A Celebration of the success and achievements of Laois Taste Food and Drink Producers in 2023

A Display of Gastronomic Triumphs

Nestled in the historic heart of Ballykilcavan Farm and Brewery, an event on the 29th of November 2023 unfolded that was nothing short of a culinary carnival. The Laois Taste event showcased the superb food and drink offerings available in Laois and celebrated the remarkable achievements of Laois Taste food and drink members. The gathering wasn’t just an event; it was a testament to the county’s rich and evolving food and drink landscape.

As guests wandered through the venue, they couldn’t help but be awed by the display of 28 prestigious awards, symbolizing the unparalleled excellence of Laois Taste members. These accolades ranged from the coveted Blas na hÉireann and Irish Food Quality Awards to the SEAI Environmental Sustainability Awards, not forgetting the World Baking Silver Awards, the EU Organic Award, and the Better Farming Finalists. Each award sat proudly next to the winning product, a visual feast that told stories of dedication, innovation, and passion.

A Gathering of Local Heroes

The event was graced by the supporters of the Laois Taste Provenance Scheme. Notably present were the representatives from Mulhall’s Supervalu Portlaoise, spanning two generations, alongside Breslin’s Supervalu Abbeyleix. The father-daughter duo, Tom Treacy and Fiona Hyland from Treacy’s Bar and Restaurant, and Deirdre from Solas Garden Centre Shop and Café added to the familial warmth of the occasion.

Mueller O’Connell was a standout, donning multiple hats as a proud member of Laois Taste and the Provenance scheme. Their contribution was not just in presence but in flavour too, offering a spread that featured the finest of Laois Taste ingredients. Picture this: succulent pork from Fiorbhia Farm, fresh leaves from the renowned John Egan, aka Farmer J, all complemented by their delectable pastries.

Further tantalizing the taste buds, Stradbally Fayre showcased a spread that was a testament to local sourcing, featuring Granstown eggs, Gee’s Jam, Farmer J’s leaves, and Ballyrider Granola. Each bite was a celebration of the county’s agricultural bounty.

Pride and Praise from a Culinary Icon

A highlight of the evening was the presence of Darina Allen from the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Hailing from Laois herself, Allen’s glowing review of our producers and their products resonated with everyone present. Her words, ‘I couldn’t be prouder’, echoed the sentiment of the afternoon, encapsulating the pride and admiration for what Laois Taste members have achieved.

The Laois Taste Awards didn’t just celebrate awards and accolades; they celebrated a community bound by a love for quality, sustainability, and the joy of good food. For those of us in County Laois and across Ireland, particularly those passionate about quality food and drink, this event wasn’t just an evening of recognition but an example of inspiration.

Food writers, journalists, and enthusiasts left the event with palates delighted, knowing that in the heart of Laois, culinary excellence isn’t just a pursuit – it’s a tradition that continues to flourish, season after season.