For too long, Irish food has turned the other cheek.
It has pretended not to hear the snickering from continental Europe, who breathe repeated jibes about dense carrots and overboiled potatoes.
It has looked coolly on while travellers sought to confirm the myths of a meat-and-two-veg nation, holding up specimens from the meanest pubs as proof.
However, the year is 2019 and Ireland has outlasted them all. With fresh produce, excellent meat standards and a whole new generation of up-and-coming wunderkinds chasing Michelin tails, the food of the Irish has taken its rightful place stop the international cuisine ladder.
And what about within the country itself? Where ranks as number one?
We'll give you one clue: Déise.
Waterford City has come out on top at the Foodie Destinations 2019.
The intuitive, run by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, celebrates Ireland’s excellent food offerings and encourages local food tourism.
Public votes were combined with scoring from judges who visited the various locations up for this year’s awards.
Areas are judged by a number of criteria such as how a location promotes itself through joint activities like festivals or farmers' markets and the quality of dining experiences for locals and visitors. Judges also look at how good the producer/supplier network is, plans for future growth, and industrial elements such as training and employment.
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Had a great evening out in Waterford for our first city Tapas Trail. Thanks to our new friends for coming along on the night and to our hosts for a lovely evening @momowaterford @everetts_restaurant @bodegawaterford #Tastetheisland #WaterfordWay #irelandsancienteast #Visitwaterford #irishfoodtrails #thingstodo #local #food #drink #nightout
Waterford, which was highlighted for its sense of community, local awareness, and passion for encouraging food tourism in the area.
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said: “It’s clear that a huge amount of time and effort has gone into making it a foodie destination worth visiting and it is clear that it is a very coordinated effort run by people who are passionate about food in Waterford.”
This year’s judges commented that there was a real sense of community in the area, with both big and small local companies getting involved in creating a vibrant food-focused destination. They're undoubtedly succeeding: the popular Waterford Harvest Festival ran earlier in September, and, as part of the Fáilte Ireland Taste The Island initiative, there are tapas trails and Bus Bia tours taking place in Waterford and Dungarvan until November.
Main image by @momowaterford
This post was originally published on our sister site Food and Wine.