2019 Award Winners SPIRIT OF THE EUROPEAN REGION OF GASTRONOMY AWARD


Spirit of the European Region of Gastronomy Award


Spirit of ERG

Achieving Ireland’s first European Region of Gastronomy designation this year has been a huge boost to Galway and the West of Ireland, but it didn’t happen by chance. Behind this great achievement lie many years of preparation and there were three deciding factors: the exceptional quality of local produce; great hospitality (the unique ‘Galway Welcome’); and - crucially - a strong plan for the future, with public, private and knowledge institutions coming together to collaborate. And this is very much an active plan, which is already bringing the designation to life through an exciting year-long programme of events, festivals, projects and initiatives that spotlight the region’s innovative food culture and celebrate its food heritage - all with the aim of focusing attention on the vital role of the food industry in Galway and the West of Ireland and how central it is to the present and the future. This admirable initiative and the exciting programme of events that it facilitates are built upon five main themes of Education & Health; Linking Urban & Rural; Cultural Diversity; Sustainability & Feeding the Planet; and Supporting SMEs and Innovation - all sharing a common understanding that collaboration and working together is the key to success throughout this year and into the future.

www.galwaygastronomy.ie 

The SPIRIT OF THE EUROPEAN REGION OF GASTRONOMY AWARD is a vivid illustration of ‘collaboration and working together’ in action, showing how an inspired hospitality business teaming up with the best local food producers and suppliers can create memorable experiences that educate and delight in equal measure. From the dozens of outstanding businesses in Galway and the West of Ireland that are doing great work to achieve these aims, the trio illustrate the point perfectly.

 

HOSPITALITY: The clue is in the name and everything about Fergus O’Halloran’s boutique hotel The Twelve (named for the stunning Twelve Bens mountains in nearby Connemara) reflects his love of place. Fergus, a Failte Ireland Food Ambassador, is a great believer in food tourism and the value of working with the local community. The Twelve’s motto “True to The Region, True to The Season” sums up the philosophy - and nowhere more so than in West, the fine dining restaurant that hosted the Westrononomy series of dinners celebrating the European Region of Gastronomy in 2018. Local producers - ‘The Twelve Apostles’ - are the heroes on Chef Martin O’Donnell’s menus, a list that will vary with the seasons but always includes superb suppliers from the Land, such as Padraig Fahy and Una Ní Bhroin’s Beechlawn Organic Farm at Ballinsaloe, and from the Sea, notably Stefan Griesbach’s Gannet Fishmongers, famous for their support of local and sustainable fishing. Chef O’Donnell’s respect for the quality and integrity of his culinary palette is obvious in cooking that is sophisticated and beautiful, yet retains an essential simplicity that allows the ingredients to star: memorable dining and a perfect example of ‘collaboration and working together’. 

 

FROM THE LAND: Having gradually built up production from small beginnings in 2002, Padraig Fahy and Una Ní Bhroin’s Beechlawn Organic Farm at Ballinsaloe has earned its place as one of the most highly respected organic producers in Ireland. Famed for the range and quality of their produce, the farm is run in a very visitor-friendly way - it’s a National Organic Demonstration Farm and earlier this month they held a family day to celebrate the European Region of Gastronomy 2018 with guest speakers, cookery demonstrations and tours of their polytunnels and fields (also available to groups at other times). Now with about 25 acres of land in full production, they grow both field and protected crops - for retail, including online sales, and for direct supply to restaurants and hotels. It’s always a treat to see Beechlawn produce named on menus, including special events such as last January’s IHF Hospitality Ball (which showcased Beechlawn Farm as part of the soup course) as well as regular supporters such as The Twelve in Barna and many other caring establishments in Galway and beyond. 

 

FROM THE SEA: A friendly and familiar face at markets and a trusted supplier to the hospitality industry, Stefan Griesbach of Gannet Fishmongers is a legend in the West of Ireland - not only does he supply “the best quality, best value in locally sourced, wild Irish fish”, but he is also a great source of information about fish and the fish industry, and one of its proudest champions. While there are many excellent seafood suppliers in Galway, Gannet is the supplier of choice for many hotels and restaurants, including The Twelve. He is among the few to treat fish as a seasonal food and to educate customers about it, both directly when chatting to people at markets and through participation in customer events, such as the ‘Brasserie on the Corner’ wine and fish pairing, which allow him to explain his passion for fish and why we should eat more. Stefan fascinated the audience at Food on the Edge in 2017, by talking about all other types of fish that we should be eating, not just those that are well known. An innovative businessman, he launched an app for mobile orders this year, and everything he does is carefully considered l - even the bags he uses are biodegradeable. But most all, he’s just famous for great fresh fish. 


The Twelve Hotel - Barna County Galway Ireland
88%
33 votes

The Twelve Hotel

Galway City, Co. Galway
Baking/Bakery / Bar / Hotel / Restaurant
2 euro For Cooking & Service Well Above Average Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Highly Recommended as a Special Place to Stay Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Despite recent development at this seaside village, Barna has retained some of its old charm around the harbour area – and its location, handy to both Connemara and Galway City, is a huge attraction. And so is Fergus O’Halloran’s uniq ...
100%
2 votes

Beechlawn Organic Farm

Ballinasloe, Co. Galway
Classes/Courses / Farmgate / Fruit & Veg / Online Shop
Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner
Husband-and-wife team Padraig Fahy and Una Ní Bhroin run their renowned National Organic Demonstration Farm in a very open, visitor-friendly way and hold courses and farm walks several times a year; although mainly geared towards other growers, ...
image coming soon
75%
4 votes

Gannet Fishmongers

Galway City, Co. Galway
Fish Shop
Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Serious About Seafood Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner
Stefan Griesbach is a familiar sight at Galway Farmers’ Market and a fish supplier of choice to many of the best restaurants in the area. Intent on selling “the best quality, best value in locally sourced, wild Irish fish”, he i ...


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