THERE was joy for two Kerry artisan food producers when they tasted success at SHOP 2012, Ireland's premier retail, food, drink and hospitality trade show.
Skellig Chocolates was declared the major winner at SHOP, held in the RDS Simmonscourt last week, and was awarded the accolade of "Overall Product of the Year" for their chocolate show, while also winning the "Best Innovation Category".
Meanwhile, Maja Binder, of Dingle Peninsula Cheese, was won the title of "Supreme Champion" at the Irish Cheese Awards at SHOP for her semi-hard plain cheese "Kilcummin", while also sccoping gold in the "Hard Cheese" category at the awards.
Being acknowledged as "Overall Product of the Year" for its artisan chocolate shoe, Skelligs was awarded €2,000 of Retail Support Intelligence from awards sponsor, Shelfspace, along with the added prestige of being named as the number one product at SHOP.
The award represents a huge vote of confidence for the County Kerrybased company, which was established in 1996, a fact acknowledged by proprietor Colm Healy this week.
""For the past year, we have worked tirelessly to ensure our chocolate shoes look exquisite whilst tasting great," Colm said. "Winning the Overall Product of the Year at SHOP is an overwhelming endorsement for the hard work that the Skelligs' team has put in and we're absolutely thrilled to be named as the number one product at the show.
"We hope that this national recognition will continue to open doors with new customers and will expand our newly rebranded range with existing customers."
Meanwhile, for Maja Binder, winning two awards at SHOP proved a massive vote of confidence in her produce. And, it was fitting that the Dingle cheesemaker was presented with a trophy dedicated to the memory of a fellow-Kerrywoman, Listowel's Sheila Broderick, by her daughter Eilish.
"To be crowned the Supreme Cheese is a huge vote of confidence in our cheese and is recognition for the hard work that we've dedicated into making Kilcummin the best it can be," she said.
"To follow in the footsteps of such high quality cheese makers means a great deal, and to be presented with the Sheila Broderick Memorial Trophy is such an honour. We're hoping that this win will really elevate the Dingle Peninsula brand and open up new markets for our company."