A Mullingar-based chocolatier and manufacturer of luxury Belgian chocolates has been awarded the top honour at this year’s Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards,
which were held in Dingle, Co. Kerry over the weekend.‘An Olivia Chocolates’ was chosen as the Blas Supreme Champion from a huge entry of more than 2,000 products submitted for consideration at the prestigious and hugely-acclaimed competition and showcase for Irish food producers.
Run by Olivia Curran – a self-confessed chocaholic – and based at Monilea, Mullingar, An Olivia Chocolates produces luxury handmade Belgian chocolates which are handcrafted to have the maximum visual effect and taste sensation. Olivia’s motto is ‘You dream it, I make it.’“I’m absolutely delighted; I’m pinching myself” said Olivia following the announcement. “I launched the business on Easter Sunday 2010 and since then it has taken leaps and strides. It’s such an honour to get this recognition. I am so grateful to everyone at Blas and to my family and the Westmeath Enterprise Board for their support,” she said.
The award winners were announced at this year’s annual Dingle Peninsula Food and Wine Festival. The decision of the adjudicators was revealed at a gala ceremony in the Phoenix Cinema in the west Kerry town on Saturday evening, the venue lending much credibility to the notion that this year’s Blas awards are the ‘Oscars’ for food producers.
Also announced as prize-winners were:
Best New Product (Sponsored by Invest NI): Glorious Sushi in Waterford for Lecho Sauce
Best Artisan Producer (Sponsored by Taste Council): Skeaghanore West Cork Duck, Balldehob
Best Export Opportunity (Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland): Heavenly Tasty Organix, Omagh
Seafood Innovation: iasc Atlantic Seafood Company, Ballycureen, Co. Cork
Rogha na Gaeltachta: Bluirini Blasta (The Little Dingle Food Company), Dingle, Co. Kerry
AIB Business Diversification Award: Harnett’s Oils, Waringstown, Co. Down
Chairman of the Blas Awards, Artie Clifford said that this year’s 2013 Blas na hEireann, National Irish Food Awards had a record number of entries making it the most competitive Blas ever. “Blas is about recognising passionate, dedicated producers who are serious about marketing their fantastic Irish food and drink into markets at home and around the globe,” said Artie. “Winning at Blas means double digit growth for some producers, particularly those who use the Blas quality mark. We know from research that not only is the symbol widely recognised by shoppers, but it also encourages them to buy products that carry the Blas accreditation. It is their guarantee of top class quality,” he added.