Showing posts with label Irish Quality Food Awards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Irish Quality Food Awards. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Susan’s Award-winning ‘Jewelled Christmas Cake’ Is A Festival Gem

Susan’s Award-winning
 ‘Jewelled Christmas Cake’ Is A Festival Gem

Great excitement for Susan Robbins Fehilly when her Christmas cake was declared the overall winner at the recent Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards. I could say it was the icing on the cake but there’s no icing on this champion, just a crown of preserved fruits and nuts. 

The “Jewelled Christmas Cake” is indeed a winner as I found out when I sampled it last weekend. I spoke to Susan who recalled the night of triumph: “What a fantastic night it was at the Irish Quality Food Awards 2019! Winning not only the Christmas cakes and pudding category, but also the overall Christmas Q award. Of course, not forgetting our Chocolate and Raspberry cake which won the Good Choice cakes and biscuit category!”  Wildberry is a regular award winner but this was something special.
And that cake is something special. Once I got it home, a small slice was extracted and I sat down in anticipation with an Americano at hand. It is absolutely delicious. The fruit cake itself is superb, wonderful textures and flavours and the fruit and nuts from the crown add an extra individual flavour as you take a nibble from the top of your slice every now and then. Easy to see why the judges went for this one, Wildberry’s first attempt at the Christmas Cake market.

The Wildberry bakery is located in the village of Ballineen, West Cork. It has both a Gluten Free & a Floury unit. Their complete focus is on taste and quality. All cakes are handmade to taste perfection using only the best ingredients. For instance, Clonakilty free range eggs and Bandon butter are used in the Christmas cake, no preservatives, no additives. Susan’s ethos is to create great flavours and textures, particularly in her Gluten Free Range. Her influences are French but her passion is for Irish ingredients and the excellence of Irish food.

It also looks stunning, with that necklace of preserved fruits and nuts on top instead of traditional icing. And a little tip. All you need here is a small slice, such is the concentration of flavour. It’s a bit like sipping a very fine wine as against a run of the mill bottle -  a little goes on long way. At an rrp of €15 for an 800g cake, this would be a welcome gift in any home, especially your own!

It is available in in the following Dunnes stores, at the ABC Bread concessions: Cornelscourt, Rathmines, Naas, Bishopscourt [ Bandon Rd ] Cork, Jetland [ Limerick].
The 800g [€15] and the 1600g [ €25] are also available at ABC in the English Market.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Flight of the Bee Sensations

Flight to the Top for Bee Sensations
Irish Quality Food Awards 2014.

Great to be at the table with Bee Sensations last Friday evening when one of their lovely jams won at the Irish Quality Food Awards 2014. On the Pig’s Back and Burren Salmon were also among the victors on a night which is mainly for the supermarkets and the larger producers (such as Dale Farm Dairies, ABP Cahir, Kepak, and O’Brien Fine Foods who were all on the podium).

Munster based Bee Sensations are a husband and wife company, run by Tom and Croéin Ruttle. They are quite famous for their innovative (often blended) jams, which use honey instead of sugar, and of course for their honey. As it happened it was one of their jams, the Honeyed Fig, Rhubarb and Chilli Savoury Jam, that struck gold in the Grocery Ambient - Savoury class.

But there was a moment of unnecessary drama before the win was confirmed as apparently the wrong class was called out first. Still, the busy couple were soon able to relax as their name appeared on screen. It was about the only obvious hitch in a very slick presentation, introduced by Paul Kennedy and compered by celebrity chef Catherine Fulvio (“a farmer’s daughter”).

Birgitta Curtin is one of the heroes of Irish food and she keeps innovating and winning. Her success came  in the Fish section where her Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon with Seaweed Marinade came out on top. This came in for high praise from the judges: “really fantastic in terms of colour, texture and flavour”. Like Bee Sensations (and unlike most of the other producers), she didn't have a supermarket partner listed.
Olivia, of An Olivia Chocolate, and, sister Emily (left)
But Cobh’s Deirdre Hilliard and her company Just Food weren't as  fortunate in the Soups section. Her HiLo Super Greens Soup was behind a Lidl Ireland soup, Newgate Tomato Soup by Princes (the international food and drink company).

The cross-border event is labelled Irish Quality Food Awards not Quality Irish Food Awards. There is a difference as we all know from small print on food packaging! Honey is one often quoted example.

Cork’s Isabelle Sheridan of On the Pig's Back certainly enjoyed her trip to the Mansion House as she was named the Supervalu Small Producer of the Year.  Based on her French family recipes, Isabelle has been making chicken liver patés and terrines in Cork since 1995. Her Chicken Liver Paté with Garlic and Brandy is the product that led to this breakthrough and the organisers say they are sure “it will be a fantastic addition to Supervalu’s product line and look forward to working with On the Pig’s Back”. Well done Isabelle.

The awards are open to all retailers, food producers, wholesalers and food service operators “across Northern and Southern Ireland” (someone should tell the PR it is the Republic of Ireland!). Awards were presented in some fifty categories and the Overall Gold Q Award went to Simply Better French Trimmed Connemara Hill Rack of Lamb (Dunnes Stores/Tendermeats).
Yours truly with Isabelle Sheridan (On The Pig's Back)
See the full list of awards here.

Blas na hEireann update on Bee Sensations July 2015 here