Friday 17 November 2017

Rising to the occasion: decades-old recipe wins best bread in breakfast awards

Aidan MacManus who won the Irish bread award for the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards 2017. Photo: Mark Condren
Aidan MacManus who won the Irish bread award for the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards 2017. Photo: Mark Condren

Gavin White

Ever wondered where you can find the best bread in the country? Georgina Campbell's Breakfast Awards has given us the answer.

While there was no overall best breakfast champion - the awards commended the various elements which make the meal 'the most important of the day'.

It was the King Sitric seafood restaurant and guest house in Howth, north Dublin, that brought home the best bread accolade with its homemade soda bread.

The King Sitric has been serving up fine seafood since 1971, but owners Aidan and Joan MacManus said restaurants "were only as good as their last meal".

Passed on from his grandmother, Mr MacManus said his recipe had "only had a couple of changes" over decades, including a suggestion from former trainee chef Kevin Thornton to add some melted butter.

The pair said the bread was "especially suited with fish" and that it worked particularly well with smoked salmon.

Aidan with his wife Joan outside their restaurant and guest house in Howth. Photo: Mark Condren
Aidan with his wife Joan outside their restaurant and guest house in Howth. Photo: Mark Condren

He said they were delighted with the award.

"We're so long established now that we're not the 'awarding-winning restaurant', but there's no harm getting awards," said Mr MacManus.

"With transition periods over the years, with new chefs and systems you just work hard at it, we've never given up.

"We're nearly 45-and-a-half years going and we're still changing, competing and trying to stay above water even."

Georgina Campbell, Peaches Kemp of Hatch & Sons, and Paul Flynn of The Tannery. Photo: Paul Sherwood
Georgina Campbell, Peaches Kemp of Hatch & Sons, and Paul Flynn of The Tannery. Photo: Paul Sherwood

Mrs MacManus said the pair "have been through two tough recessions" and despite this they had always fought for their consistent quality.

Also recognised for their bread was Waterford couple Esther Barron and Joe Prendergast for their Bakery's Blaa bread.

Barron's Bakery in Cappoquin, Co Waterford, "is a very old bakery that only deals with good fresh ingredients", according to owner Ms Barron.

"We weren't making a penny when all the cheap breads came out but we're passionate about what we do and that's what got us through," she said.

With brunch becoming more popular across the country, Rua in Castlebar, Co Mayo, can now lay claim to the best brunch in Ireland with their locally sourced fry.

Hatch & Sons in Dublin came highly commended in the brunch stakes.

There were four winners in the Irish breakfast foods category with O'Neill's Dry Cure Bacon from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, taking the best meats tag and Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, taking the best fish prize.

Flahavan's Oats took the award for best cereal.

Meanwhile, The Tannery in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, was highly commended for its 'Welcome Standard'.

Irish Independent

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