The judging for the Restaurants' Association of Ireland 'Foodie Destination' took place in Cavan on Thursday, 16th August, when judges Zack Gallagher and Wendy Kavanagh of Irish Food Tours and Food Adventure visited the county.
Published on: 17 Aug 2018
The judges' scores will comprise 75% of the overall marks, while the remaining 25% is down to the online vote, which closes on 21st August. Votes for Cavan can be cast at www.foodiedestinations.ie/city/cavan.
During a hectic three-hour visit, the guest judges were greeted at Cavan County Council's offices by the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Madeleine Argue, Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Mr Tommy Ryan, along with celebrity chefs Gearóid Lynch and Neven Maguire.
The judges were then brought on a tour of Cavan Town's recent Food Trail, stopping off at Delish café to try a sample pulled pork dish prepared by chef-owner Gregory Lawton with local produce from McCarren's.
The judges then attended a producers' expo where local producers including Áine Handmade Chocolate, Charlene's Wholesome Pantry, Margaret's Eggs, Coole Swan, CAMCAS Community Garden, Barry John's Sausages, Moran's Megajam, Drummully Boxty, Fitzpatrick's Gourmet Ketchup, Manor Farm Chicken, Corleggy Cheese, Ice Cream Treats, Cully's Craft Bakery, and Breffni Mushrooms displayed their wares.
Chefs Joe Shah (The Oak Room) and Gearóid Lynch (The Olde Post) then prepared some local taster dishes for the chefs using ingredients including meat from Paddy Gaynor butchers, honey from producer Eamon Hand, and chocolate from Áine Handmade Chocolate. Chef Gearóid Lynch, a Fáilte Ireland Food Champion, spoke passionately about the collaboration that is taking place across Cavan between restaurants, hoteliers, B&Bs, shops and cafés in promoting local food, while Joanne Hayes, Tourism Officer with Cavan County Council outlined how food plays a key role in the fantastic experience enjoyed by visitors to Cavan.
The judges were then treated to a tour of the impressive gardens of Chef Richard Corrigan's Virginia Park Lodge by Chef Eoin Corcoran and Head Gardener Priscilla O'Reilly, before enjoying a lunch overlooking beautiful Lough Ramor at St Kyran's Country House.
Speaking following the visit, Cathaoirleach Cllr Madeleine Argue said, "I was delighted to welcome the Foodie Destination judges to Cavan today. For our county to be named one of the top ten food destinations in Ireland for 2018 is already a fantastic achievement, and I am confident we have made a great impression here today".
"I would like to pay tribute to all the members of our food and tourism sector here in Cavan, the staff in Cavan County Council, Local Enterprise Office, Cavan, Cavan Institute, Cavan Chamber and all of the other partners, who have been involved in this process so far. Thanks to your efforts, Cavan is deservedly now known as the home of great food," she added.
The overall winner of Foodie Destination 2018 will be announced at a ceremony in Carlow on Wednesday, 29 August. Vote for Cavan at www.foodiedestinations.ie/city/cavan