Glenilen Farm Dairy Products, Drimoleague, Co Cork
The Guide has always championed the best of Irish produce. It’s the philosophy behind our food recommendations and the Natural Food Award has emphasised this for many years, by specifically celebrating establishments that create a meeting point between the best and freshest local produce and the consumer. The original aim was to recognise specifically “an individual or team, driven by a total commitment to using the very best of fresh, seasonal and mainly local foods – and preparing them simply and with style, to showcase their natural goodness and the quality produce of the locality”. This category now also includes the food products, producers and retailers listed in our regional food tourism guide, Ireland for Food Lovers.
The growing number of local artisan and speciality foods offered on menus has enriched our travels around the country enormously of late, and does so for all discerning visitors to Ireland. It’s great to see that speciality dairy products are on the increase, and they have given us particular pleasure this year, on tables at every type of establishment from B&Bs to 5* hotels, cafés and pubs to fine dining destinations - especially the handmade butters, which have lifted many a meal into the memorable class.
Particularly praiseworthy, due to their simple excellence and wide distribution (despite containing no preservatives), are Alan and Valerie Kingston’s range of Glenilen Farm Dairy Products, made on their small West Cork dairy farm. It is always a treat to spot the lovely yoghurts in their cute glass jars on a breakfast buffet, or a pat of their deep golden butter with its little signature Glenilen greaseproof paper 'cap' in a restaurant - and it tells you a great deal about the high standards upheld by any establishment that is proud to showcase these special products.