The best of Irish Food – Meet the Producer, Clotilde

Clotilde’s delicious chocolate collections and bars have become a recurring sight on the shelves of the Blas na hEireann finalist showcase since 2014. You can find them in her own delicious patisserie in Sligo or on her Facebook and Twitter feeds or find out more details on great producers from Sligo and across Ireland in our directory of Irish Food & Drinks award winners & finalists in 2016

When & why did you start your business? About 3 years ago
Who is your food inspiration? My granny who cooked everything from scratch
What do you love about your job? We can create every day
ClotildeWhat is your typical day? I don t have a typical day, from4am to 9 pm I bake for my patisserie, ” le fournil bakery” and then I am working 8h on producing chocolates
What was your best day since you started this business? The first Blas award :)
Tell us about the people you work with They are very supportive , Tomasz, my partner who always believed in me and Camilla that also was here all the way wrapping and packaging all the chocolates
What three words would you use to describe yourself/your business? Quirky, quality, Franco/Irish
What do you think is the key to success? Hard Work
Has there ever been one single moment which has changed how you look at your business? Every day, you learn and grow up

 

The best of Irish Food – Meet the Producer…. Pauline at KooKee

In 2016 young company KooKee were a finalist at Blas na hEireann with their Gluten free Coconut & Cranberry Cookie Mix and Oatmeal & Raisin cookie mix. You might know them from the Boyne Valley Food Series or the SuperValu Food Academy, if not you can find out more on www.kookee.ie or find more details on great producers from Dublin and across Ireland in our directory of Irish Food & Drinks award winners & finalists in 2016

Pauline, Damien & the KooKee family

Pauline, Damien & the KooKee family

When & why did you start your business?
My business idea came about due to my eldest son getting a diagnosis of Autism at the age of 4. This led me to give up my job to become his full time carer. With 3 small kids at home, and 1 who was struggling to interact, I began to bake cookies as a way of us all being together. In the years that followed we baked many, many cookies and gave a lot of the away as gifts. One day I was asked to bake some for a party and I was asked how much they would cost. This sparked the idea that would allow me to continue being a carer and possibly build a career. It is 9yrs since I left my job and now we have 4 fantastic kids and our business is thriving.
Who is your food inspiration?
I grew up in a family of 10. Our garden was filled with every fruit and vegetable that you could possibly grow in Ireland. My Dad thought me to cook and bake. We would watch Delia and Floyd and later as I got older I watched Jamie Oliver and had the opportunity to work for one of his companies and meet him.

What do you love about your job?
As I write this, I am working and also studying Higher level junior cert maths with Cian. Who is no longer 4 but a well adjusted 14yr old who has great potential. The fact that I have been here to support him and that he and my other 3 kids are so proud of our business is the most rewarding thing.

What is your typical day?
I get up at 7am
Call the kids
Get dressed
Call the kids again
Head downstairs and get lunches sorted
And call the kids again. I’m sure you can see the pattern forming.
Anyway, once I get all 4 to school, its straight home, hot coffee and start my clean-down before I begin work.

I then have a school collection at 1.45 and 2.45 and 3.45 and then I start homework, and dinner and general life.

What was your best day since you started this business?
Last year Cian (14) and 8 of his CSPE class mates come over to bake Doggy Bone shaped cookies for a local Dog rescue charity and to learn about running their own business. That made me very proud.

Where do your ingredients come from?
Most of our ingredients are from Andrews Ingredients and Kells Wholemeal. The rest we buy from local stores.

Tell us about the people you work with
Me and my husband Damian run the business together. But I have 3 wonderful ladies who make up our team. I tend to employ mums who want to get back to work but still need to be there for their kids. We start straight after the school run and the girls leave at 2.30 most days to collect the kids from school. We work hard and if more hours are needed we help out and collect each others kids. It difficult to find work with suitable hours when kids are involved, so the girls are really appreciative.

What three words would you use to describe yourself/your business?
I’m very optimistic, I’m driven and ambitious, I’m patient

What do you think is the key to success?
Keeping control and understanding all aspects of your business is key. Taking your time to make important decisions is also of great importance, as is knowing when to say no. But most of all enjoy the journey.

Has there ever been one single moment which has changed how you look at your business?
The defining moment has to be when we got the message that Brown Thomas were interested in our product. Simply by becoming a finalist in Blas na hEireann we immediately were exposed to so many opportunities, but to have such a prestigious Irish company show interest in our humble product has made us see our potential.

 

 

The best of Irish Food – Meet the Producer…. Caryna Camerino

In 2016 Lovin from the Oven, Caryna Camerino’s Bakery won a bronze award for her Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Brownies. You can find out more about her delicious bakery, cafe and cokery classes on www.camerino.ie or find more details on great producers from Dublin and across Ireland in our directory of Irish Food & Drinks award winners & finalists in 2016

When & why did you start your business?Camerino
I ended up in a job in Human Resources and when the recession hit my job was basically making people redundant for a living. Awful. I started baking to cope with the stress. As time went on I became more and more stressed and so baking more and more. Eventually, I rented a stall at a local farmer’s market on a Sunday because I had so much cake. Things grew organically from there.

Who is your food inspiration?
Claudia Roden is my food idol. She is graceful, gentle, honest, intelligent and true to her heritage.

What do you love about your job?
I love seeing a product go from raw ingredients, to a delicious cake, to a gorgeous design, to being handed off to a client, and that client then sending a lovely note back to say how much they enjoyed their birthday cake.

What is your typical day?
I start my day with e-mails and paperwork from my home office at around 7am. At around 10am I make my way to our wholesale bakery premises in South Dublin, then to our retail shop on Capel street, Dublin 1 (with lots of errands in between). I try to make it back to the office by 4pm where I will continue to work until around 7pm.

What was your best day since you started this business?
The day I opened our retail shop, Camerino Bakery

Tell us about the people you work with
The team at Camerino bakery is the most friendly people, who genuinely care about exceeding our customer’s expectations. We love celebrating with our customers.

What three words would you use to describe yourself/your business?
Genuine, enthusiastic, quality

What do you think is the key to success?
I think the key to success is constantly exceeding your customers’ expectations.

Has there ever been one single moment which has changed how you look at your business?
When I had my first staff member on a payroll I changed from looking after my customers above all else, to looking after my staff, who look after my customers above all else.

The best of Irish Food – Meet the Producer… Bryan at Clandeboye Estate

Bryan, GM at ClandeboyeIn 2016 Clandeboye Estate won both best in County Down and Gold for their Greek Style Yoghurt. You can find out more about Clandeboye on their website or find more details on great producers from Co Down and across Ireland in our directory of Irish Food & Drinks award winners & finalists in 2016

When & why did you start your business?
We started our business in 2007 to add value to the milk we were producing on the farm, we had to decide if we should increase herd numbers dramatically and farm more intensively or if we could find another way to make the farm pay. Our preference was to stick with our small pedigree herds and produce quality not quantity. So our adventure into yoghurt production began.

Who is your food inspiration?
I am generally inspired by great local products. I respect anyone who is trying to make best use of local ingredients and produce real high quality products. There are so many examples across Ireland it wouldn’t be fair to pick one or two.

What do you love about your job?
I love hearing people say how much they enjoy our products, maybe even that it is the best yoghurt they have ever tasted. There is also a massive satisfaction in knowing you have grown a business from zero to having your products available in everywhere from Fortnum & Mason to all Aldis across Ireland!

What is your typical day?
There is no such thing as a typical day! In a small food business, I can be in work processing yoghurt at the start of the day then out meeting a buyer and then back doing a bit of maintenance in the evening. It is the epitome of Jack of all trades.

What was your best day since you started this business?
There have been a few good days in amongst all the hard work. In 2016 we won both 3 stars in the GTAs and the much coveted Blas na hEireann Gold. Days like those are amazing, particularly as you increase production and can know you are maintaining or even improving quality. The other big one would be when after a couple of hard years’ work you produce annual accounts which actually show a healthy return.

Where do your ingredients come from?
We are very lucky all the milk which is our main ingredient comes from our own farm. We use a blend of Jersey and Holstein milk from our pedigree herds to make our yoghurt. It is so much easier to make a great finished product if you start with great ingredients!

Tell us about the people you work with
I am lucky to work with Lady Dufferin who owns Clandeboye Estate, she has a real passion for the Estate and everything connected to it. She actually had the original idea of producing yoghurt and is massively supportive of all we do. The team itself is small with myself and about 6 others including Luke and Michal who put so much work into making sure we produce an excellent product.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Dedicated, obsessed and likeable.

What do you think is the key to success?
For us it has been doing one thing and doing it really well and efficiently. We just make yoghurt, we don’t diversify into other products, we use a distributor to deliver and control logistics. I think it is so important to make a product you are really proud of and can put in front of anyone with confidence, if you get distracted with other things this can be really difficult.

Has there ever been one single moment which has changed how you look at your business?
Something my father told me a few years ago had a real impact. He said in business you should always work up to a standard and not down to a price. I think this is fantastic advice particularly for any food business.

 

Blas na hEireann – Finalists & Winners at BITE Food Festival

Blas na hEireann will this year have a dedicated area at The Bite Food Festival, Main Hall, RDS. 18th-20th November 2016. The Bite Food Festival is an Irish Times event run by the team behind the National Crafts & Design Fair.

This year past finalists and winners of Blas na hEireann will have an opportunity to come together at a central point under the Blas na hEireann banner. We are very excited to be taking part in this show and to bring a showcase of Ireland’s very best tasting food and drinks to this growing show.

Bite 2015 in numbers: 15,000 visitors – 100 exhibitors – 4 days

  • 80 Artisan Food producers- making everything from cheese to chocolate, organic meats to handmade marshmallows as well as lots of healthy and free-from options.
  • 6 Craft Beer Brewers, 6 small batch distillers, 4 Craft Cider makers 3 wine specialists
  • 1 pop up seafood restaurant, serving lobster, oysters and cocktails.
  • 1 Main Stage featuring demonstrations from well-known chefs and our food and drink producers.
  • 1 Hands-On Kitchen with fantastic free cookery classes run by Lynda Booths Dublin Cookery School.
  • 1 drinks masterclass, where you could learn about everything from coffee to cocktails.
  • 1 Irish Times area with special Q&A’s with various food and wine experts and critics.

Exciting plans for Bite 2016

  • The bulk of sales took place on Friday afternoon & on the weekend days. This year Bite will run as a 3 day event this year and concentrate the business into 3 days instead of 4.
  • There will be a dedicated trade morning on Friday 18th November.
  • There visitor profile at Bite differed from the visitor profile at the National Crafts & Design Fair, it’s a younger age profile, young professionals and families  who appreciate the importance of local, seasonal, quality food and drink products.

If you would like to find out more information you can find out more about Blas na hEireann & BITE or contact Karen on 01 6702186 or email karen@nationalcraftsfair.ie

Flat Rate Courier Collection (Chilled, Ambient & Frozen) from 5 locations across the country

Ice Couriers are offering a delivery service to Blas na hEireann initial judging in UCC at a cost of €40 per package (max 15kg per package).

Bookings may be made directly with Ice Couriers on 01-8298200 quoting Blas2016 for the scheduled pick-up locations as outlined below. You can also deliver product (on or prior to the same date as van placements) directly to CGI Coldstore (Blanchardstown) between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

Please note Ice Couriers can offer temperature controlled transport of packages of Ambient, Chilled or Frozen samples and these will be held temperature controlled overnight for delivery to UCC.

Vehicles will be in position on the 18thJuly for samples due 19th and 20th July
Applegreen – Barrack Obama Plaza between 1pm and 2pm
Applegreen – Junction 14 N7 between 3pm and 4pm
Applegreen – Loughrea between 12 noon and 1 pm
Applegreen – Enfield  -Eastbound Carriageway – between 3pm and 4pm
Applegreen – Castlebellingham – Southbound carriageway – between 2pm and 4pm

Vehicles  will be in position on the 20th July for samples due 21st and 22nd
Applegreen – Barrack Obama Plaza between 1pm and 2pm
Applegreen – Junction 14 N7 between 3pm and 4pm
Applegreen – Loughrea between 12 noon and 1 pm
Applegreen – Enfield  -Eastbound Carriageway – between 3pm and 4pm
Applegreen – Castlebellingham – Southbound carriageway – between 2pm and 4pm

Vehicles  will be in position on the 25th July for samples due on 26th
Applegreen – Barrack Obama Plaza between 1pm and 2pm
Applegreen – Junction 14 N7 between 3pm and 4pm
Applegreen – Loughrea between 12 noon and 1 pm
Applegreen – Enfield  -Eastbound Carriageway – between 3pm and 4pm
Applegreen – Castlebellingham – Southbound carriageway – between 2pm and 4pm

Please note this service is being offered by Ice Couriers and not by the Blas na hEireann team, bookings must be made in advance directly with Ice Couriers on 01-8298200

Interested in sharing a delivery for initial judging?

There are a very busy few weeks coming up as we prepare for initial judging in UCC and shortly after in The Baking Academy. We have entries which have come in from all across Ireland and as always we are encouraging food producers to share deliveries for initial judging where you can.

The most important thing for us is that your sample arrives on time, at its very best and ready to be tasted.

  • It does not have to be delivered by the producer.
  • It can arrive by post, by courier or indeed in a shared delivery with another producer from your locality (In fact this is encouraged!)If you have a delivery to Blas na hEireann initial judging and would be interested in getting in touch with another producer from your area you can now use a message board feature on our website. Simply log in to onlineentry.irishfoodawards.com and you will see a link in the top right hand corner, under Forums. Here you can find the board for your county and in turn the thread for Shared Deliveries, just leave a comment letting other producers know if you are looking foir a shared delivery or are travelling and will be happy to take another producers delivery.
    Shared Delivery
    Every year, we are delighted to see more and more producers work together and share the load! (and maybe even build some new relationships with local colleagues in the food business).

 

Log in and find the Forum

Check Delivery Dates

Henderson Food Machinery – New Category Sponsor at the awards

We are delighted to announce that we have welcomed a new sponsor for the 2016 Blas na hEireann awards. Henderson Food Machinery will be sponsoring the Meat categories ar the 2016 awards.

A word from our sponsors…
Henderson Food MachineryHenderson Food Machinery can supply an extensive and varied selection of new and used food processing and packaging machinery. We work closely with quality suppliers of new and used machinery, when we are sourcing equipment on behalf of customers, we make sure that a complete assesment is done on all machines before dispatch so you can have peace of mind that when making your purchase you are getting the right service.

Our range of new and used equipment is extensive as you will see from our categories, we can supply into many sectors, Meat, Fish, Poultry, Bakery, Confectionary, Petfood, Ready Meals, Vegetable, Fruit, Dairy and Brewing Industry. Henderson Food Machinery will only supply quality machinery with excellent customer service working closely with our partners.

www.hendersonfoodmachinery.com

To find out more about sponsorship & exhibition opportunities at the 2016 Blas na hEireann awards you can contact us on 087 9029329 or email info@irishfoodawards.com

Blas na hEireann Bunting!

BuntingDelighted to now have Blas na hEireann bunting available to order for past finalists and winners, perfect for markets, shows and shop windows.
Price: €4.00 per metre (plus VAT) – Available in 10m lengths – plus P&P (€5.85) You can order on info@irishfoodawards.com or by calling us on 087 9029329

Research has shown that the Blas accreditation has high recognition amongst Irish consumers and using the award logo encourages shoppers to buy, it is their guarantee of a top quality Irish product.

Past finalists and winners can order labels from info@labelfactory.ie, our only approved supplier. If you would like to use the logo on your website or advertising or indeed incorporate into your label please just get in touch and we will be happy to help

 

Important checklist for entries

It has been a hectic few weeks with lots of producers entering online before entries close on the 17th of June.

Thank you to everyone who has already entered, it’s an exciting year ahead! Here are a few things to check if you have already entered for Blas na hEireann 2016;

Have you received your entry confirmation?
This is most important as this email confirmation will include your…

Entry Number
This is the number which will follow your entry through the whole process, most importantly when it is blind tasted by our judges

Delivery Date & Location
We have two different locations for initial judging, UCC and The Baking Academy. We also have a number of different delivery dates which correspond with the judging dates for each individual category.

Delivery sheet
Attached to your confirmation email is a delivery sheet which is already filled in with your entry number, producer name and details etc and your delivery date, location and address. Attaching this to your delivery will make for a very happy Blas team when we are checking the samples in for judging .

If you haven’t received the above you can contact us on info@irishfoodawards.com or call us on 087 9029329 and we will be happy to help

Have you completed your entry fees?
You can request an invoice and make payment for your entry fees online, by bank transfer or by cheque. To request an invoice for your entries simply log on to onlineentry.irishfoodawards.com and on the homepage of your log in area you will see Request an invoice for my entries.

If you are having trouble viewing this link you can just get in touch with us by email to info@irishfoodawards.com or by phone to 087 9029329 and we will be happy to help.

Also, did you know…
This year we are awarding a Best in County and Best in Farmers Market for every county in Ireland. If you have entered into the awards already then you will be entered into these key award categories also.