Butler's shop on O'Connell Street, Dungarvan, is renowned around the county for its delicious ice-cream, and it continues to impress further afield, after the shop won a gold award for their ice-cream at the Blas na hÉireann National Food Awards.
The Blas na hÉireann awards is the biggest competition in the country, with over 2,000 entries of quality Irish produce. The Judges of the competition look for products which are made using top quality Irish ingredients. The awards ceremony was held last weekend at Benner's Hotel, Dingle, County Kerry.
Butler's Ice Cream won the 'Category 9 Ice Cream award', with their Cookie Ice Cream (Supercookies), beating off stiff competition from around the country to take the gold.
Maurice Butler, proprietor of Butler's newsagents, speaking to the Dungarvan Observer said he was delighted with the gold award. "This is our first year entering the Blas na hÉireann awards," said Maurice. "We are thrilled with winning the gold award because the competition was very high, but it gives us great satisfaction that our ice cream has been recognised as a top quality artisan ice cream."
Maurice expressed thanks to his customers for all their support, encouragement and loyalty. "I would like to thank our staff as well, it couldn't be done without them, particularly Kenneth Reddy, who makes most of the ice cream," he said. Maurice said the gold award means a lot to the shop and staff, after all the training and hard work put in to creating the brand, which is now paying dividends.
"We are delighted our ice cream has been recognised by such a prestigious award," said Maurice. Butler's made a decision a few years ago to create the best ice cream in Ireland.
"In doing so, we went to the world leaders in ice cream making in Italy, to learn the techniques and skills required," explained Maurice. "We have the pleasure of going back to Italy on an annual basis to update our skills and bring the result of our knowledge back home to our customers."
He said the shop will continue to go forward and push boundaries in ice-cream making and flavours. Last Christmas, Butler's introduced seasonal flavours to their ice cream, which were an instant hit with customers. Christmas flavoured ice cream included mulled wine sorbet; brandy custard ice cream; red wine punch ice cream; Christmas pudding ice cream; and mince pie ice cream.
Due to the success of the seasonal flavoured ice cream last year, Butler's hopes to double their offerings of seasonal ice cream this Christmas. Last year was a very exciting year for Butler's ice cream. They launched Oice cream for weddings', where Maurice and his team will bring a 1920's trike to weddings, where ice cream is served to all the guests.
Maurice said it has been a huge success that continues to grow and is a popular choice to include at weddings. Butler's continues to sell ice cream all year round. They will be changing over to their Christmas flavours in the coming weeks, while keeping some of the old favourites. So don't forget Butler's Ice Cream for your Christmas table! Also, keep a look out for Butler's Ice Cream at markets and the Festival of Food.
Blas na hÉireann National Food Awards
There are over 50 categories in the Blas na hÉireann National Food Awards, with over 2,000 competitors from around the country. "It is very rewarding for us and our Award winners that the competition, now in its fifth year, is recognised at home and abroad as a symbol of a top quality product, enabling businesses to take on all new markets, be they local, regional, national or international, with total confidence," said Artie Clifford, Chairman of Blas na hÉireann.
According to research undertaken earlier this year, 54 per cent of Irish shoppers surveyed now recognise the Blas logo, as a quality symbol on products, and are more inclined to buy them. Blas recipients have also reported a sharp increase in sales from the time that the winners are announced.