The Blas na hÉireann 2021 finalists
The finalists for Blas na hÉireann 2021 have been announced and the countdown is on for the awards weekend which will take place virtually again this year on October 2nd.
Now in their 14th year, the team at Blas na hÉireann have worked harder than ever this year to make sure the awards went ahead, moving the blind-tasting judging system from the campus in UCC to Dingle to work within Government guidelines and the constraints of social distancing. With the blueprint for this new system developed last year, the team were able to seamlessly ensure the judging was handled with the same care and attention as always. Especially important in a year where we have seen a record entry level from producers right across the island.
“We’re delighted to announce the finalists for 2021 and chuffed to see so many new products being entered into Blas na hÉireann this year. Last year was new territory for us but the team here did tremendous work to make sure the awards went ahead and the sense of community that we experienced over the virtual awards event was just brilliant.” says Chairperson, Artie Clifford. “We saw a large increase in entries this year and these new producers have really raised the bar across all categories and will allow us to introduce new producers to the buyers and press whom we work with which is really exciting.”
Judging & Results
Traditionally Blas na hEireann has had two rounds of judging, a summer session and a finalist round as part of our weekend of events in October.
Over the years we have seen that the ranking from one round of tasting to another remained the same. Essentially the finalist round has confirmed the first round of tasting.
In 2020 with Covid restrictions in place we worked with UCC to confirm this and after the initial first round of judging, the top scoring products from several 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. You can read more here)
This year, with the confidence of the 2020 study, we have completed our judging and this scoring will be used to announce the winners on the 2nd of October.
Finalists are the top 5 entries in a category (generally there are just 5 finalists although in some cases if scoring is extremely close there can be more).
The finalist stage has always been a very tough stage to reach, and producers have had success from promoting that they have reached this stage, putting them front and centre in the eyes of trade and press who are watching the finalist results . As such, when we made the change in 2020 to a single tasting we felt it was important to still celebrate our finalists.
We will also be publishing a finalist guide which will be shared with buyers and press directly in advance of the awards.
From the top scoring products in each category who are listed as finalists a Gold, Silver & bronze winner will be announced
In line with current Government guidelines on large events still being in place, we have made the decision to keep Blas na hÉireann as a virtual event again this year. We must take this action now so we can focus and prepare for another online celebration in October, making it bigger and better than last year’s weekend of awards and networking. As always, we wish to adhere strictly to Government guidelines and keep the safety of our team, our incredible volunteers from UCC, CIT, GMIT, IT Tralee and TU Dublin, our judges and our community here in Dingle as our top priority.
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.
The Blas team are also working on an exciting line up of online presentations and workshops as part of The Blas Backyard which is supported by Bank of Ireland and Taste4Success.
The awards will be announced over the course of the day on October 2nd on the Blas website and across social media channels and while the Blas family will miss welcoming everyone to Dingle, the team and the wider Blas community will gather virtually and make sure #Blas2021 trends all day!