Entries are now open to producers across all 44 categories with the early bird discounted rate for entries running until 30th April. Entries will finally close on June 15th.
It’s the 12th year of Blas na hÉireann, the Irish Food Awards, the largest blind-tasted food awards on the island of Ireland, designed to recognise and celebrate the very best Irish food and drink.
Often dubbed the Oscars of Irish food, Blas na hÉireann, the Irish Food Awards, are the largest food awards on the island, open to all 32 counties, with judging taking place during June and July, finalists notified in August, and finalist judging in Dingle, the home of the awards, in October.
With workshops and masterclasses in Dingle, final Blas na hÉireann 2019 awards will be presented alongside producer networking events on October 5th during the Dingle Food Festival, always an unmissable event for food lovers.
Winners are always the competition’s best ambassadors, something to which over a decade’s worth of small producers, farmers, growers, bakers and artisan food makers who have won a Blas award and proudly put the winner’s sticker on their product can attest. Clare based producer, Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith of St. Tola Goat Farm said, “We will be celebrating 20 years of making St. Tola here on the farm this year so will be organising a number of events to celebrate this. We are also working on a new cheese launch in March for our 20th Anniversary.”
Research has shown that the Blas accreditation has the highest recognition among Irish consumers and having the award logo on products encourages shoppers to buy – it is a recognised guarantee of a top quality Irish product.
A survey of over 100 past winners showed that 81% had seen an increase in sales after displaying the Blas na hÉireann sticker with 28% of those surveyed saying that they saw an increase in sales of over 20%. In the survey, many winners noted the credibility that the awards gave to their products with one saying, “Tourists and overseas visitors recognise the value of a prestigious recognised national award and this has increased sales significantly online and in high profile visitor locations throughout Ireland and abroad.”
Another winner surveyed found that a Blas award helped to build relationships with their customers, “I have found that the Blas Award has been great for communicating with my customers in the shop. They really recognise the value of the award and have faith in it and the other products which I stock which have the award logo on their packaging.”
“Blas na hÉireann awards have a quantifiable impact on any winner’s bottom line,” says Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann, “whether it’s raising the profile of a producer’s product, or getting the attention of chefs, retailers or the general food-loving public. The independent endorsement of a Blas award is a recognised quality guarantee that can help get a product onto the shelves of a particular retailer or onto a restaurant menu.
It’s also always a huge boost for an individual producer, an appreciation for all their hard work and a moment to savour their achievements in a busy and often pressurised working life. The Blas na hÉireann awards event in Dingle each year has become an unmissable shop window for the general public, media and trade to meet, discover and appreciate some of the country’s best producers but, even more importantly, it has become an opportunity for this authentic Irish food community to come together and celebrate their successes.”
These are exceptionally rigorously-judged awards, as Blas na hÉireann use an innovative blind-tasting judging system developed by Blas with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen that is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide. Products entered are blind-tasted, meaning that all packaging and identifying features are removed from products before being presented for judging, creating a level playing field for products from both large and small producers. Judges come from a range of food backgrounds from chefs to restaurateurs, academics, journalists, authors, food champions, caterers and enthusiastic home cooks.
The founding mission of Blas – establishing quality benchmarks for Irish produce on a level playing field – is strictly adhered to and measurably applied.
Entries for Blas na hÉireann 2019 received online before the 30th of April are at the discounted early bird fee of €60 per entry (ex VAT). The full entry fee, applicable from 1st May to 15th June is €75 per entry (ex VAT).
Blas na hEireann 2019 Categories
- Bacon products a) Rasher b) Other bacon products
- Beef (Value added) a) Fillet b) Sirloin/Striploin c) Ribeye d) Burger Style e) Roast f) Bone in g) Other
- Cold Meats, Cured Meat, Charcuterie a) Beef b) Ham c) Poultry d)Other
- Lamb (Value added) a) Lamb Prepared b) Lamb
- Other Meats (Value Added)
- Pork (Value added)
- Poultry (Value added) a) Chicken b) Chicken (Prepared) c) Duck & Other Poultry d) Turkey
- Puddings a) Black pudding b) White pudding
- Sausages a) Breakfast sausages b) Flavoured sausages c) Other Meat sausages
- Dairy a) Butter b) Butter (Flavoured) c) Cream d) Cream(Fermented) e) Milk f) Milk (Other) g) Yoghurt (Flavoured) h)Yoghurt (Plain)
- Ice Cream & Sorbets a) IceCream b) Sorbets c) Frozen Yoghurts
- Cheese a) Blue b) Goats c) Hard d) Hard (Added Flavour) e) Soft & Semi Soft
- Seafood Products a) Cold Smoked b) Hot Smoked c) Prepared Fish d) Prepared Shellfish
- Terrines/ Pates a) Meat b) Seafood c) Vegetarian
- Savoury Pies/ Quiche
- Soups & Chowders a) Soups (Meat) & Chowders b) Soups – Vegetable
- Ready Meals & Prepared Foods (Hot) a) Fish b) Meat c) Sausage Rolls d) Stuffing e) Dough Based f) Vegetarian g) Potato
- Ready Meals & Prepared Foods (Cold) a) Fish b) Meat c) Vegetarian
- Baby Food & Childrens Foods
- Bread a) Craft Bakers Soda Bread b) Craft Bakers Yeast Bread c) Sourdough
- d) Packaged White Bread e) Packaged Bread (Not White)
- Traditional Irish Barm (Yeast) Brack
- Sweet Dough Goods (Including Teabrack & Sweet Buns)
- Morning Baked Goods (Including Baps, Teacakes & Scones)
- Continental Style Breads (Including Brioche, Ciabatta, Focaccia, Bagels)
- Pastries & Tarts a) Pastries (Inc Danish, Croissant, Pain Au Chocolate) b) Tarts
- Dietary Specific Foods a) Dietary Specific Bread b) Dietary Specific Gluten Free Products & Ingredients c) Dietary Specific Gluten Free Baked Goods d) Dietary Specific – Other (Certification to verify product claim required)
- Ready Mix Cakes & Breads a) Breads & Other Savoury Ready Mix b) Cakes & Other Sweet Ready Mix
- Puddings & Desserts
- Cakes a) Chocolate b) Other c) Chocolate Biscuit
- Christmas Cakes & Puddings a) Christmas Cakes, Pies, Crumbles, Other b) Christmas Puddings
- Biscuits/ Snacks Sweet a) Biscuits b) Other sweet snacks c) Popcorn Sweet
- Chocolate a) Bars b) Collections c) Individual Chocolates
- Breakfast Cereal a) Granola b) Muesli c) Porridge & Cereals
- Savoury Sauces, Condiments & Pantry a) Chutney b) Dressings c) Hummus d) Jellies e) Mustard f) Oils g) Oils Flavoured h) Pesto i) Pickle j) Relish k) Salt l) Salt Flavoured m) Savoury Sauces & Dips (Egg Based) n) Savoury Sauces (Tomato Based) o) Savoury Sauces (Other) p) Seasonings q) Vinegars
- Sweet Sauces, Preserves & Pantry a) Conserve b) Honey c) Marmalade d) Preserve e) Sweet Spreads f) Sweet sauces & Dips
- Savoury Snacks a) Crisps b) Popcorn c) Other
- Hot Beverages a) Coffee b) Tea c) Other Hot Drinks
- Non alcoholic Drinks a) Carbonated b) Cordials c) Fruit based d) Vegetable based
- Spirits & Liqueurs a) Dark Spirits & Liqueurs b) White Spirits & Liqueurs
- Beers a) Ale b) Beer & Lager c) Stout
- Ciders a) Medium/Dry b) Sweet c) Special (such as sparkling)
- Chef’s Larder (Includes subcategory for Eggs) This should be an ingredients, specialist product or recipe staple which a chef would find to be a valuable part of their larder. This can include, but is not exclusive to catering/food service products