Hot on the heels of its foodie destination success, where Monaghan and Glaslough placed fifth in a list of the top culinary destinations in Ireland – the county’s highest ever placing, comes Taste of Monaghan 2018.
This year's event runs from 28th - 30th September and will showcase the very best that food businesses in Monaghan have to offer. The festival has been running since 2009, and this year focuses on health and wellness.
Here are some of the Monaghan food businesses to watch among this year’s exhibitors:
Rucksnacks used the state-of-the-art incubator kitchen facility at the Ballybay Enterprise Park to develop their protein-packed beef bites, which are now on sale at SuperValu stores and at gyms throughout the county. Founder, Colm Connolly, came up with the idea of turning the beef, which his family had farmed for five generations previously, into a healthy on-the-go snack. Connolly has international expansion in his sights, and is primed to capitalise on the popularity of dried meat snacks in countries including Germany.
Baked With Love recently secured a nationwide contract to supply Lidl stores throughout Ireland. The family-run food business expanded to a dedicated 500 sq m facility last year, and now boasts a separate gluten free bakery in addition to its regular production facilities.
Blasta: Gourmet Street Kitchen is up for Best Emerging Franchise at the upcoming Irish Franchise Awards 2018/19, as well as Best Street Food at the YesChef awards. Seany and Nikita set up their Tex-Mex food truck business after four years eating their way around the world. The duo spotted a gap in the market for good quality private catering, as well as “food trucks people were not afraid to eat from,” and soon turned their passion for Mexican food into a thriving business.
Dairy farmer Seamus McMahon’s response to a slump in milk prices was to turn disused sheds on his property into a microbrewery. In addition to managing the dairy, which supplies the cream to make Bailey’s, Brehon Brewhouse beers are sipped in bars up and down the country. The company is now eyeing expansion into the US, where the thirst for craft beer is growing exponentially.
Chef Martina Woods was inspired to set up her business, Harry’s Dog Bakery, when she discovered regular dog treats made her pup unwell. Martina went on to study dog nutrition before setting up her natural dog treat business. Earlier this year, Martina won a prize worth €3,000 for an elevator pitch she made at the Enterprise Ireland Fuelling Ambition road show.
Enterprising Monaghan will also be at Taste of Monaghan 2018, where attendees can learn about the test kitchen facility and available supports for startups.