An east Antrim confectioner is in the running for a prestigious industry award later this year.
Linda McGibbon, who operates Sea Sugar Handmade Confectionery in Larne, has been shortlisted in the Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards 2019.
Sea Sugar finished in the top five at last year’s awards with Linda honoured to have again made this year’s shortlist.
The awards celebrate and reward the very best tasting Irish food and drink products, and the passionate, driven producers who make it.
Linda will travel to Dingle in Co Kerry in October for the awards event on October 4 and 5.
She said: “I’m delighted at being in the top five and I would be past myself if I finished in the top three.
“Being recognised like this shows that the long hours were worth it. I am chuffed to be on the shortlist with many of the exceptional food producers that we have from across Ireland. It is a big deal for a tiny firm like Sea Sugar.”
Linda, who trained as a chef, has been making hard sweets for just over four years. After being made redundant she decided to take a chance in the confectionery industry, Since then she has picked up five Great Taste accolades and last year’s top five finish in the Irish Food Awards.
The Whitehead resident explained: “Nobody seemed to be making hard sweets like this. I spent a few months testing recipes and then putting a business plan together before deciding to test the market.
“My sweets are completely natural. I use only 100 percent natural extracts, essences and colours, so the final product is bursting with natural flavours. The use of natural colourings is very important to me.”
If you would like to try some of Linda’s award winning sweets, they can be purchased at a number of local venues including the Bank House Whitehead, Ballylagan Organic Farm Straid, Glenarm Castle and The Dairy at Gleno.
For more information about Linda’s firm, check out the Sea Sugar Handmade Confectionery Facebook page.