From eel and ale and sheep’s milk yogurt to eco-friendly pig farming, the winners of the 30th Irish Food Writers’ Guild food awards are a diverse group committed to provenance, sustainability, quality and flavour. With just eight awards presented, the big winner was Irish cheese, with Ballylisk, Aran Island Goats’ Cheese and Sheridan’s Cheesemongers honoured.
IFWG chair Caroline Hennessy said that since the awards’ launch in 1993, each winner was chosen by IFWG members, recognising the best in Irish food by focusing on smaller producers that might otherwise slip under the radar. With the exception of the community award, no business or person can enter, nor do they know if they have been nominated or shortlisted.
The winners of the 2023 IFWG Awards, sponsored by Bord Bia:
- Food award: Smoked Lough Neagh Eel, Co Antrim
- Food award: Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Milk Yogurt, Co Mayo
- Food award: Ballylisk of Armagh, Co Armagh
- Irish drink award: Beoir Chorcha Dhuibhne for Béal Bán, Co Kerry
- Notable contribution to Irish food: Gabriel Faherty, Aran Island Goats’ Cheese, Co Galway
- Environmental award: The Wooded Pig, Co Meath
- Community food award: Field of Dreams – Down Syndrome Cork, Co Cork
- Lifetime achievement: Kevin and Seamus Sheridan, Sheridans Cheeses, Co Galway
Lifetime Achievement: Kevin and Seamus Sheridan
Kevin and Seamus Sheridan started selling farmhouse cheese at Galway’s Saturday market in 1995 and went on to develop a nationwide market for their produce. Building relationships with producers has been central to the ethos of the company. Today the Sheridan brand – and its distinctive green, white and gold packaging – is synonymous with quality.
Photo: Seamus Sheridan of Sheridans Cheesemongers pictured outside Suesey Street at the IFWG food awards lunch created by the restaurant’s head chef Deniss Lasenko and featuring the winning produce. The drinks were sponsored by Liberty Wines and Teeling Whiskey.