Bord Bia and six of the State's biggest meat exporters are exhibiting their culinary wares at a major food trade fair in Lyon, the gastro capital of France, this week.
The biennial Sirha gathering, which started on Saturday and runs until Wednesday, is one of the industry’s biggest events, with over 200,000 visitors, including 19,000 international chefs, expected to attend.
Leading Irish beef and sheep meat exporters are operating from the Origin Green Ireland pavilion, where Bord Bia will facilitate business meetings and arrange product tasting for key customers.
The Irish stand will also focus on promoting the Origin Green programme, Bord Bia’s sustainability initiative, as well as providing details on the Chef’s Irish Beef Club and the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme.
The Irish exhibitors at the Lyon event include John Stone, Kepak, ABP Ireland, Liffey Meats, Slaney Foods, Irish Country Meats and Kildare Chilling.
France is Ireland's largest euro zone market for beef, accounting for 23 per cent of Irish beef exports to continental Europe, worth €260 million. It is also Ireland's biggest export market for sheep meat with a value of €90 million or 42 per cent of total global sheep meat exports.
Bord Bia's chief Aidan Cotter said the event provided an ideal platform for Irish exporters to secure new business and "deepen relationships with existing French and international customers".
In 2013, Irish beef was selected as the main meat dish for the prestigious Bocuse d'Or chefs competition at Sirha, presided over by the famous French chef Paul Bocuse.
This year two special Irish dishes created by Michelin star chef Pierre Caillet, a member of Chefs Irish Beef Club, will be presented at the event.
His dishes, which will be tasted by those attending the winners event, will consist of: Irish beef tartare Normandy style accompanied with crispy onions, Normandy cider and mustard and; Mini Irish cheek meat burgers (marinated in Guinness) and served with an organic Irish mild cheddar cheese from the Little Milk Company.
"Over 250 of the who's who in the culinary world will attend this winners evening. This influential network of chefs and food media will have the opportunity to taste top quality Irish meat and experience its versatility, this can only be positive for our reputation in the international food service arena," Noreen Lanigan, Bord Bia director for France said.