05 Jul 2022

Laois foodie twins scoop five prizes at Blas na hÉireann awards

Laois foodie twins scoop five prizes at Blas na hÉireann awards

Temptation Patisserie owners Kate and Ruth O'Hara with their their winning chocolates

Laois now has its own Happy Pear, twin foodie sisters Kate and Ruth O'Hara who have just swept the board scooping five prizes in the annual Blas na hÉireann awards, one of five Laois companies to win medals this year.

The twins aged 24 are from Durrow and run their fledgling chocolatier business in The Kitchens at the MDA in Mountmellick.

Both graduates in accounting and finance, they decided to go with their love of culinary arts in their career choice, setting up Temptation Pâtisserie just nine months ago.

Growing up with a love of French pâtisseries and chocolateries from family holidays to France, they learned everything they know through courses and videos online.

The self-taught chocolatier twins now produce luxury artisan chocolates and pâtisserie made with premium quality and ethically sourced ingredients in small batches. They specialise in hand-painted chocolates, bars and bonbons which they call ‘our little pieces of edible art’. 

Temptation Pâtisserie won the Best Artisan Product 2021 for their Sea Salt Caramel Bar, a creamy 40% milk chocolate bar shell filled with a homemade salted caramel, made using West of Dingle sea salt, hand-harvested on the Dingle Peninsula. The bar is splashed with white and blue cocoa butter, illustrating the breaking waves of the sea.

Temptation Pâtisserie were also winners of this year’s Blas na hÉireann Best Start Up award.

They also won Gold, Silver and Best in County awards.

Kate told the Leinster Express how they felt on winning no less than five awards.

"We were completely blown away, we didn't expect to get this. We are only in business eight or nine months. Thank you so so much to everyone who has supported our little business, very exciting things to come," she said.

They sell their tasty products at farmers' markets in Portlaoise and Stradbally, Newbridge and Kildare, also stocked at Chocolate Brown café in Portlaoise and also via their website

Four more Laois food producers also won awards this year, adding to their haul of medals from previous awards.

Aghaboe Farm Foods walked away with two golds and a silver adding to their toll in previous years of one gold, two silver, Best in County and Best in Farmers market, makes it the most awarded food business in Laois. 

Abbey Farm Foods won Gold & Silver while The Village Dairy won two Golds. 

Garryhinch Mushrooms who are also members of the Laois Taste group also won in Chefs Larder section.

With the annual pilgrimage to Dingle stalled, this year’s winners tuned in for a second year running from every corner of the country for a virtual celebration of the very best in Irish food. 

Blas na hÉireann Chairperson is Artie Clifford.

“These are the 14th annual Blas na hÉireann awards and despite the very challenging situation, I am delighted to report a record entry level from producers right across the island. This large increase in entries has raised the bar across all categories, allowing us to introduce new products and producers to the buyers and press with whom we work, which is really exciting. Congratulations to all the winners and to every producer who participated. It is always such a rewarding experience to see the wealth of exceptional foods being produced on the island of Ireland, and this has been the best year yet,” he said.

Now in their 14th year, the Blas na hÉireann awards are the all-island food awards that recognise the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people behind them. The biggest blind tasting of produce in the country, the criteria on which the product is judged as well as the judging system itself, which was developed by Blas na hÉireann with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen, is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide.

Products from every county in Ireland were entered into this year’s competition to win Gold, Silver or Bronze Blas na hÉireann awards in over 150 food and drink categories, as well as key awards like Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Producer.

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