Boyne Valley Producers Successful at Irish Food Writers' Guild Awards

Boyne Valley Producers Successful at Irish Food Writers' Guild Awards

We are delighted to share the news that Carlingford Oyster Company and Roll It Pastry were both winners at yesterdays Irish Food Writers' Guild Awards in Dublin. The awards, now in their 31st year, spotlight excellence and distinguishable quality in Irish produce and its committed creators. Sustainability is a consistent thread and numerous family businesses have been recognised over three decades not only for their excellent produce and practices, but also for the lasting and enduring legacy they are creating for current and future generations.

The IFWG Food Awards are unique in that no business or individual can enter, nor do they know if they have been nominated for an award. The Guild is the sole nominating and decision-making body* whose members nominate and anonymously buy products for tasting. Proportional representation voting is undertaken at a Guild tasting meeting. Winning products must be produced in Ireland and the main ingredient must be Irish grown or produced.

Food Award: Carlingford Oysters, Carlingford Oyster Company, Co. Louth.

We have some of the best oysters in the world in Ireland - they are nature’s real treasurers. Many people will be familiar with Carlingford Oysters, a Pacific oyster that has a sweet nutty flavour followed by a slight tannic lingering aftertaste. It is this unique taste and high meat content that has made them a highly regarded specimen in many of the top restaurants here in Ireland and right across the United Kingdom.  This is a family business based in the heart of Carlingford Lough where oysters have thrived for many centuries. The origins of the business can be traced back to the late 1960s when Peter Louët Feisser and his wife Anna sailed into Carlingford Lough on a wooden yacht. Struck by the Lough’s natural beauty, they decided to make it their home. In 1974, Peter started growing oysters and - now in his 80s - can still be found working in the Lough at low tide. Peter’s son Kian and Kian’s wife Mary are at the helm of this family business, while Peter and Anna’s grandchildren work on the farm in their holidays.
It takes over three years for Carlingford Oysters to reach maturity. They are rich in protein and low in fat with exceptionally high levels of trace elements such as iodine, iron, selenium copper and zinc. Taking advantage of  the perfect growing conditions available in the Lough, Carlingford Oysters are as natural and pure as food can be, making them a well-deserved winner at today’s awards.

Food Award: Roll It All Butter Pastry, Roll It Pastry, Co. Meath. 

Mairead Finnegan's Roll It All Butter Pastry is comfort and convenience all rolled into one. Her pastry dough can be the basis for many meals from the homeliest to the most sophisticated. It can be used to make childhood classics, like chaussons aux pommes and galettes des rois or some fun jambons on a lazy Sunday morning. Most importantly, it can be used with the confidence you feel around food that has been made consistently, simply and excellently. 
Mairead makes the pastry at a production kitchen beside her home in Kells, Co Meath. She uses simple and honest ingredients, including Irish butter and locally milled flour. Some of her doughs are enriched with a bit of sugar and vanilla and all are consistent in their deliciousness and ease of use.
Few things in life are more satisfying than warm pastry just out of the oven and with Roll It All Butter Pastry you can be both satisfied and confident that you are using the best of Irish ingredients. 

The full list of winners of the 2024 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards are:

  • Food Award: Carlingford Oysters, Co. Louth. A Pacific oyster with a sweet nutty flavour followed by a slight tannic lingering aftertaste that takes more than three years to reach maturity.
  • Food Award: Regan Organic Chicken, Co. Wexford. A case-study of an alternative food system at work, each step of the Regan Organic Chicken process is designed to care for the welfare of the birds and to maintain a close connection to nature and natural food production.
  • Food Award: Roll It All Butter Pastry, Co. Meath. Comfort and convenience all rolled into one, Mairead Finnegan’ uses simple and honest Irish ingredients to produce a pastry that is easy to use and free from additives and preservatives.
  • Irish Drink Award: Valentia Island Vermouth, Co. Kerry. Ór Valentia Island Vermouth has been making a splash as the first ever Irish vermouth created by the innovative wife-and-wife team Anna and Orla Snook O'Carroll.
  • Notable Contribution to Irish Food: Conor Spacey, Co. Dublin. Through his work with organisations such as Food Space, and as co-creator of The Chefs' Manifesto, Conor Spacey shows that a zero-waste approach to food in hospitality settings is not only attainable but cost effective too.
  • Environmental Award: Rare Ruminare, Co. Sligo. The goal at Rare Ruminare is to produce the heathiest and best tasting meat possible. Clive Bright’s holistic grazing management approach uses carefully planned grazing events followed by long recovery periods, moving the cattle around to emulate natural herding behaviour.
  • Community Food Award: Cork Urban Soil Project, Co. Cork. CUSP was established in 2017 by a collective of forward-thinking activists and creative dreamers who see food as a tool for social change. Their aim was to test and model a ‘closed loop’ community-scale waste system, one that treats food scraps as a valuable resource for the community.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter and Mary Ward of Country Choice, Co. Tipperary. Peter and Mary Ward have ben passionate champions of local food since they opened Country Choice in 1982, selling the best and most natural ingredients they can source.

Congratulations and well done to all the winnners!

Group photos courtesy of the Irish Food Writers' Guild.