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  • Writer's picturegfmeade7


The last thirty years have seen Ireland’s food and drinks culture being transformed enormously and it’s very easy to think for a younger generation it was always like that but it’s far from it. I have seen and lived the story. I recall in the eighties the sheer contrast in the range of foods available here in contrast to the bounty of exotica on the continent whenever I visited there. You could not even get a shallot in Dublin back then.

I remember one of my early head chefs having to carve his initials on a sirloin of beef and the butcher having to take it away and bring it back in a couple of weeks when it had properly matured. The explosion of our culinary scene that followed from an abundance of decent places to eat and stay in, to the full gamut of artisan foods at every turn now and a modern informed public fed on a diet of TV food and magazines never mind all the exposure while travelling abroad. This all means Ireland is now at the top table of food which is good news for the ten million visitors who would normally come to our shores and we hope to see again.

Trim Castle illuminated green with envy

for St. Patrick's Day. Photo: David Gorey

Our product is firmly established we just need to continue to tell the world about it. The state does a decent job in marketing Ireland Inc. around the world and our quality standards really do carry weight like our Origin Green and Bord Bia initiatives. At this time of year our ministers are usually donning the green jersey while on a whistle stopping blitz of world capitals flying the flag of Ireland’s greatness.

On a commercial front there are flag bearers too. There are annual awards giving out foodie gongs, supermarkets stocking local producers, there are food tours and festivals, agri-tourism thrives, our international accreditation's and Michelin stars descend and we even make our own decent wine now as well as dozens of tasty craft beers and spirits.

One important home grown commercial promoter is called Good Food Ireland initiated in the noughties by a visionary founder and with a very talented colleague of mine recently joining their team.

It came together as a result of our national food brand needing to be presented in a way that engaged both the Irish public and our tourism like a tried and tested one stop shop window for all our good stuff on offer. As well as inspecting and listing all the businesses that will not let you down, they offer products for sale and even organize tours for food and tasting experiences.

With all the fudging and misinformation online these days it is important to have guides like this that have its integrity in place. If you do not measure up you simply do not make the cut. The public and visitors to Ireland are seeking a resource that can be trusted and Good Food Ireland is an example of a company that delivers well.

McCormack's Farms in Meath is one of

Ireland's best food producers.

There will always be the messers in any sector, the proverbial bad apples and they can rot away on their own. When it comes to putting the best foot forward we need to have the operators that work hard and strive for our quality offerings being rightly highlighted.

After the last two years the economy and especially tourism is about to reboot and everybody has to play their part in getting it back on the road again. Our stellar reputation has been hard earned and now it’s time to reap the rewards again. Our staycations should not be packed away either, we have shown we can holiday at home, enjoying the fantastic food and hospitality that we give tourists and support local jobs and enterprise in the process. This must carry on; the green jersey is for everyone on Team Ireland and there is now a serious match to be played. Lets get out there and sock it to them.

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