Often referred to as the Oscars of the Irish food world, the Blas na hÉireann awards celebrate the best products and food and drinks producers on the island.
This year, Co Wexford’s Wild About was crowned Supreme Champion for its So Sloe Jelly. Wild About is no stranger to awards, having bagged plenty of accolades for its product range in recent years.
The brand is owned by Malcolm and Fiona Falconer who made the move from London to Wexford and now run a sustainable permaculture farm. They work seasonally so the range changes with the harvests and they specialise in native wild ingredients, using them in the likes of dressings, syrups, chutneys and more.
The award-winning So Sloe Jelly, a seasonal fruit jelly, contains wild sloe berries and star anise and can be paired with duck, game, venison and soft cheeses.
This year's awards bring Wild About's Blas tally to six Gold, two Silver, one Bronze, a Best in Wexford, a Best in Leinster and now Supreme Champion. With Covid restrictions still in place, Artie Clifford, chairperson of Blas na hÉireann, made the trip to Wexford to hand over a clutch of awards to the Falconers. And to surprise them with the news that they had won Supreme Champion 20201 – the emotional moment was captured on video, which you can watch below.
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Speaking about the win, Fiona Falconer – who’s originally from Dublin – said, “We are absolutely dumbfounded. We are a tiny family-run company that believes passionately in the benefits of simple, sustainable plant-based foods. Malc [her Welsh husband Malcolm] makes everything by hand in small batches - pure artisan. But it's just the two of us, we are tiny.
"To be awarded Supreme Champion of the island of Ireland will have a great impact on our business. We stand with the hundreds of tiny food producers all over the country, doing farmers markets, stocking local shops, creating a real movement, driving quality, sustainability and innovation in Irish food. For a tiny company like ours, this means the world.”