Marie McCarthy from Carrigaline in Cork has emerged victorious in the National Brown Bread Baking competition, sponsored by Aldi and in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and the Irish Countrywomen's Association (ICA).
She will receive a cash prize of €15,000 and her bread will be available in Aldi stores across the country in the coming weeks.
Other finalists in the competition included: Aisling O’Toole, Monasterevin, Co Kildare; Marie Doherty, Ballymote, Co Sligo; and Kathrina Ruddock, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.
“I am thrilled to have won the National Brown Bread Baking competition this year,” added Marie.
“I spent much of the lockdown perfecting my brown bread and it has certainly paid off...I can’t wait to see my loaf on all Aldi shelves nationwide soon.” NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh, meanwhile, pointed to the “popularity” of the competition.
“Given the huge popularity and success of the National Brown Bread Baking competition at the National Ploughing Championships, we were delighted that the competition went ahead this year,” she said.
“We want to wish Marie McCarthy all the best and we hope to be back in our usual surroundings next year.” Relaunched six years ago by the NPA, the competition was a huge success in 2020 with over 600 entries from all over Ireland submitted into Aldi stores.
“Due to the current government restrictions and the absence of this year’s National Ploughing Championships, entering the competition this year was different,” continued Ms McHugh.
“Whilst open to all members of the public, entrants were asked to drop their freshly baked bread to Aldi stores on certain dates - with the breads then judged by a panel - and four people subsequently made it through to the final which was held this week in Cooks Academy, Dublin.”