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Irish Echo seeks Artisan Food Products from Ireland for US Event Menus

For the past year, the Irish Echo in the US — Irish America's oldest and largest print newspaper — has been working with Peter Ryan, the Irish Deputy Consul General in New York, to encourage the use of Irish produce at the many Irish events hosted by the paper each year.

These events include the prestigious Index 30 Luncheon each June honouring 30 companies with operations in Ireland & the US and the Golden Bridges Gala in Boston each November which celebrates links between Massachusetts and Northwest Ireland, to name but two.

"We host a series of dinners and luncheons every year, for the most engaged sector of Irish America," says Irish Echo publisher Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. "Indeed, just last week, we had 300 guests from across America at our annual Irish Law & Order Awards which recognise officers in the police, FBI and Federal Marshals service. And while our events always have a strong Irish flavour on the menus, we have really drawn a blank in our efforts to do more to showcase the very best of Irish produce."

This year's Irish 40 Under 40 Gala Dinner in Manhattan will be held in February 2013 

The 6th Annual Irish Top 40 Under 40 Awards will be honouring the up-and-coming personalities of Irish America, from every walk of life and from all over the United States. The Irish Echo Newspaper is on the trail of Irish America’s young guns for a celebration event to be held in New York City on 21 February 2013.

"Ireland has such a mouthwatering food and drink offering that we feel it really should help exploit this unique platform in America" continued Mr Ó Muilleoir. "We were pleased that Magners, which is upping its game in the US, came on board at our recent hospitality awards but we know we're only scratching the surface."

This year's Irish Echo Small Business 50 will be held on Friday, April 12 2013 

This year the event organisers wish to include as many Irish Food products as possible, on the menu of their events. The reputation that Irish Artisan Food has developed over the last few years is well known in the US and by presenting more products as part of the banquets it is hoped to further encourage Irish imports by American-based food retailers.

Among the events hosted annually by the Irish Echo are:
The Irish 40 under 40
The Irish Hospitality Awards
The Irish Small Business 50
The Irish Law & Order 50
The New York-New Belfast Conference
The Golden Bridges Conference

Burren Smokehouse Salmon provided a wonderful competition hamper in 2012

"In 2012, we did have an opportunity to work with Burren Smoked Salmon to provide a hamper competition for our readers on St Patrick's Day", said Mr Ó Muilleoir. "Wouldn't it be magnificent if we could expand that offering to ensure Irish produce is on the menu at our events rather than just being promoted through competitions.
I have no doubt that when Irish Americans, who revere all things Irish, get to sample the genuine article, they would become magnificent ambassadors for Irish food."

Irish Food Producers Wanted
The organisers of these US/Irish events are looking for Irish food producers, that are in a position to export, to get in contact with them now! They wish to build up the presence of Irish Food, on the menus, at their events and hope that this will encourage other event organisers of similar events to do the same.

If you are an Irish food or drink exporter and you're keen to partner with the Irish Echo, you should email the newspaper's publisher, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir at now!


Irish Beef is Selected as a Key Ingredient in 2013 Bocuse d'Or Culinary Competition

Irish Beef has been selected as a key ingredient at this year's Bocuse d’Or International Chef’s Competition. The event takes place at the upcoming Sirha Food Fair, Lyon, France, 29-30 January, 2013. The international competition, named after legendary French Chef Paul Bocuse, seeks to identify the world’s top competitive chef using only the world's best food products.

Grass-fed Irish Beef is still considered among the best in the world
The selection of Irish Beef followed a rigorous and lengthy process by the competition’s International Organisation Committee was based on its grass fed nature meaning the beef is of a high quality in terms of tenderness, taste and texture. Securing this accolade is a valuable endorsement and recognition for Irish Beef.

Recent problems with some frozen beefburgers, made in Ireland using mixed Irish & EU meat products has not diminished the commitment of the world's top chefs to use Irish Beef in their Bocuse d'Or culinary competition dishes.

Paul Bocuse - Probably the most famous Chef in the world!
The prestigious Bocuse d'Or World Gastronomic Competition  was created by the famous 3-Michelin-Star French Chef Paul Bocuse who was named Chef of the Century in 2011. The competition is running continuously since it's inception, in January 1987 and the Grand Final takes place in Lyon, France every 2 years. 

After 56 International selections and 3 continental selections in Latin America, Europe and Asia, 24 teams will now compete in what has become known as the "Olympics of Competitive Cooking". Unfortunately, the Irish Culinary Team didn't make it into the final 24 competing teams, this year.

The Bocuse d'Or World Culinary Competition only uses the best products like Irish Beef Fillet 

  • Florent Suplisson, Director of Bocuse d’Or said “The choice of Irish steer Beef Fillet for the 2013 edition of the Bocuse d’Or is in line with the tradition and overall objective of our competition - the best products for a cuisine and gastronomy of excellence which places the spotlight on products from all over the world."

On the eve of the contest, the candidates will have 30 minutes to choose seasonal fruit and vegetables from the Five Continents Market. They will use the produce and ingredients to prepare two of the three garnishes imposed on the day of the contest. 

The competition requires competitors to prepare two elaborate presentation platters of a meat dish and a fish dish, with the ingredients announced in advance to allow them to conceptualize and prepare their recipes for the live heats.

The Bocuse d'Or Chef's Competition is considered the Olympics of the Culinary world

To highlight the different national culinary heritages and encourage diversity, the third garnish will be typical of the candidates’ respective countries. This new rule in the competition, should lead to the introduction of local produce and ingredients, as yet unseen in the history of the Bocuse d’Or.

Irish Rib-Eye Beef is famous for it's fat marbling and superb flavour

After having acquired the produce and ingredients from the market, the candidates together with their coach and commis chef, will have one hour in which to design and write down the recipe for their dish. 

The Judging process at the Bocuse d'Or can continue throughout the night

The Chef will then have 5 hours 35 minutes to prepare their competition entries and in order to remain close to the actual restaurant environment, the candidates will this year be required to prepare 14 plates and not 'trays' as in the previous competitions.

The 24 Countries that have qualified for Bocuse d’Or 2013 are

The Order of Competition at the 2013 Bocuse d'Or
You can see more details and a complete list of individual competitors, from each team, here at

Irish Beef Fillet is picked as the Key Ingredient at the Bocuse  d'Or 2013

To be picked as one of the key ingredients at the Boscuse d'Or Chef's Culinary Competition is a wonderful endorsement of Irish Beef and enforces the serious continued commitment of Irish farmers to their quality products.

For more details see the Bocuse d'Or website at


WIN a Flight Home to Ireland for The Gathering 2013 AND 2 Tickets to the GAA All Ireland Championships in September 2013

The Irish Food Guide in conjunction with A Taste of Donegal Food Festival invite you to Enter a Fantastic Competition to bring a loved one Home to Ireland for the Gathering Ireland 2013!

This year's A TASTE OF DONEGAL Food Festival takes place
in Donegal Town from 23 - 25 August 2013

We all know someone who we would love to bring home to Ireland for the Gathering Ireland 2013. You can Enter our Competition to Win a Return Flight to Ireland (Entry fee applies) for a family member or friend from anywhere in the World, plus €500 towards any Gathering Ireland event at a venue of your choice after the draw date.

Extra Prize Added February 2012

The Lucky winner will now also receive 
2 Tickets to the GAA All Ireland Championships 
in September 2013. These tickets are like ‘Gold’ 
so enter our competition now for a great chance to win.

Entry is only €10 and you can enter as often as you like to be in with a chance to bring that special someone home. Imagine the delight of your Mum, Dad, Brother, Sister, Niece , Nephew, Grandchildren, Boyfriend, Girlfriend etc if you won them a ticket home to your local Gathering event!

Or why not come home to Ireland yourself for the Gathering Ireland 2013!
offering you a great chance to win this fabulous prize!

Closing date for Entry is 28 February 2013 and The Winner will be notified by 7 March 2013.

To Enter:

Simply click the Enter Button below and you will be taken to Paypal to complete a Secure Payment for your entry. COMPETITION ENTRY FEE IS €10. Credit Cards are also acceptable via Paypal.
By Clicking "Enter" you agree to all the Competition Rules.

If you are unable to use Paypal you may contact Donegal Community Chamber for alternative ways to pay the entry fee. The Chamber telephone number is +353 74 97 23760 and email address is

Competition Rules, Terms & Conditions.

-The competition is organised and managed by Donegal Town Community Chamber of Commerce, Donegal Town.
-Entrants must be 18 or over.
-The prize can be used for any family member or friend who hold a valid passport at the time of travel.
-There will be no cash alternative to the travel ticket prize.
-A maximum of 1,000 tickets will be sold.
-There is no limit on the number of entries subject to the Competition maximum (2,000).
-Entries can be made from any part of the world.
-The Draw will be held at Donegal Community Chamber Offices on 6th March 2013 by Donegal Community Chamber Officials and a Local Dignitary.
-The Gathering Event can be in any of the 32 counties of Ireland including Northern Ireland.
-The closing date for entries is 28th February 2013.
-The judges decision is final.
-No refunds of entry fees will be allowed.
-Flight tickets for winner will be e-ticket only and will be Return Flights. Flights are subject to availability on preferred dates.
-Charges for flight or name changes after issue of the ticket will not be met by the Organisers.
-The prize must be claimed and used in 2013.
-Directors and employees of Donegal Town Community Chamber are not eligible to enter.
- The Irish Food Guide has no active or legal role in the management of the Draw.

Further Enquiries can be made to Donegal Town Community Chamber Ltd, Lurganboy, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland. Tel: 00353 74 97 23760 or email:

For more details of this year's A Taste of Donegal Food Festival see

Best of Luck!


The Best Irish Food Finds of 2012

2012 was a great year for Irish Food! People all over the country have been taking what was originally a hobby or pastime and have been creating new small food businesses with some wonderful results. These new food producers are evident at the many farmers markets, country markets and food festivals all over Ireland, north and south of the border.

Existing small food companies, with assistance from their County Enterprise Boards, have been expanding their business, employing people and gaining more recognition for their products at a growing number of Irish Food Awards ceremonies.

Restaurants are changing their attitude and are getting away from the one-stop-shop attitude of commercial purchasing. They have been getting hands-on with local growers and producers, often making a financial input to the development of a local new food business. This is generating a pride within the restaurateurs as they finally become aware of the fact that they too are a vital part in the chain of events that can help to grow and nurture new local food businesses.

Chefs all over the Ireland are driving this new food awakening by insisting that the food they now serve from their kitchen reflects the local produce of their own region as much as possible. This is helping to create a more honest food culture among Irish people, as the market-stall produce again becomes a part of our weekly shopping.

Established and well-travelled Irish food champions such as Darina Allen, John & Sally McKenna, Georgina Campbell, Peter Ward, Good Food IrelandThe Sheridan family, and others, have been enormously important in creating today's awareness about the passionate producers in our midst. A new generation of Irish chef's, restaurateurs, food writers and the ever-growing Irish food blogging community have learned much from these original food gurus. Their continued dedication to promoting Irish food is, in turn, encouraging a new generation of food producers to get back to basics.

Bordbia, the Irish Food Board, has been instrumental in helping Irish food producers get their product to market and especially to the export market. Irish Food has undergone a phenomenal growth in exports over the last year and our reputation abroad, for our quality food, is second to none. This is something we all should be proud off, especially in the current financial climate.

This can be a great time to start a food business. If you have passion and belief in what you are doing and in the produce you are making,  as the old saying goes: "People will taste the effort you put into it!"

My Twitter request for great "food finds of 2012" went out on the 28th December 2012 with 3 further retweets over the following few days:

I didn't give the request a push on Facebook this year as I believe I've got enough varied replies from across the Irish Food network via Twitter. From all the replies I have put together a fairly well balanced representation of some of the wonderful foods that people have discovered, for the first time, during 2012. Some of the foods are from producers who are already established or growing brand names. Some others are just getting started on their way. 

Do please note that these are not my choices. They have been sent in by Irish Food lovers around the country who have discovered a new flavour or food and loved it. 

Congrats to all who are included in the list. Again this year, one name came up more often in your replies than any other. We'll save that one till last! 

So here with full contact details, in alphabetical order and as voted by Irish Twitter Foodies, are...

The Best Irish Food Finds of 2012

Food Product       Producer               Contact Details

  • Annascaul Black Pudding

Annascaul Black Pudding Co., Annascaul, Co Kerry,

Tel: 066 9157127 - Thomas Ashe

  • Arun Bakery Artisan Bread

Arun Bakery, SPADE Centre, Nth King Street, Dublin 7

086 244 3193 - Vlad Rainis

  • Atlantic Spirulina  Sea-Veg seasoning

Quality Sea Veg. Co., Burtonport, Co. Donegal

+353 (0)74 – 9542159 - Manus McGonagle

  • Bellingham Blue Cheese

Glydefarm Produce, Mansfieldstown,
Castlebellingham, Co Louth

Tel: 042 937 2343 - 087 277 8538 – Peter Thomas

  • Boyne Valley Blue Cheese

Boyne Valley Blue, Mullagha Farm, Slane, Co Meath

Michael Finnegan

  • Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil

Broighter Gold, Limavady
BT49 9DY, Northern Ireland

Tel: 07912076607

  • Burkes Farm Ice Cream

Burkes Farm, Tara, Navan, County Meath

046-9025232 or 087-9532656
Bernie and John Burke

  • Carraig na Breac Smoked Duck

Carraig na Breac Smokehouse, Drumshanbo Co Leitrim

087 240 4289 - Peter and Niamh Curry

  • Cathy’s Spelt Bread Mixes

Cathy’s Spelt for Health, Riverside Business Centre, Tinahely, Co.Wicklow

Tel: 00353 (0) 402 28912  - Cathy Whitty

  • Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bread 

Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bakery, Cloughjordan Eco-Village, Co. Tipperary

Tel: 085-182 2777 Joe Fitzmaurice

  • Corleggy Cheese

Corleggy Cheese, Belturbet, Co Cavan

Tel: 049 9522930 Silke Cropp

  • Curraghchase Free-Range Pork

Rigneys Farm, Curraghchase, Kilcornan, Co.Limerick

Joe and Caroline Rigney

  • DeBrun Crab Claws

DeBrun Iasc Teo., Ballinaboula,  Dingle, Co. Kerry

Ted and Hannah Mae Browne
Tel: 066 9151933

  • Donegal Rapeseed Oil

Donegal Rapeseed Oil Co., Raphoe, Co Donegal

00353 (0)74 9145386 – Thomas Hughes

  • Highbank Orchard Syrup

Highbank Organic Orchard
Farmley, Cuffesgrange
Co Kilkenny

Tel: +353 56 7729918 - Rod Calder-Potts

  • Imokilly Regato Cheese

Dairygold Food Ingredients Ltd., Mogeely, Co Cork

Tel: 021 –4667220

  • Irish Waygu Beef

James Whelan & Sons Butchers, Clonmel
Co. Tipperary & Avoca Foodmarket, Monkstown
Co Dublin

Clonmel: 052 6182477
Dublin: 01 6638924
Pat Whelan

  • Kilree Cheese

Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese Co., Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny

Tel: +353 (0)56 7728446 - Helen Finnegan

  • Lannléire Honey

Lannléire Honey, Trean, Dunleer, Co. Louth

Eoghan MacGiolla Coda - Tel: 041 6861884

  • Lavistown Cheese

Knockdrinna Farnhouse Cheese Co., Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny

Tel: +353 (0)56 7728446 – Helen Finnegan

  • Longueville House Cider

Longueville House, Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)22 47156  - William O’Callaghan

  • Moran’s Basil Pesto

Moran’s Homestore, Ballinagh,Co.Cavan

Phone: 049-4367556  Kieron & Claire Moran

  • Old Farm Free-Range Pork

Oldfarm, Redwood, Lorrha, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Tel: 086 8100 125 – Margaret & Alfie O'Farrell

  • Rhubarb & Elderflower Jam

Inishowen Home Baking, Drumaville, Malin, Co Donegal

Tel: 086 0840633 - Janine Strong

  • Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream

Suzanna at Zwartbles Ireland

  • Slow Food Co Artisan Bread

Slow Food Co., Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal

Kemal Scarpello - +353(0)749156777

  • St Tola Goats Cheese Ash Log

St Tola Cheese, Inagh, Co Clare

Tel: +353 (0)65 68 36633 - Siobhan Ní Ghairbhith

  • Tastefully Yours Beetroot & Orange Chutney

Tastefully Yours - Dunhill, Co Waterford

Norbert Thul and Audrea Hassett - (051) 396 590

  • The Whole Hoggs Free Range Pork

The Whole Hoggs, Slane, Co Meath

Peter & Susan Whelan - Tel: 086 2708809

  • Toons Bridge Buffalo Mozzarella

Toons Bridge Dairy. Old Creamery, Macroom, Cork

Tel: 026 41471 - Jenny-Rose Clarke

  • Wicklow Gold Nettle & Chive Cheese

Wicklow Gold Farmhouse Cheese, Curranstown, Arklow, Co Wicklow

Tel: 0402 91713 - John and Bernie Hempenstall

And the most mentioned "#BestIrishFood " of 2012 is...
Trout Caviar from Ger & Mags Kirwan

Trout Caviar from Ger & Mags Kirwan

Launched at the start of March 2012, Goatsbridge Trout Caviar has taken the Irish food scene by storm. Caviar is processed, salted fish roe or eggs and is regarded as a luxury food delicacy and ancient gourmet treat. There are several types with the best-known form of caviar coming from a fish called a 'Sturgeon'. But trout caviar has grown in global popularity in recent years.

“Trout caviar is good enough to eat off the spoon. It has large, golden-orange beads and a subtle flavour with a nice ‘pop’ when you bite into it," says Mags Kirwan of Goatsbridge "and have been very heartened by the response from the restaurant and food sector here so far.”

Trout Caviar by Ger & Mags Kirwan from Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Kilkenny

For more details on Goatsbridge Trout Caviar see

Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Tel: +353 (0)86 818 8340 
You can follow them @goatsbridge on Twitter

Thanks to everyone who sent in their special food finds of the year. 
Happy New Year to all.

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