Revealed: Ireland’s real food heroes

Beef, butter and potatoes among winners of Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards

 Marion Roeleveld, who makes Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, is the recipent of a lifetime achievement in the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Awards 2021. Photographs: Paul Sherwood.

Marion Roeleveld, who makes Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, is the recipent of a lifetime achievement in the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Awards 2021. Photographs: Paul Sherwood.

 

Producers of beef, butter and potatoes are among the winners of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards for 2021. The awards, now in their 27th year, are presented annually, after a series of nominations and blind taste tests conducted by members of the guild.

“In a year in which there has been a newfound appreciation for the simple pleasures in life, it is perhaps no coincidence that the winners of the 2021 Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG) Food Awards reflect the basic foundations of Irish food,” said IFWG chairwoman Kristin Jensen, who announced this year’s winners on Thursday.

Cork butcher Tom Durcan’s traditional spiced beef.
Cork butcher Tom Durcan’s traditional spiced beef.

Three food products were chosen to receive awards. They are Abernethy Butter, made in Dromara, Co Down by Allison and Will Abernethy; Ballymakenny Farm Irish Heritage and Specialty Potatoes, grown in Co Louth by Maria and David Flynn, and Tom Durcan’s traditional spiced beef, which has been sold at Durcan’s butcher shop in Cork’s English market since 1985.

One Irish drink producer was singled out for an award. Kinsale Mead’s Wild Red Mead is made with Irish blackberries and also cherries, matured in merlot casks. The company, set up in 2017 by Kate and Denis Dempsey, is the first commercial meadery in Ireland in more than 200 years.

NeighbourFood, an online marketplace that connects producers with consumers, was set up in Cork in 2018 by Jack Crotty and Martin Poucher and now has 40 locations in Ireland and a further 20 in the UK. It is the Outstanding Organisation Award winner.

James Kelly of Ballymore Organics.
James Kelly of Ballymore Organics.

The environmental award winner is Ballymore Organics, a Co Kildare producer of organic porridge oats, stoneground flour and semolina. The Green-Schools Food & Biodiversity Theme, which has been developed to teach children about food in an engaging and creative way, is the winner of the Community Food Award.

The Lifetime Achievement award winner is Marion Roeleveld, who has been making Killeen Farmhouse Cheese in Portumna, Co Galway since 2004.

“The past year has seen a seismic shift in how people are thinking about their food, with a renewed focus on traceability, sustainability and most importantly this year, supporting local,” Kristin Jensen said. “Today’s winners have an innate passion for food and their commitment is nothing short of vocational. This is our way of recognising their achievements and our way of saying well done and thank you.”

The recipients of the 2021 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards are:

Food Awards
Abernethy Butter, Co Down
Ballymakenny Farm Irish Heritage and Specialty Potatoes, Co Louth
Tom Durcan’s Spiced Beef, Co Cork

Irish Drink Award
Kinsale Mead Wild Red Mead - Merlot Barrel Aged, Co Cork

Outstanding Organisation Award
NeighbourFood, Co Cork

Environmental Award
Ballymore Organics, Co Kildare

Community Food Award
The Green-Schools Food & Biodiversity Theme

Lifetime Achievement Award
Marion Roeleveld, Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, Co Galway

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