#Tastekilkenny made its first appearance last week at the Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois.
We are a group of food producers from kilkenny working with SuperValu on its food academy program. Food Academy works with and nurtures small businesses through their journey from start up to getting their products on the shelves of SuperValu.
You see Kilkenny is not only the home of good hurling but also the home of good food!
What a week and what a collection of food and producers.
Gerard and Gabrielle have a passion and a vision to build a business piggy backing on the long standing success of Smithwicks in the heart of Kilkenny city. They have plans to build the first artesan brewery in Kilkenny not far from the city centre giving them a place to tell their story and extend their offering to the masses. We certainly enjoyed a few Costello’s after the long week on Friday night.
The Devils Menu
The Devils Menu is run by husband and wife team John and Elora Whelan. Marshmallows made to perfection and beautifully packaged I know this innovative product will be a success but perhaps not reaching their target at The Ploughing Champsionships. Make sure to drop by and purchase some at the craft fair in the RDS this year. I would like the caramel flavour!
Mooncoin Home Grown Pickled Beetroot
Next up is the very formidable Helen Murphy and her delicious Beetroot Chutney and Relish. I was delighted to be placed beside her because our products completely complicated each other and we were able to up sell as a result. Helen is such a pro and it was obvious to me for the beginning she would do well with her quaint persuasive manner and rye sense of humour. Not sure I found her jokes as funny after 1000 times hearing it by day 3!!!
Bernie’s Sherry Triffle
Across the way were the former banker and baker supreme Bernie who mothered every man in sight while subtly selling them her amazing and very intoxicating sherry trifle. Unlike The Devils Menu Bernie had the full attention of every middle aged farmer and nostalgic housewife remembering the very traditional desert at a time when marshmallows were not even heard of.
Bernie wished all her customers the blessing of God and thanked each and every one of them for their business.
A well-established company new to the retail sector and their new zip seal bags of flour mixes went down a storm especially when the bread was tasted with our delicious smoked trout pate . Another food collaboration and cooperative selling opportunity. Rob will be the wiser on his next outing to make the bread from his flour and flog it to the passing trade as his bags were a little too heavy to carry around those mucky roadways back to the car . As we both agreed PR is great but you still have to pay the bill and it is important to maximise the experience for the customer to help ingrain our product offering in the brain forever.
Inistioge Food Company
One of the most creative people I know is Anneliese from The Inistioge Food Company, a company she runs with her husband Denis. It was her creative genius that helped construct the incredible stand using nothing but vision and old pallets. All you have to do is examine her beautiful standout packaging and you know for sure the product must taste as good as it looks. But what was really clever is the fact that we can now use this over and over again so you can expect to see us pop up anywhere in the world. Have stand, will travel!
Tucked in the corner were the very classy couple from Highbank, a company that had achieved all the awards possible in the business. They tasted their new apple brandy and gin but only to those serious about a purchase. Funny how experience pays off and there is no trick in the book Rod does not know about. Now that I think about it I never got a taste all week.
So’long to the farmers and a big thank you to Fiona Deegan and all at our local Enterprise Board for all their support.
And watch out for us in every food academy shelf space throughout the country. And if you are lucky enough to meet the lovey Bernie make sure she gives you that special blessing because you know what I think, it just might be real.