• Cyril McAree

It's Official! Kilkenny - A Top Foodie Destination 2017!

It’s official! Kilkenny is one of the top food destinations in Ireland. Chosen from a shortlist of 10 locations that qualified for the final, Kilkenny took third place in this closely fought nationwide food competition – The Foodie Destination Awards 2017, with winner being announced in the Headford Arms in Kells, Co. Meath on the evening of August 29th. The much sought-after title is conferred by the Restaurant Association of Ireland and sponsored by FBD Insurance.

Following a rigorous process involving detailed applications, judging visits, destination assessments and an online voting campaign, Kilkenny took third place in a field of some of the best finalists the competition has ever seen, beating strong contenders including Kinsale and West Waterford.

The Award acknowledged the incredible efforts by the group of Kilkenny growers, restaurateurs, business associations, and the local authority in working cohesively to deliver superb food products and experiences. Kilkenny, at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, offers the perfect mix of ancient and contemporary in an enviable setting, steeped in creativity and a wealth of local produce. This winning formula combines to create a unique destination for food lovers, attracting visitors from across Ireland and the world

Judges Zach Gallagher and Wendy Kavanagh really engaged with each location to gain an understanding of the relationships that drive the foodie agenda. "The excellent collaboration between food provider, chef and food producer with the tourism industry is generating amazing potentials for the future development of Ireland as a world class food destination” said Zach. “The food and tourism offerings all over the island of Ireland and the use of modern media is changing the perception of Irish food as seen from abroad, and this was most evident in the ten regions that reached the Foodie Destinations of Ireland final." Wendy added "What really stood out for me was the passion and pride displayed by the people involved at each destination."

CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, stated “It was incredible to see the high calibre of applications for this year’s Foodie Destinations. As food tourism grows in popularity - it is great to see so many places putting local food at the forefront of the visitor experience “.

The delegation from Kilkenny represented by Brian Tyrrell, Maura Hickey, Julie Calder Potts, Aisling Hayes and Roisin McQuillan received a trophy for qualifying for the final as well as a further presentation for coming third overall. With Kilkenny’s vibrant and thriving artisan food and beverage scene, with champion organic producers, makers, and bakers, craft brewers, and Michelin star restaurants, Kilkenny has established strong food credentials and is constantly innovating the offering for example the recently launched ‘Kilkenny Food Producers/Hero buyers Award’ to be conferred during the successful Savour Kilkenny Festival. #tastekilkenny, established in 2015, is at the forefront of driving Kilkenny’s food reputation, domestically and internationally, showcasing the work of local food producers and encouraging food tourism as an integral part of Kilkenny’s historic and enduring appeal!

Naoise Nunn, Chair, Kilkenny Tourism said: “Kilkenny’s thriving food culture has evolved, delivering a high quality, value for money experience. The city is now synonymous with excellence as a must-visit foodie destination. The city is especially loved for its cosmopolitan urban vibe and mix of eateries from the Bula Bus to the truffle fairy to our two Michelin stars.”

For information on visiting Kilkenny see www.visitkilkenny.ie



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