Donegal is on the rise from a food perspective and there is a growing pride and confidence in the sector in what the county has to offer.
That was the sentiment expressed to the judges from the Irish Foodie Destination Awards at the weekend, when they visited the county as part of the juding process for this year’s competition.
“Things in Donegal are nurtured gently and grow organically, that’s what we are seeing with The Food Coast Donegal,” judges were told, as they took part in an interesting question and answer session with The Food Coast members in Oakfield Park.
Earlier the judges, Deirdre McGlone and Anthony O’Toole, had been treated to a symphony of the senses as they were escorted to eight locations around Oakfield Park, each one highlighting a different aspect of the amazing food offering available in Donegal.
At the first stop, Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, gave a brief outline to the judges of the aims and ambitions of The Food Coast Donegal as it set about to make Donegal famous for food.
Primary producers, festivals, seafood producers, chefs and restaurants, Donegal drinks and sample experiences, all formed stops along the way on the tour that saw the judges engage with The Food Coast participants and enjoy spectacular samples.
Afterwards judge Anthony O’Toole tweeted his appreciation.
“This afternoon will be remembered for years to come. Not just for the experience, but for the future collaborations born between Donegal producers, chefs and social enterprises. I for one have a few ideas I will be calling on to work with Donegal soon.”
Indeed he suggested during the question and answer session, that the passion that went into making the dishes could be tasted, adding that the styles he had witnessed during the day complimented each other.
The Food Coast members at the event highlighted the pride and passion they have in Donegal food.
“We feel confident that if you are in a food business, this is the right place to be. The food culture is here, it is a great place to live and we have a growing scene. Whatever the outcome of the competition, we will continue to shine brightly,” judges were told.
The Foodie Destinations awards are run by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, with the aim of finding the ultimate foodie destination in Ireland and while the judges’ visit is now over, the Donegal public can still increase Donegal’s chances of winning by going online to vote.
The public can vote for Food Coast Donegal until noon on Tuesday 20th of August. They can do this through www.foodiedestinations.ie
Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020. To contact the Local Enterprise Office in Donegal, log on to www.localenterprise.ie/donegal or phone 0749160735.