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 this week. The Irish Quality Food & Drink Awards, now in their third year, are open to all Irish retailers, producers and manufacturers across the whole of Ireland, and Team Easy Food is proud to have been Consumer Media Partner of the Awards for the second year running.
“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” said Maria. “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 along with the other products in her range. Maria’s Cashew, Almond and Cinnamon granola came Highly Commended for the Small Producer Gold Award at the IQFAs. The granolas are made with jumbo gluten-free oats, and 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 a delicate crunch.
Inspirational home-baked food goes back to childhood for Maria. Growing up in Glendalough, Co.Wicklow, her family had tearooms, a guesthouse and an 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.
Maria has also won other awards including the Great Taste Award in 2014 for her Cashew, Almond & Cinnamon Granola.
The Maria Lucia Bakes granola range is stocked in 200 Supervalus nationwide, health Stores, specialist food shops ( Donnybrook Fair, Avoca, Cavistons, Mortons) and is available to buy online at www.marialuciabakes.com.