Maria Betts has been celebrating after winning “Best Cereal in Ireland” for her Maria Lucia Bakes Cranberry, Coconut and Chia Seed granola at the Irish Food Quality Awards held in Dublin in September. The Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards now in their third year are open to all Irish retailers, producers and manufacturers across the whole of Ireland.
Maria says “Winning such a prestigious award in the highly competitive cereal category against so many well established brands has given our small business a major boost of confidence. This award will give both retailers and consumers alike, the motivation to give our granola a try and I feel it will really help to grow our business”.
The Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards follow stringent procedures to arrive at their results. Judging took place between 1st and 17th July 2015 at the Dublin Institute of Technology’s School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology. Judging panels comprise highly respected Irish food and drink experts, bringing together the widest possible pool of knowledge. The products are judged on specific criteria including taste, flavour, texture, aroma, ingredients list, innovation, packaging, presentation and price point.
The award winning cereal is hand-baked, gluten, wheat and dairy-free, as are the other products in her range; Cashew, Almond and Cinnamon and Apricot and Walnut with a Hint of Treacle. The Cashew, Almond and Cinnamon granola came Highly Commended in Small Producer Gold Award at the IQFA. The granolas are made with jumbo gluten free oats, packed full of seeds and nuts, infused with a little honey or treacle, natural vanilla and spices. They are gently baked in small batches to toast the nuts and seeds and give that delicate crunch.
Inspirational home baked food goes way back to childhood for Maria, growing up in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, her family had a tearooms, guesthouse and antique shop and she was baking with her family from an early age. Maria set up her business, Maria Lucia Bakes, in November 2013 when she was inspired to make a special breakfast for a friend who was gluten intolerant. The friend was so impressed she took Maria’s granola home to her friends, the orders came flooding in and the rest is history.
The Maria Lucia Bakes granola range is stocked in 200 Supervalues nationwide, health stores, specialist food shops (Donnybrook Fair, Avoca, Cavistons, Mortons) and is available to buy online at www.marialuciabakes.com.