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Bridgestone 100 Best

We are delighted, honoured and tickled pink to be listed in both of John and Sally McKenna’s guide books coming out this month, the Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2011 and the Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2011. True, Paradiso has been listed every year since we opened in 1993, but it’s one listing that really feels like an honour, and one we’ve never taken for granted.

The simple reason for that is that the McKennas are genuinely passionate about food, fiercely independent thinkers, and have an unshakeable belief in the notion that good food is a vital part of the life of the country and of every local economy and culture within it. Every establishment listed in the Bridgestone guidebooks is doing more than cooking nice things to eat, they are actively involved in their local community, supporting small independent producers and creating something that adds to the value of living where they work. Mere menu-writing and paying lip service to fashionable ideas like local sourcing won’t get you in the Bridgestone guidebooks, and you can travel the country armed with the books trusting that the places you visit will be walking the walk more than talking themselves up.

This sense of authenticity and purpose is more important now than ever before, at a time when the shit-blowing fan that is the Irish economy is cranked up to eleven and the restaurant industry comes under huge pressure to survive by finding ways to lower prices in response to customer demand. To be blunt, the easiest way for a restaurant to lower prices is to buy cheaper ingredients, and buying cheaper usually means mass-produced imports, screwing your suppliers or dumping them altogether. It’s vital that in the frenzy for cheaper food we don’t end up killing off the wonderful network of independent producers that has blossomed in Ireland over the last couple of decades. Conscious spending is the key to this, supporting the people and places in your local economy that in turn support local producers and continue to pay them proper prices for their wonderful ingredients.

So grab yourself a copy of the Bridgestone guidebooks, hit the road and enjoy the wonderful food this country is still producing. They’re in the shops now and available from the McKenna’s website.

The other wonderful news from the Bridgestone guidebooks this year is that the Farmhouse B&B run by Paradiso’s vegetable growers, Ultan and Lucy of Gortnanain Farm has been listed in the 100 Best Places to Stay. That’s a massive compliment for both Gortnanain and the people who are tuned in enough to list them.

Posted on: 6 January 2011

 
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