The Waterford blaa... now available in Dubai
From the Deise to Dubai.
The blaa has debuted at the five-star Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers in Dubai, capping a remarkable year for the humble bread roll.
In the year since Waterford's blaa achieved Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) status, the famous bread roll has winged its way around the world.
PGI status meant the blaa could claim its place alongside renowned products like Italy’s Parma Ham, France’s Camembert Cheese and Greece’s Kalamata Olive Oil - and claim it, it has.
The Waterford blaa has not only appeared on Aer Lingus transatlantic menus, but has travelled as far afield as the UK, France, the US and now the United Arab Emirates.
This five star Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers serves the blaa in its Cavendish Restaurant and McGettigan’s Irish pub (below), bringing a taste of Deise to Dubai.
Dubai's blaas are baked in Waterford by Dermot Walsh of M&D Bakery, frozen to minus 20-degrees, and shipped to the UAE. They keep for nine months in their frozen state.
“The interest in the blaa has mushroomed beyond all expectations," Walsh says.
"To see [it] on the menu of one of the Middle East’s most esteemed hotels is a hugely significant achievement and one that all Waterford blaa bakers can be very proud of."
The blaa (picture below courtesy of Hatch & Sons, who serve blaas in Dublin) dates back to the 1690s, when French Huguenots introduced white flour and no mean baking skills to Ireland.
M&D Bakery set up the Waterford Blaa Bakers Association along with three other traditional family bakeries from Waterford and South Kilkenny in 2009.
Between them, M & D Bakery, Hickey’s Bakery, Barron’s Bakery and Kilmacow Bakery now produce over 100,000 blaas every week, and the bread roll has become a protected food product in Europe.
In 2012, Irish food and drink exports to the Middle East were valued at €275 million.
Bord Bia estimates that the figures could double to exceed €500 million this decade, however.
Mr. Michael Hussey, Manager of Bord Bia, Middle East said:
“There are huge opportunities in the Middle East... However, growing the market is very competitive, so hotels, restaurants and other catering outlets are looking for points of difference to make them stand out from competitors and the Waterford Blaa offers this to discerning customers."
More info: www.waterfordblaa.ie