Producers rack up successes at major food and drink awards

John Hood

Northern Ireland food and drink companies had significant successes at this year's Blas Na hÉireann Irish Food and Drink Awards, collecting 70 accolades including 30 golds.

It comes on the back of success at the Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards, where producers won 215 awards.

John Hood, Invest NI's director of food & drink said: “This success demonstrates the outstanding commitment of local companies to innovate and produce delicious food and drink, especially during what has been a difficult 18 months for the industry.

“Northern Ireland produce is much sought after in highly competitive markets from Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland to China, Australia and the UAE.

“Our global network of offices, in-market support and Research & Development support is helping companies capitalise on this interest and achieve further growth in international markets.”

Among this year's Great Taste Awards three star winners were Moira-based Hannan Meats for its sugar pit bacon rack; caramelized hazelnut ice cream from Portstewart-based Morelli's Ice Cream; Lisburn's Pure Roast Coffee Valentia coffee beans from Brazil and Kilkeel-based Crawford Rock Seaweed Co for its seaweed salt.

At Blas na h'Éireann, Holmes Bakery in Portadown clinched the prestigious ‘Best in Ulster & Shane McArdle Shield' award for its butter shortbread while En Place Foods in Cookstown picked up one of the coveted Chef's Larder awards for its Melilot sweet clover vinegar.

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