The top ten finalists in the ‘Foodie Destinations’ competition 2017 have been announced by the Restaurants Association of Ireland. Previously known as Foodie Towns, the Foodie Destinations competition is searching for Ireland’s premier ‘Food Destination 2017’ and West Waterford has made the shortlist.
The Foodie Destinations initiative was originally formed as part of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2014. However, it proved to be so popular that it became its own entity in 2015. Its aim is to celebrate Ireland’s unique and wonderful food offerings and to encourage local food tourism initiatives across the country.
Applications for this year’s competition were received from all corners of the country and on both sides of the border. For the first stage of judging, applications were thoroughly assessed by an independent panel of judges. Though there was tough competition, the top ten ‘Foodie Destinations’ of Ireland in 2017 have been selected and are as follows:
· Boyne Valley
· Cong Food Village
· Galway’s Westend
· Loop Head Peninsula
· Taste of West Cork
· West Waterford
Each of these ten finalists will receive a pre-arranged visit by a pair of independent assessors. West Waterford’s visit took place on Tuesday, August 8th. The assessment will then combined with a national public voting campaign where the public will choose their winning foodie destination out of the ten finalists – VOTE HERE www.foodiedestinations.ie. Both components will carry equal weight in the overall score. The winning town/destination will be crowned ‘Foodie Destination of Ireland 2017’ in August.
The ‘Foodie Destination of Ireland’ award recognises a destination that actively promotes itself through joint promotional activities such as food festivals, gourmet trails or farmers’ markets as well as great dining experiences. The winning Irish destination will have established a local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses. Plans for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level will also be taken into consideration by judges. Education, training, development and employment will be key components of the ultimate foodie destination.
A number of 2016 finalists, including last year’s winner Boyne Valley, have made the top ten list for Foodie Destinations 2017 again. New entries to this year’s finalist list include Galway’s Westend, Taste of West Cork, West Waterford and Kinsale.
Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, says that the rich landscape of the Irish culinary scene will provide an exciting battleground for the competition, “This is an exciting time to be involved with the food and tourism industry in Ireland, and for local businesses to show the nation the pride they have in their communities. Winning the title of ‘Foodie Destination of Ireland 2017’ will provide a competitive edge to towns and regions wishing to promote their areas to incoming tourists.
“The quality of submissions this year was astounding, and all ten of the ‘Foodie Destination’ finalists have something to be proud of for reaching the penultimate stage of the competition.”
The Public Voting Process
· A national public voting campaign begins today with each of the ten finalists canvassing the country to vote for them.
· Online voting closes on Thursday 10th August on www.foodiedestinations.ie.
· The final decision will be made by combining the judges’ votes with the public vote that carry equal weight – each of these components account for 50% of the overall mark a destination receives.
· The ultimate ‘Foodie Destination of Ireland 2017’ will be announced on Tuesday 29th August.