Family-run butchers proves itself a cut above the rest

A family-run Co Cork butcher’s shop that has produced food fit for a queen was honoured for its exceptional contribution to Ireland’s reputation as a top food producing country.

McCarthy’s of Kanturk received a special Irish Food Writer’s Guild food award yesterday for the family’s notable contribution to Irish food throughout the year.

Jack McCarthy, whose son Tim is the fifth generation of butcher in the family to run McCarthy’s, was delighted when their famous black pudding was served to Queen Elizabeth at the state banquet during her visit to Ireland last year.

“We are always looking at different ways of developing new and value-added meat products,” he said.

“We are a traditional butcher and like a lot of small retailers, we are under pressure so we need to be different — to be a cut above the rest.”

Mr McCarthy also called for a greater effort in promoting Ireland as a top food tourism destination.

“We got the best air; we got the best water and we got the best grass. These are the raw materials. Most other country’s haven’t got them,” he said.

Myrtle Allen, grand-dame of Irish country house cooking and pioneer of the movement to produce local Irish food, said artisan producers needed support from the commercial sector to survive.

Ms Allen, founder of Ballymaloe House in Cork and honorary life member of the guild, warned of the demise of small to medium local producers in Ireland if they were not supported.

“We cannot let this happen and I am appealing to all stakeholders, including retailers, to recognise their responsibilities in supporting home grown industry,” she said.

Other winners were:

* Castlemine Farm, Fourmilehouse, Co Roscommon, for free-range pork.

* Patrick and Carol Rooney, Derrycamma Farm, Castlebellingham, Co Louth, for their rapeseed oil.

* David Tiernan, Tiernan Family Farm, Dunleer, Co Louth, for Glebe Brethan cheese.

Renowned fruit grower and chairman of the Irish Apple Growers Association, Con Trass, of The Apple Farm, Cahir, Co Tipperary, received the guild’s lifetime achievement award.

Simon Coveney, the agriculture minister, who attended the event, said guild members were playing a leading role in promoting the quality of Irish food.

Winning recipe

Chef Derry Clarke created a lunch incorporating all of the award-winning products at the Michelin-starred restaurant L’Ecrivain in Dublin. Here is the menu:

* Cream of onion soup with Glebe Brethan cheese and potato terrine.

* McCarthy’s of Kanturk boudin with poached quail egg, brioche croutons, and Derrycamma Farm rapeseed oil dressing.

* Castlemine Farm free-range pork plate of honey-glazed pork belly confit, ballotine, and fillet of pork with purple potato crisps and bouchons of potato.

* Con Traas’ Apple Farm apple crumble tart with spicy gingerbread creme Anglaise and Connemara whiskey ice cream.

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