Tipperary food will be the focus of international attention next week with local producers hosting a major tasting event.
And during their visit, the internationally renowned judges will see some of the county's iconic landmarks, such as Coolmore Stud and the Rock of Cashel.
The Great Taste Awards are coming to Tipp because local butcher, and chairman of the Tipperary Food Producers, Pat Whelan, won last year's event in London with his now renowned dripping.
And the organisers of the event honoured that achievement but travelling to his home county for this year's event.
The judges will spend three days in Tipperary in what will provide a huge boost to the county's thriving food producing industry.
At the end of each of the three judging days spent in Tipperary, blind-tasting a range of food and drink from all over Ireland for this year’s Great Taste Awards, the visiting judges will be taken to a series of events designed to highlight the county’s bounty.
On Tuesday judges spend an evening at the famous Coolmore Stud, on a behind-the-scenes tour of the stud generally acknowledged to be the world's biggest and best thoroughbred racehorse breeding operation.
Followed by a BBQ dining experience featuring local products and an opportunity to meet Tipperary food producers, the evening will progress to McCarthy’s of Fethard for music and craic!
On Wednesday judges have an evening tour of the majestic Rock of Cashel, followed by a drinks reception featuring locally produced beverages on the Rock. Dinner will be a long table dinner in Chez Hans, in its spectacular setting of a converted Victorian Gothic church.
The last evening, Thursday is an intimate evening with individual Tipperary Food Producers, where groups of judges and guests will be hosted at various locations throughout the county by different members of the Network, to experience a personal and authentic Tipperary welcome, culinary and cultural experience.
“This is an exciting project that has been made possible by the generous support of all the local and national agencies,” says Pat Whelan, Chairperson of Tipperary Food Producers, “and their collaboration is immensely appreciated by all at Tipperary Food Producers.
“Our sincere thanks go to Tipperary County Council, Bord Bia, Local Enterprise Office Tipperary, Tipperary Tourism Company, Department of Agriculture Food & the Marine, North Tipperary Leader Partnership, and South Tipperary Development Company.”
“Winning the Supreme Champion Award with our Beef Dripping last year was phenomenal,” says Mr Whelan, “and I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my pride and passion for Tipperary produce with some of the people who made that decision, and those who will choose this year’s winners”.