Irish Food Writers' Guild Food Awards Celebrate Indigenous Deliciousness!

Now in their 25th year, the annual Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards were held this month - and the main message from IFWG Chairperson, Kristin Jensen, was a call for more support for indigenous Irish food producers as the threat of Brexit looms:

“With the food industry gearing up for the impact of Brexit and the threat of UK tariffs a real possibility, it is incumbent on us all, government, industry and consumers, to protect and support our abundance of incredible food producers, who have played a significant role in helping to position Ireland as a food tourism destination.”

Supported by Bord Bia, the IFWG Food Awards celebrate indigenous food producers and organisations who help to build and maintain Ireland’s outstanding reputation in food and drink. This year, eight producers have been singled out for awards - including three from Northern Ireland, demonstrating the all-island approach that, as a nation, we take to food production, supply and quality standards.

This year’s winners include cheesemakers from both sides of the border; organic spelt berries from a farm in Louth; a rare apple ice wine made in Cork; a well-known Dublin coffee brand; a goat farm in Antrim; one of Cork’s oldest charitable organisations; and one of Ireland’s best-known butchers and food champions, who was born in Kildare and operates from Armagh. 

“Each year, the IFWG singles out a select number of products and organisations that evoke pride in our national food identity and contribute to our rich and diverse food culture. Many of these are small businesses and, together with everyone in the food industry, they have major concerns over what is coming down the track following Brexit later this month. Therefore, I urge all sectors of society to embrace sourcing, buying and eating local, high-quality produce and ensuring that all our wonderful producers survive and continue to thrive as they face into a period of great uncertainty. I believe we owe it to them and to ourselves as a great food nation to continue flying the flag for the fantastic range of Irish produce that is available on our own doorstep,” said Kristin Jensen.

The winners of the 2019 IFWG Food Awards are:

Food Award: Hegarty Cheese for Teampall Gael Cheese (Co. Cork)

Founded by brothers Dan and John Hegarty, Teampall Gael cheese is a cloth-bound, one-year-old cheese made with milk from the family’s dairy farm and their own Friesian cows, making the cheese fully traceable from field to finished product.
The brothers make their cheese using traditional methods, milling and salting the curds by hand and wrapping the cheese in muslin and lard. The result is a Comté-style raw milk cheese with a sweet, delicate, nutty flavour and crumbly texture. Only summer’s milk is used in the production of this cheese. 

Food Award: Mike Thomson for Young Buck Cheese (Co. Down)

Mike Thomson raised £80,000 through crowdfunding to start making Young Buck, Northern Ireland’s first raw-milk blue cheese. The milk for the cheese is sourced from a small farm 10 miles from Mike’s home in Co. Down. 600 litres of milk are collected daily to create just 27 wheels of Young Buck a week. The cheese is based on a Stilton recipe, with a strong, salty flavour and a characteristic knobbly crust. Website:


Food Award: Dunany Flour for Organic Spelt Berries (Co. Louth)

The Workman family’s Dunany Farm is a traditional fourth-generation enterprise, producing organic grains since 2006. Best known for their flours, the Workmans are innovative and experimental and recognised a gap in the market for growing spelt in Ireland. High in fibre and B vitamins and low in gluten, Dunany organic spelt berries are a unique and versatile Irish-grown wholegrain and a great alternative to imported grains. Website:


Irish Drink Award: Killahora Orchards for Rare Apple Ice Wine (Co. Cork)

Killahora Orchards is a family business founded on an estate dating back to 1837, where more than 130 varieties of apple and 40 perry pear varieties are grown. Always pushing the boundaries of what can be made with Irish fruit, the range includes craft cider, apple port, perry and their premier drink, for which they are being awarded, Rare Apple Ice Wine. It is made by slowly freezing apples and then thawing the pressed apple juice to create a richer must than you would get from regular pressing. It is then partially fermented to keep the natural sugars intact. It is recommended as a dessert wine but works equally well with pork and cheeses. Website:

Outstanding Organisation Award: 3fe (Co. Dublin)

Colin Harmon quit a career in finance in 2008 to devote himself to coffee. By 2009 he had won the Irish Barista Championships, placed 4th in the World Barista Championships and opened 3fe in the lobby of the Twisted Pepper nightclub in Dublin. He now supplies to more than 50 businesses and runs three cafés, a restaurant and roastery facility. 3fe is being awarded for the company’s commitment to sustainability in the areas of waste and energy use, purchasing principles, staff welfare and community. Website:

Environmental Award: Broughgammon Farm (Co. Antrim)

The Broughgammon Farm rears male goats that would have otherwise been put down at birth to product delicious and healthy cabrito kid goat meat. The farm believes in a sustainable, local food chain and as such encourages back-to-basics, nose-to-tail, fork-to-field and seasonal eating. They now rear free-range rosé veal and seasonal wild game as well. Their Environmental Award is in recognition of their exceptional commitment to the environment, which goes above and beyond their ethical farming practices.Website:

Community Food Award: Cork Penny Dinners (Co. Cork)

Cork Penny Dinners was founded during famine times in the 1840s and is one of Cork’s oldest charitable organisations. Their core service is to offer a nourishing hot meal in a safe environment to all those in need. Currently they serve up to 2,000 freshly made meals each week. The charity will soon have the opportunity to expand its services as it plans to move to James Street to offer educational opportunities; a full music programme; a clinic operated on a rotating, voluntary basis by 52 local GPs; classes in sewing, cooking and repair; and assistance in everyday administrative tasks.


Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Hannan (Co. Armagh)

Peter Hannan grew up on a beef and sheep farm in Co. Kildare and founded Hannan Meats in 1991. Hannan Meats still serves its first five clients as well as some of the finest establishments in the UK, Ireland, France, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland. Provenance is one of the guiding principles of Peter’s business, and he works closely with a network of almost 150 of the best beef farmers in Northern Ireland and the Republic to produce the highest-quality meat. The Irish Food Writers’ Guild is proud to present Peter with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his continued work as one of Ireland’s most dedicated and highly respected food champions. Website:

The IFWG Food Awards are unique, as no one can enter themselves or their product into the awards and no company knows it has been nominated or shortlisted for an award. The Guild is the sole nominating and decision-making body. The exception to this is the Community Food Award, for which the Guild invites nominations every year from the general public as well as their own members.

Lunch menu devised by Andy McFadden of Glovers Alley and incorporating the 2019 award-winning produce. Paired with wines kindly sponsored by Liberty Wines.
• Broughgammon Farm Goat Shoulder, Waldorf Salad
• Dunany Organic Spelt Risotto
• Peter Hannan’s Salt-Aged Glenarm Beef Sirloin, Salt-Baked Celeriac, Hazelnuts and Truffle
• Killahora Orchards Rare Apple Ice Wine Granita, Sheep’s Yogurt Mousse, Honey and Lime
• 3fe Coffee Crémeux, Jivara Chocolate and Citrus
• Teampall Gael and Young Buck Cheese, Rhubarb and Apple Chutney


Recipes created for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards 2019 by executive chef Andy McFadden of Glovers Alley, 128 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2:

Broughgammon Farm Goat Shoulder, Waldorf Salad

1 Broughgammon Farm goat shoulder
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
500ml water
125ml white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Maldon sea salt, to serve
For the glaze:
60g goat fat, trimmed from the shoulder, or unsalted butter
45g treacle
For the spiced oil:
20g black mustard seeds
20g fennel seeds
50ml vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
For the Waldorf salad:
75g walnuts
1 celery heart, chopped
1 eating apple, e.g. Granny Smith, cored and cut into 1cm pieces
100g seedless black grapes, halved and toasted
micro leaves or baby salad leaves

Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Put the goat shoulder in a deep roasting tray. Scatter around the garlic, bay leaves and rosemary, then pour in the water and wine. Season the goat with salt and pepper, then loosely cover the roasting tray with foil. Roast in the oven for 2 hours. Remove the foil and roast for 1 hour more, until the goat is meltingly tender.

Remove the goat shoulder from the tray and press between two large baking sheets weighted down with a few tins of food. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

To make the spice mix, warm the mustard seeds in a dry pan over a gentle heat, shaking the pan constantly. The seeds will eventually puff slightly and crack. Once they reach this stage, remove from the heat and grind in a pestle and mortar. Tip back into the warm pan off the heat. Add the fennel seeds and allow them to warm in the residual heat of the pan. In a separate pan, warm the oil slightly with the garlic clove. Take the pan off the heat and add the spices to the oil.

To make the glaze, gently melt together the goat fat or butter and the treacle in a saucepan until combined.

To make the Waldorf salad, put all the ingredients in a bowl and toss gently to combine.

To serve, cut the pressed goat shoulder into neat squares and brush all over with the glaze. Finish the squares on a hot pan until heated through and nicely coloured. Put a square of goat shoulder on a serving plate. Spoon over the spiced oil and season with Maldon flaky sea salt. Finish with a small handful of the Waldorf salad on top.


Dunany Organic Spelt Risotto

Serves 4

200g Dunany Organic Spelt Berries
25g dried porcini mushrooms
1½ tsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100ml white wine
1 litre hot vegetable stock
1 tbsp crème fraiche
handful of grated Parmesan cheese
finely snipped fresh chives
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
parsley oil or fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to serve

Cover the spelt with cold water. Put the dried mushrooms in a separate heatproof bowl and soak in 100ml of just-boiled water. Allow the spelt and mushrooms to soak for 20 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the spelt and add to the pan along with the wine. Simmer until almost all the wine has evaporated, stirring often.

Drain the porcini mushrooms over a bowl so that you can reserve the soaking liquid, then discard the mushrooms. Add the soaking liquid to the vegetable stock. Stir the stock into the spelt berries a ladleful at a time and simmer, stirring often, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the spelt is tender. This will take about 20 minutes in total.

Stir in the crème fraîche, Parmesan and chives, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the risotto between warmed bowls and drizzle over the parsley oil or scatter over some chopped fresh parsley. Serve straight away.


Peter Hannan’s Salt-Aged Glenarm Beef Sirloin with Salt-Baked Celeriac, Hazelnuts and Truffle

Serves 4

1kg thick slice of Peter Hannan’s Salt-Aged Glenarm Beef Sirloin
plenty of sea salt
soft butter, for cooking
100g hazelnuts, toasted and halved, to serve
Périgord black truffle, for slicing
For the salt-baked celeriac:
1 large celeriac
700g table salt
110g free-range egg whites
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Take the beef out of the fridge and put it on a tray without any covering or cling film. Allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before you intend to start working with it so that it has a dry surface and is not too cold when cooked.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Place the celeriac in a roasting tray. Mix the table salt, egg whites and rosemary together in a large bowl until the mixture forms a paste. Cover the celeriac in a 2cm-thick layer of the salt paste, ensuring there are no gaps. Bake in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, chip away the salt crust and scoop out the baked celeriac. Portion into nicely sized wedges and reserve until ready to plate.

A little while before you’re ready to start cooking, season the beef with plenty of salt. As it is a very big piece you will need more salt than you think. You will find that if you let the salt dissolve a little, the meat will brown more easily and uniformly.

Melt a large spoon of butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the butter has lightly browned, add the beef and cook until the first side is perfectly caramelised. The meat and the pan need to be kept moving at all times so that no part of the pan warms up too much, causing the fat in that part to burn, and so that no part gets too cold and stops the meat from browning.

When the first side is perfect, repeat the process with the second side, adding a little more butter as you turn it. Let the meat rest somewhere warm but not hot, brush with some butter and leave it to rest.

While the meat is resting, pour the butter and fat that have rendered out of the beef through a fine mesh sieve into a container and clean the pan. When the meat is no longer hot to touch, fry it once more in the clean pan, brush it with butter and leave it to rest again. Repeat this process until the meat is cooked to your liking.

To finish the meat, reheat the frying pan and put back the fat strained from the pan earlier. Fry the beef on both sides once more and add some more butter. Let the new butter brown, then immediately lift the meat out and place on a preheated chopping board. Cut it into four strips straight away using a very sharp knife and serve with the salt-baked celeriac, toasted hazelnuts and some shaved truffle.


3fe Coffee Crèmeux with Citrus

Serves 4 to 6

550ml double cream
9g ground 3fe coffee
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and seeds scraped out
3½ gelatine leaves, soaked
100g caster sugar
130g egg yolks (6 or 7 yolks)
1 blood orange
1 orange
seeds of 1 pomegranate
sugar syrup
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
cocoa powder, for dusting

Infuse the cream with the coffee and half of the vanilla, then strain through a fine chinois.

Bloom the gelatine in a bowl of cold water.

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks to the ribbon stage. Fold this mixture into the infused cream, then add the soaked gelatine. Pass through a fine mesh sieve, pour into spherical silicone moulds and freeze.

Zest the oranges, then cut them into segments, catching the juice in a bowl. Put the segments in a separate bowl along with the pomegranate seeds. Reduce the juice over a high heat, then stir in a little sugar syrup along with the remaining vanilla and the lemon and lime zest.

To serve, spoon the citrus mixture into the centre of each bowl. Dust each crèmeux all over with cocoa powder, then place on top.


Teampall Gael and Young Buck Cheese with Rhubarb and Apple Chutney

10 cloves
4 star anise
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
250g rhubarb, chopped
250g Bramley apple, peeled, cored and chopped
100g Demerara sugar
100ml balsamic vinegar
100ml water
zest of 1 orange
Teampall Gael cheese, to serve
Young Buck cheese, to serve

To make the chutney, wrap the cloves, star anise, bay leaves and cinnamon stick in a piece of muslin. Put the rhubarb, apple, sugar, balsamic vinegar, water and the muslin of spices in a pan on a medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and cook until thick and syrupy and the rhubarb and apple have softened. Stir in the orange zest and allow to cool.

Serve the Teampall Gael and Young Buck cheese on a cheeseboard with the rhubarb and apple chutney alongside.




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