Thursday 27 October 2016

What to feed China's Premier during his Irish visit? Some of Ireland's finest wares...

Published 17/05/2015 | 16:36

Irish food producers could be set for quite a coup. One of the world's most powerful political figures sampled more than a few of their best wares today.

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Having touched down in Shannon for a brief 48 hour flyover, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang accompanied Taoiseach Enda Kenny to an Irish beef and dairy farm in Gortbrack in county Mayo and was given the chance to enjoy a series of locally produced goods.

Among the wares was smoked salmon and dilisk soda bread from the Connemara Smokehouse in Galway, 'farm friendly' chicken with wild garlic from the Castlemine Farm in Roscommon, and a series of Irish Cheeses on brown bread crackers, along with Rua apple chutney, from the Carrowholly Farmhouse in Mayo.

Also on show was Bord Bia's Irish roast fillet with locally grown rocket and horseradish mayo, buttermilk pots with rhubarb ‘ripple’, Westport Grove jam, Keelings' strawberries, and dozens of other food products produced in Connacht.

The farm visit also included a celebration of traditional Irish music and dance, which has enjoyed a strong interest in China in recent years.

In a statement, the Government said the trip gave the Chinese leader first-hand experience of Ireland's high-quality agri-food sector, and would likely help to promote Ireland as an environmentally friendly tourism destination.

Full list of foods Mr Li Keqiang could tuck into today:

Roast Fillet of Bord Bia Quality Assured Beef, locally Grown Rocket, Mini Blaa Roll, Horseradish Mayo

Castlemine Farm, Co. Roscommon

Hot and Cold Smoked Salmon with Pickles and Dilisk Soda Bread

Connemara Smokehouse, Co. Galway

Burren Smokehouse, Co. Clare

Free Range Ham Hock and Roast Chicken Terrine with Wild Garlic Mayo

Castlemine Farm, Co. Roscommon

‘Friendly Farmer’ Chicken,  Athenry, Co. Galway

St Tola Goats’ Cheese, Dill, Beet Relish, Sourdough Bread

Inagh, Co Clare

Irish Cheeses with Sheridan’s Brown Bread Crackers and Rua Apple Chutney

Carrowholly Farmhouse Cheese, Co Mayo

Killeen, Farmhouse Cheese, Co Galway

Cashel Blue, Co Tipperary

Buttermilk Pots with Rhubarb ‘Ripple’

Rhubarb – Garvey’s Farm

Scones, Cream, Strawberry Jam

Connacht Gold

Westport Grove Jam, Co Mayo

Achill Sea Salt Caramel and Chocolate Brownie Bites.

Porter Fruit Cake

Goya’s, Co Galway

Tea, Coffee, Water, Home-made Lemonade

Pónaire Roastery, Co. Limerick

Fior Uisce Bottled Water, Co. Mayo

Café Rua Lemonade

Supplier Details

Meat and Fish:

Beef Fillet and Pork – Derek and Brendan Allen, Castlemine Farm, Co. Roscommon

Pasture Raised Chickens - Ronan Byrne, ‘Friendly Farmer’,  Athenry , Co Galway

Cold Smoked Salmon - Connemara Smokehouse

Hot Smoked Salmon - Burren Smokehouse

Cheese and Dairy:

St Tola Goats’ Cheese, Co Clare

Killeen Cows’ Cheese, Co Galway

Carrowholly Cheese, Co Mayo

Cashel Blue Cheese, Co. Tipperary

Connacht Gold – Milk , Butter and Cream


Garvey Farm, Gortbrack, Ower, Co. Mayo

Rocket and salad leaves from Stephen Gould, Headford, Co. Galway & Ger Langan, Rural Training Scheme , Castlebar

Keelings Strawberries

Scallions and Radishes – Green Earth Organics, Corrandulla, Co. Galway

Breads and Scones

Rua Delicatessen, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

Mrs Garvey

Porter cake, Goya’s Galway


Chutneys and condiments – Rua, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

Strawberry Jam – Westport Grove

‘Brown bread’ crackers – Sheridan Cheesemongers

Achill Sea Salt – Co Mayo

Premier Li was greeted by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan when he touched down in Shannon Airport as part of a two-day trip intended to deepen relations between Ireland and China.

The head of the Chinese government, and one of the key stewards for one of the world’s largest economics, was accompanied by a number of government ministers, as well as his wife Professor Cheng, ahead of an extensive visit in South America .

Speaking in Shannon, Minister Noonan said securing China investment in the financial services in Ireland "will be one of the topics on the agenda this evening". 

“Our principal interest up to now in the Chinese market has been exports. They regard the baby food in Ireland as of very high quality and safe and there’s a huge demand for it.

“As well as that, in November the Chinese market opened up for the export of Irish beef and the actual exporting of the beef so that it’s available in the Chinese supermarkets we would hope will begin very shortly.”

Bord Bia CEO Aidan Cotter said the visit marked “another important step in securing further market opportunities for Irish exporters in this high potential market.”

Speaking in Mayo, he commented: “China is our sixth largest export market overall, [and] our second most important for dairy and pig meat.”

“In 2014, international markets (those outside the European Union) were the star performers in Irish food and drink exports achieving their fifth year of continuous growth in 2014.” 

“The Chinese government places great emphasis on food safety and today Premier Li was informed about the commitment farmers of Ireland have… [to] animal health, welfare and traceability.”

As part of their Origin Green Programme, Bord Bia said they were currently carbon foot printing approximately 700 farms per week.

Premier Li is the second most powerful man in China and he will to stay over night in the Ashford Castle in Cong, were a series of high level meetings are expected to take place between ministers from both Governments.

“[Having] Premier here today speaks volumes about the ties between China and this part of Ireland,” Shannon Chairman Rose Hynes.

“Very strong trade links are being developed between China and Ireland and, in that context, we are delighted to see such focus on the Shannon and wider West of Ireland region.”

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