Top 10 Shortlist for Foodie Destinations of 2018 Announced

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Foodie Destinations 2018, an initiative by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), recently launched this June and the top ten shortlisted entrants have now been announced. The ultimate winner of the competition will be 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 for locals and visitors alike. Plans for future growth and investment in the food and hospitality industry at a local level will also be taken into consideration by the judges.

The Top Ten Shortlisted Finalist are:

  • Armagh Heartland of Food

  • Boyne Valley

  • Cavan County Council

  • Derry City & Strabane District Council

  • Galway Gastronomy

  • Kilkenny

  • Kinsale

  • Mid & East Antrim Borough Council

  • Monaghan & Glaslough

  • Sligo Food Trail

With Stage One of the competition now complete, the top ten shortlisted towns and destinations will now move on to the second and final stage of the competition. This will include a visit to their individual region by the esteemed Foodie Destinations 2018 judges, along with a nationwide public vote. Entrants are encouraged to campaign within their local vicinity in order to encourage public involvement. The Foodie Destinations judging process will focus on seven key areas to establish a clear winner from the shortlisted finalists. The judges will be examining whether the entrant offers a unique visitor experience, local knowledge and participation, local producers, promotion, festivals and community events, the prospect of future projects, along with education and training.

The RAI highlight that the purpose of this project is to encourage food tourism initiatives across the country. The judges will look for evidence of an established food culture/identity of the destination and they will assess how the destination collaboratively utilises and promotes this identity. There are many ways destinations can achieve this - either through special dishes in restaurants that make use of local/unique ingredients to the area or a food festival/food trail. There must be evidence of a calendar of events in the area aimed at promoting local food and drink. Food festivals, gourmet trails, farmers markets and special dining experiences are some traditional events that are typically seen in a foodie destination. The Association notes that there must also be plans in place to continue to support and develop future food culture in an entrant’s chosen region.

Online voting will commence nationwide next Wednesday 25th July, followed by finalist judges visits commencing on Thursday the 2nd of August and finishing on the 20th of August. Online voting for the 2018 competition will cease on Tuesday 21st of August. The overall winner of Foodie Destinations 2018 will be announced at an event at the end of August.