Pride of Place judges John Briggs and Eddie Sheehy were in town last Wednesday 17th July to see, hear (and taste) all about Sligo Food Trail. The food business network are finalists in the Community Tourism Award 2019 section and pulled out all the stops to showcase Sligo Food Trail at its very best. Led by chair Marie Casserly and campaign manager Marie Brouder, the showcase presentation took place at the Glasshouse Hotel followed by a whirlwind tour of some local members.

The room was packed with Sligo Food Trail members telling their story and providing tastings including Food Trail committee member Coeurine Murray from Murson Farm, Neantóg Kitchen Garden School, Sligo Food Tours, Sligo Wellness Centre, Cliffoney Country Market, Irish Seaweed Kitchen and the Glasshouse Team. Representatives from the Sligo business organisations and agencies Sligo Tourism, Fáilte Ireland, Sligo BID, Chamber of Commerce, Sligo Tidy Towns, festivals and Sligo County Council turned out in force to show their support.

Fresh from international success at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in China, Dr. Prannie Rhatigan spoke about the experiences and businesses which have grown around seaweed and about her collaboration with restauranteurs Eithna O’Sullivan (Eithna’s by the Sea) and Anthony Gray (Hooked and Eala Bhán), creating their popular Sligo Seaweed Days and Coney Island Experience.

Committee member and food business consultant Oonagh Monahan explained the background to Sligo Food Trail and the relationship between Trail members and food producers, with a particular focus on food provenance and taste of place. Marie Brouder described the Food Trails journey from its creation in 2016 right up to involvement in the Fáilte Ireland Taste the Island campaign coming this autumn. Chair Marie Casserly closed the presentation with a nod to future plans and the Taste The Sea video showcasing the Food Experiences.

After the formal presentation, it was time for a tasting tour of Sligo Food Trail members. The judges visited Sligo Oyster Experience with Aisling Kelly, Sweet Beat with Carolanne Rushe and met Gary Stafford at both Bakeshop and Lyons Cafe before returning to The Glasshouse where executive chef Alan Fitzmaurice had prepared a truly outstanding locally sourced lunch menu for them.

The IPB Pride of Place Awards is an all-Ireland competition, which started in 2003. It celebrates local group contributions to the community and the creation of civic pride. The aim is to acknowledge the work being done every day by communities all over the island of Ireland. The judges focus on people coming together to shape, change and improve daily lives in their communities. Pride of Place aims to work in partnership with communities, to encourage best practice, innovation and leadership in providing vibrant sustainable living in our communities.  The Pride of Place awards ceremony takes place in Kilkenny on November 30th. Fingers crossed for Sligo Food Trail success.