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Irish National Brown Bread Baking Competition Sponsored by Aldi, Launches for 2019

And there's up to €15,000 on offer for the overall winner!

Aldi are once again sponsoring The National Brown Bread Baking Competition, in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).

 Relaunched five years ago by the NPA, the event has proven to be a huge success, with entries from each one of the 26 counties. NPA MD Anna May Mc Hugh and ICA President Josephine Helly were joined today by Sile Seoige (MC of the competition), Emma Ferguson (2018 winner) and Eileen Brennan (NPA) to announce details of this year’s competition.

The National Brown Bread Baking competition is open to both members and non-members of the ICA, and baking enthusiasts have the opportunity to earn some serious 'dough', with a share of the profits from the sale of their winning loaf once it goes on sale in Aldi*.

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said “Given the huge popularity and success of the National Brown Bread Baking competition at Ploughing over the past four years, we are once again delighted to be renewing our partnership with Aldi and the ICA.  It is wonderful to see the long and great tradition of baking in Ireland alive and well at Ploughing.  The total attendance figures for the 2018 National Championships  came to over 240,000 and this year’s event in the new location of Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow looks set to be bigger and better than ever.”

The 2018 Aldi Brown Bread Baking Competition Winner, Emma Ferguson from County Meath

Once again this year, entering the competition will be easier than ever, and Aldi is encouraging any bakers over the age of 16 to take part to be in with a chance of seeing their bread on shelves nationwide.

Keen bakers can enter via the Aldi heats by dropping their bread off at the following locations on the following dates:

  • Aldi Ireland Head Office, Newbridge Road, Naas, Co. Kildare (12th June 2019 from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Regional Office, Limerick Road, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork (12th June 2019 from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Store, New Town Centre, Oranmore, Co. Galway (19th June from 10.30am – 1pm)
  • Aldi Store, Wexford Retail Park, Clonard Little, Wexford (19th June from 10.30am – 1pm)

All entries must be clearly marked with the bakers Name, Address and contact number.

Group Buying Director, John Curtin said, "At Aldi, we are a proud supporter of Irish suppliers so we are delighted to sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition again, celebrating something as quintessentially Irish as brown bread. ‘Emma’s Brown Bread’ has proven a hit with our customers, and we hope the winner this year will achieve the same success with their brown bread. Now, we are making it easier than ever for people to enter with our regional drop off points, and so we hope to see keen bakers getting involved. At Aldi, we sell a range of great value baking essentials in our 137 stores nationwide so consumers can stock their pantries and make home baked goods all year round.”

ICA members can participate in the competition through local Guilds, with heats taking place nationwide and regional finals taking place at An Grianán, ICA Adult Education Centre on July 18th

Speaking at the launch, Josephine Helly, President of the ICA said, Our members are once again delighted to be taking part in the National Brown Bread Baking Competition to find the best Brown Bread baker in Ireland.  There has been huge interest and the winner will be generously rewarded.”

The four finalists selected from the Aldi bread drops, along with the four finalists selected through the ICA will compete at the National Finals. The National Finals will be held from 17th – 19th September at the Aldi Marquee during the 2019 National Ploughing Championships in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow.

If you think you have the recipe for success, log onto or for information on how to enter and further details about the county finals.

The winner’s brown bread will also be stocked in all Aldi Stores in Ireland for twelve months and they will receive a share of the profits, which could reach €15,000 for the year.

Also keep an eye on hashtags #AldiPloughing and #Ploughing19 on all social media platforms!


Taste The Island - A Celebration of Food and Drink All Over Ireland

“We know that our food and drink experiences are world class, now we want the World to know too.”

Taste the Island, an All-Island Celebration of the amazing food and drink produced here in Ireland will showcase Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland's Food & Drink, together for the first time, from September to November 2019.

This new initiative has been developed in response to growing global interest in food and drink by Fáilte Ireland, in collaboration with Tourism Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and a range of stakeholders. 

Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the whole island of Ireland overseas, as a leading holiday destination.

The extensive programme running all over Ireland, for three months, will help create an international awareness and renewed appreciation at home and abroad of the strength and richness of Ireland’s cuisine today. 

This is an excellent opportunity to internationally market the modern food offerings that are available here on the island of Ireland and to finally purge the perception abroad that the only food people eat in Ireland is bacon and cabbage, breakfast fries and potatoes!

The aim of the Taste The Island program of events is to provide visitors with access to authentic food and drink experiences, high quality local ingredients and world class Irish food and drink produce and further develop the Irish Food Tourism experiences available around the whole island. (see also

Workshops are currently being rolled out throughout the country, from Donegal to Limerick and from Athlone to Dingle, to inform the local food and drink industry about this exciting initiative for food and drink providers. The workshops have been organised for the industry to learn more and provide them with the opportunity to shape the development of a programme of events and experiences for 2019.

Martina Kerr Bromley, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Enterprise Development, said, We are urging people in the food and drink industry throughout Ireland to get involved and participate in our upcoming workshops in your area.  The programme of events for ‘Taste the Island’, will include visits to food producers, distillers and brewers; food trails, food festivals, participation in traditional skills, opportunities to forage, traditional pubs, small-town cafés, restaurants, city bistros and Michelin-starred experiences."

Tracey Coughlan, Fáilte Ireland’s Food Strategy Manager, added, We’ve done the research and know that in order to respond to the rapid growth in travel today and increasing visitor expectations around food and drink, an initiative of scale is required to maximise our full potential in all areas. The international competition is intense, if we want to ensure that the tourism industry capitalises fully, this initiative will have to grow on a sustained annual basis.”

Businesses and event organisers are invited to come along to the workshops to hear more details on how tourism can play a role in their business.

Taste the Island Workshop details for the Republic of Ireland are as follows:

Attendance at all Taste The Island Workshops is FREE but you must register in advance. Registration is via the Failte Ireland Trade Portal (Click Here)  Simply sign in with your FI account details or sign up if you do not have an account - its very easy.

Taste the Island Workshop details for Northern Ireland are as follows:

Tourism Northern Ireland is truly excited to announce their involvement in Taste the Island - A Celebration of Ireland’s Food and Drink.

2019 will be the first of a three-year commitment, delivered in conjunction with their partners at Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland. The timing of the 8 week programme will build on the success of the 2016 Year of Food and Drink and coincides as they celebrate Northern Ireland winning ‘Best Food Destination’ at the International Travel and Tourism Awards 2018/19.

The all island celebration will provide to visitors, both domestic and international, compelling reasons to visit Northern Ireland through the promotion of festivals and events, high quality local produce and authentic food and drink experiences.  Taste the Island aims to enhance our food and drink reputation by showcasing our high quality produce and experiences, as well as assisting in seasonal extension and regional distribution. 

Tourism NI is inviting businesses, networks and individuals interested in providing tourists with a food or drink experience to attend workshops in their local area to find out how they can get involved in ‘Taste the Island’.  

Information sessions will inform the sector about this exciting food and drink initiative.  These workshops have been organised to help the industry to learn more and provide them with the opportunity to shape the development of a programme of events and experiences for 2019 and beyond.

Northern Ireland #TasteTheIsland Workshop details are as follows:

Thursday 30th May 11:00-13:15 - Clandeboye Lodge Hotel, Bangor

Friday 31st May 14:00-16:15 – The Hill of the O’Neill & Ranfurly House, Dungannon

Monday 3rd June 14:00-16:15 - Bishops Gate Hotel, Derry/Londonderry

To register your attendance at one of the information sessions, go to the Northern Ireland #TasteTheIsland Registration Page HERE and register the amount of Delegate places you want, then click Continue to Registration Details to select the session you wish to attend.

If you have a food business or a tourism business that could have a food element attached to it I would highly recommend that you attend your nearest Taste The Island Workshop and take advantage of this amazing opportunity. 

Can you imagine the international marketing kudos that the Island of Ireland will benefit from by showing that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are working together to showcase our amazing food and tourism product. 

I'm personally so delighted to see this All-Ireland Celebration of All of Ireland’s Food and Drink and the excellent collaboration that is going to really help the island of Ireland to change the perception of our Irish Food away from being though of as only Potatoes, Bacon & Cabbage, Stew or the Ulster Fry! 

I'm also very proud of the people in Failte Ireland, TourismNI and Tourism Ireland for working together to promote our amazing Irish Food, from all over the island of Ireland!

Keep an eye on hashtag #TasteTheIsland all social media channels for more news and info.

Happy Days and Taste The Island!

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