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Cong among Ireland’s top ten ‘Foodie Destinations’


FOOD FANS The inaugural Cong Food Village Festival, which took place in June, undoubtedly helped raise Cong's profile among food lovers. The organisers and participants are pictured outside the festival's main marquee.

Your vote is needed to help Cong top the list

Neill O’Neill

CONG has been named on the shortlist of the top ten finalists in the national ‘Foodie Destinations’ competition 2016.
The picturesque south Mayo village, famous as the home of Ashford Castle and Hollywood blockbuster The Quite Man, has been literally cooking up a storm in recent years and will now receive a pre-arranged visit by a pair of independent assessors in the coming weeks.
Competition among the last ten is stiff, with Boyne Valley, Derry, Dublin Coastal Village (Howth, Malahide and Skerries), Kilkenny, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo, The Burren and The Loop Head Peninsula also in contention.
The Foodie Destinations initiative was formed as part of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2014 but proved to be so popular it became its own entity in 2015. Its aim is to celebrate Ireland’s unique and wonderful food offerings and to encourage local food tourism initiatives across the country.
Applications for this year’s competition were received from all corners of the country and on both sides of the border. For the first stage of judging, applications were thoroughly assessed by an independent panel of judges. Though there was tough competition, Cong is now sitting proudly among the top ten ‘Foodie Destinations’ of Ireland for 2016.
The upcoming assessment will be combined with a national public voting campaign where the public can choose their winning foodie destination out of the ten finalists – this can be done through www.foodiedestinations.ie
Both components will carry equal weight in the overall score. The winning town/destination will be crowned ‘Foodie Destination of Ireland 2016’ in September.
The ‘Foodie Destination of Ireland’ award recognises a destination that actively promotes itself through joint promotional activities such as food festivals, gourmet trails or farmers’ markets as well as great dining experiences. The winning Irish destination will have established a local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses. Plans for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level will also be taken into consideration by judges. Education, training, development and employment will be key components of the ultimate foodie destination.
A number of 2015 finalists, including last year’s winner The Burren, have made the top ten list for Foodie Destinations 2016 again. Cong is a new entry on the list.

Voting opened at www.foodiedestinations.ie today, Thursday, August 18, and will end at 12 noon on Friday, September 9.