Morelli Ice Cream crowned Supreme Champion at Blas na hÉireann 2023

Marino, Dario and Arnaldo Morelli from Morelli Ice Cream Coleraine, County Derry who won the Supreme Champion Food Producer Award for their ice cream sorbet at the Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards in Dingle, County Kerry on Friday (Photo: Don MacMonagle)

Blas na hÉireann celebrated another bumper year in Dingle this weekend, where Miena’s Nougat was also announced as Best Artisan Producer



2 October 2023

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Blas na hÉireann, the Irish food awards, have announced this year’s winners with the three-day celebration of the best of Irish food and drink taking place from Thursday, 28th to Saturday, 30th September in Dingle.

Morelli Ice Cream was crowned as Supreme Champion for its Morelli’s Mango Sorbet and Miena’s Nougat was announced as Best Artisan Producer.

A previous finalist and gold medal winner at Blas na hÉireann awards for its sensational ice creams, frozen yoghurts and sorbets, this year’s Supreme Champion is Morelli Ice Cream for its Morelli’s Mango Sorbet, a sorbet that uses real mango puree and no dairy or lactose products.

Based in Derry, the Morelli name is famous when it comes to ice-cream. Five generations after Peter Morelli left Italy by foot to start a new life ending up in Northern Ireland, setting up cafés and parlours across the county, his great nieces and nephews Marino, Romeo, Tania, Arnaldo and Daniela Morelli, are now at the helm, expanding the business overseas as well as establishing Morelli’s across Ireland.

Their story of hardship, emigration, romance and family has been well documented and they are extremely proud of their humble beginnings from their great uncle’s little café on the cobbled streets of Coleraine into what is now Ireland’s most famous Italian Ice Cream and Blas na hÉireann 2023 Supreme Champion.

“We are delighted to be named Supreme Champion at this year’s Blas na hÉireann,” said Arnaldo Morelli, MD at Morelli Ice Cream. “Our grandparents and parents would be ecstatic and we are all very proud to carry on their legacy. Our focus is on quality ingredients and great tasting ice-cream and there really is no better award than this among Irish food and drink producers so to be crowned Supreme Champion is the cherry on top of our Mango Sorbet!”

Winner of Best Artisan Producer, Miena’s Nougat, a producer of handmade nougats used with the freshest ingredients they can source. Miena started making nougat in 2012 at her Wicklow home, 10 years later, she is still making nougat in a small production unit right next to her original base. Miena and her small team are constantly experimenting with new flavours and ingredients, using the very best of what is around them in the Garden of Ireland with a keen focus on sustainability.

“After ten years dedicating my career to something I am so passionate about, it is an honour to be awarded Best Artisan Producer at the 2023 Blas na hÉireann awards.” said Miena Rust, founder of Miena’s Nougat. “This really is something I wake up and feel driven by every morning. When we come up with a new recipe that tastes delicious and people enjoy, that’s what gives me a kick and keeps me going. We have just been awarded our Origin Green Gold Membership for 2023 after achieving our five year sustainability plan so to have this on top just makes it all the more worthwhile. I want to thank Artie and his amazing team, the impact of these awards is huge and has been so beneficial to my company, I can’t thank them enough.”

Speaking as the winners were announced, Blas na hÉireann Chairperson, Artie Clifford said, “We are thrilled to see such deserving winners and finalists again this year at Blas na hÉireann 2023. Looking back on 16 years of Blas, it’s fantastic to see the standard of food and drink in Ireland go from strength-to-strength year on year. It’s a real privilege for myself and the whole Blas family to bring these products, and the amazing producers who make them, to a wider audience.”

Now in its 16th year, Blas na hÉireann saw the highest number of entries with almost 3,000 products and many new producers entering the awards for the first time. Products from every county in Ireland were entered to win bronze, silver or gold awards in over 150 food and drink categories, as well as key awards like Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Producer. As the competition ramps up year on year, securing that Blas badge is a huge achievement and means those producers who are short listed as finalists and the final winners really are the crème de la crème of Irish food and drink.

Retailers’ performance

SuperValu and Centra both recorded impressive results at this year’s ceremony, which ShelfLife reported on in the below articles:

SuperValu producers triumph at 2023 Blas na hÉireann Awards with 94 wins – Shelflife Magazine

Centra celebrates producers with 28 awards at Blas na hÉireann – Shelflife Magazine

Aldi results

Aldi and its network of Irish-based suppliers and producers were also once again big winners at this year’s Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards, taking home an impressive haul of 46 awards across several categories, including 14 gold medals, 17 silver medals and 15 bronze medals, retaining its position as Ireland’s most-awarded discount retailer at the key food awards for 2023.

There was further cause for celebration following the announcement that Macroom Buffalo Cheese, a longstanding supplier to Aldi, ever since it came through the Grow with Aldi programme in 2015, won the Best in Munster award.

This year, Aldi’s gold medal-winning products were produced by ABP Meats, Callan Bacon, Carroll Cuisine, Loughnane’s of Galway, Macroom Buffalo Cheese, Oakpark, O’Hara’s of Foxford, Ribworld and Wild Irish Game, among others – all long-time suppliers and valued collaborators.

Tesco results

Tesco Ireland received 45 awards at this year’s Blas na hÉireann awards in another successful year for the retailer and its producers.

Tesco products almost doubled their tally from last year, receiving awards across several medal classes, including beef, lamb, and bacon, cured meats, ready meals, prepared foods, soups, ice cream, dairy, cheese, breakfast cereal and preserves categories.

Tesco was awarded 15 gold medals including Tesco Finest Certified Irish Angus Sirloin Steak with Creamy Pepper Sauce, Tesco Lamb Rack with a Mushroom & Herb Crumb, and Tesco Sicilian Lemon Luxury Yogurt 150g.

Tesco Finest Blackcurrant Conserve and Tesco Finest Gherkin and Mustard Relish also won gold awards while our Finest rooster potatoes received a prestigious ‘chef’s larder’ award.

In June of this year, Tesco Ireland also received a number of top awards at the prestigious Monde Selection Awards in Brussels. The retailer won four gold awards for its Finest Certified Irish Angus beef Striploin Steak, its Finest Certified Irish Angus beef ribeye steak, and its Finest Certified Irish Angus Beef Sirloin steak, while its Finest Certified Irish Angus fillet steak was awarded silver.



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