasures, producers of hand selected gourmet sea food fresh from Killybegs; Blas Bakery, Gortahork, a previous winner of a Gold Award for its famous caramel slice, is nominated this year for its chocolate brownies; Donegal Rapeseed Oil, producer of 100% pure cold pressed Rapeseed Oil located in Raphoe; Filligans handmade preserves, based in Glenties, has been shortlisted for its sundried tomato and balsamic mustard along with its wholegrain mustard; Green Pastures Donegal, a cheese and dairy business and winner of the Blas 2019 Supreme Champion Award, (which also has Natural Dairies, a private label milk and dairy supplier, both located in Convoy). Ballyliffin-based Love a Little sauces – makers of gluten free desert sauces – and the Shack beach café and roastery in Dunfanaghy make up the final seven.
The Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards are now in their 14th year. Products from every county in Ireland were entered into the 2021 competition to win Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in a broad range of food and drink categories as well as key awards such as Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Producer.
Commenting on the awards, Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise Donegal said: “Over the years, Donegal food businesses have enjoyed great success at Blas na hÉireann and we are delighted to, once again, see such strong representation from Donegal’s food sector with so many Donegal Food Coast members in the finals. Most of us have heard the phrase “you are what you eat” but increasingly consumers want to know the story of the place that their food comes from. Luckily, in Donegal we are blessed with some of the best food producers in the country and the Blas accreditation is your guarantee of a top-quality Irish product. Congratulations to all seven Donegal businesses that made the shortlist; we wish them all the very best on October 2nd, when the winners will be announced.”
Earlier this year Donegal chef Brian McDermott was announced as Blas na hÉireann Producers’ Champion 2021. Speaking of his award Brian said, “I’m so chuffed to be announced as the Blas na hÉireann Producers’ Champion for 2021. Being from Donegal I have been so lucky to be surrounded by wonderful produce all my life and seeing that produce used with such respect by my mother growing up stayed with me. I’ve been a long-time supporter of what Artie and the Blas team do each year and I love being part of the process of finding and celebrating great Irish products.”