The Guild’s first-ever drink award, Stonewell Cider is made in Belgooley, County Cork, by Daniel Emerson and his wife Géraldine who hails from the Loire region and comes from a family that’s been making wine for centuries.
Inspired by a gift from Géraldine’s father of an old French cider press and convinced there could be a market for cider, they set out to make traditional, additive-free cider with local, Irish-grown apples.
Their cider blends – Dry and Medium Dry – were developed using the old cider press. Now, a more modern press has been employed using five varieties of apples including traditional cider apples from growers in the renowned apple-growing areas of Cork, Kilkenny, West Waterford and Carlow.
Indeed Cork’s reputation as the food capital of Ireland received a new boost at the 2014 IGFW Awards with six of the seven awards going to Cork producers, organisations or individuals.
The 2014 IFWG Food Award winners are Cork’s Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms; Coolea Matured Farmhouse Cheese and Irish Atlantic Sea Salt. Stonewell Cider (Co Cork) claimed the Guild’s inaugural Drink Award and Dermot Carey and David Langford were awarded for their notable contribution to Irish food for their expansive Heritage Irish Potato Collection.
An Environmental Award was presented to Responsible Irish Fish (Co Cork) for its commitment to the development of sustainable fishing practices and a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the inimitable Corkonian Myrtle Allen.
Now in its 20th year, the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards recognise and reward producers of the highest quality food together with industry stalwarts who devote their lives to supporting and promoting Irish food.
The Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Myrtile Allen.
“These awards are a national celebration of fine food and outstanding producers, all of whom have one thing in common, a commitment to innovation, which is proving integral to Ireland’s reputation at home and abroad,” said IFWG Chairperson Lizzie Gore Grimes, “Without innovation, we would not have this dynamic and vibrant food industry.
“Innovation underpins Ireland’s great success story in food and drink and according to a recent Bord Bia study, 91% of exporters in the sector reported that they had introduced new products in the past three years.
L’Ecrivain’s Executive Chef Derry Clarke created a lunch incorporating all of the award-winning products in dishes which ranged from Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms Consommé with Coolea Cheese Tortellini to Responsible Irish Fish Cured & Smoked Mackerel, Heritage Irish Collection Potato Salad, Beetroot and Horseradish followed by Dry Aged Beef, Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms and Coolea Cheese. A dessert of Irish Atlantic Sea Salt Caramel Mousse & Stonewell Cider Sorbet, Pickled Apples, Cinnamon Crumble and Clotted Cream completed the special menu.