Blas na hÉireann, the Irish food awards, announced this year’s winners, with Rooney Fish crowned Supreme Champion for their Millbay Oysters at the 2018 finals which have just concluded in Dingle.
Food NI member Rooney Fish are a family run business established in 1975 in Kilkeel, Co. Down. Now in its second generation, they specialise in catching, preparing and processing the finest catch from the waters surrounding Ireland. In 2014 they opened an oyster farm in Carlingford Lough close to their Kilkeel base where they combine traditional methods with innovative, new ideas to produce their award-winning oysters Millbay Oysters.
The Blas na hÉireann awards are the biggest blind tasting of produce in the country, and the criteria on which the product is judged as well as the judging system itself, which was developed by Blas na hÉireann with the Food Science Dept of UCC, is now recognised as an international industry standard.
John Rooney says, “We are absolutely delighted to win Supreme Champion at Blas na hÉireann 2018 for our Millbay Oysters. In 2014 we fulfilled a long-term ambition and opened an oyster farm in Carlingford Lough close to our Kilkeel base where we combine our passion for the industry with traditional methods and new techniques to produce our oysters. Although we’ve grown considerably since we began we’re still a family business and to be recognised with this award from Blas na hÉireann, who themselves believe so strongly in community and family, is a huge honour”
Speaking after the announcement Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann said, “All food on this island is local, but the passion for food, good food and local food has never been greater. The community that has come together through Blas an hEireann over the last 11 years – their hard work, obsessiveness and the quality of the product that comes from that focus and commitment – is seen more clearly every year in the standard of our entries.”