FIVE Irish food producers won prestigious Euro-toques Ireland awards yesterday for their services to Ireland’s culinary heritage.
The judging panel of chefs and cooks gave Euro-toques awards, sponsored by EirGrid, to: Cuinneog Butter, Co Mayo; Glenfin Free Range Duck Eggs, Co Monaghan; Brenda O’Riordan’s fresh fish service in Cork; O’Flynn Meats, Waterford; and David Langford’s potatoes at Lissadell House in Sligo.
Award winner Bobby Flynn, owner of O’Flynn Meats in Waterford, said: "We are a family business, and we are now the last small abattoir in Waterford. I did an awful lot of work to comply with EU guidelines. I knew they wanted to keep up a certain standard across Europe, so I tried to look on the positive side of it, and now we have a state-of-the-art abattoir and factory.
"With all the foreign food coming in, I always thought there would be people here who would want good Irish food produced locally. Irish food may cost a few cent more a kilo, but it’s still great value because it is great quality."
Bobby Flynn is now confident the business will survive for another generation. Working tirelessly alongside him are his wife, Una, and their four sons, Darren, Michael, Robert and Gary.
The win will help the Flynn family maintain its proud tradition of farming, slaughtering and butchering. Their factory’s new futuristic on-site hanging fridges allow them to hang beef for 10-14 days before distribution.
The other four winners also have great tales which blend traditional production goals with clinical, modern, highly regulated methods.
Glenfin Farm in Monaghan is helping to bring duck eggs back to the Irish market.
Brenda O’Riordan in east Cork, the wife of an in-shore fisherman, delivers freshly caught fish to local restaurants.
Tom and Sheila Butler of Cuinneog Ltd in Mayo produce their Irish Farmhouse Country Butter using traditional churns.
Though these are now made of stainless steel rather than wood, the production methods remain virtually unchanged.
Edward Walsh and his wife, Constance Cassidy, have been producing heritage potatoes at Lissadell House since 2003, but their methods date back to 1902 and the horticultural gardens of Josslyn Gore Booth. In 2008, David Langford donated his own collection of heritage potatoes to Lissadell House so that the heritage could be maintained.
The five winners were congratulated by Ciaran Cuffe, Minister of State for Food and Horticulture.
They were presented with their awards by Euro-toques Ireland members, including Myrtle Allen, in Dublin gastropub, The Chop House.