Wednesday 26 April 2017

Time to cut mustard with foodies abroad

We have the talent and ingredients to compete with the world's great food nations, argues Lucinda O'Sullivan

The importance of food tourism cannot be emphasised enough. It is a huge market which has not been recognised sufficiently in promoting Ireland as a food destination. It is only recently that there has been even a vague nod to the whole business of food tourism.

Last autumn, while in France, I was horrified to see a television advertisement for Ireland which showed our beautiful wild mountains and coastlines -- but then a group of fossilised-looking bods costumed in God knows what sort of historic garb, sitting, stony-faced, on a beach with a fella banging a bodhran. Unbelievably, not one mention of food was being broadcast to a nation which lives by and travels on its stomach.

Earlier this year I had an email from a man in Australia, who wanted to tell me that he had been blown away by his food experiences here. He, like many others, had come on the 'ancestral trail' expecting, as he said, to have to put up with bacon and cabbage and the 'full Irish' experience.

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