This week I was delighted to be invited on a Fabulous Food Trail (FFT) in Dublin city.
Our guide for the day was Eveleen Coyle, founder and lead guide at FFT and a Dublin-native herself.
Winner of the Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2015, I was excited to head on the food tour, despite the drizzling rain. As Alfred Wainwright once said, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!”
A small group of just four, with two more Irish people and a French woman (they can take up to 14 people on a tour), we set off on a looped walk, starting up and around Harcourt Street area.
I’m not going to give away all of Eveleen’s wonderful secrets and tidbits, but here are the places we stopped off and some snapshots of what we tasted (and drank!).
We visited cafés and food halls, chocolatiers, cheesemongers, a pub and other speciality shops. Meeting people who have traded for generations as well as more modern producers, we were brought right up-to-date with the new Irish dining table.
Sister café to the wonderful Brother Hubbard, this was a regular spot of mine when I lived in Rathmines. We got to taste their delicious Turkish Eggs Menemen (which my other half has claimed previously are the best eggs he ever had).
This was my favourite stop of the day and great example of a hidden gem. So many times have I passed this pub and never wandered in. It’s one the last Victorian pubs left in Dublin (there are 12), and has so much brilliant history to it. From old school bar taps, to pay booths and match strikers, this pub has more to offer than just booze! We warmed our cockles with a 12-year-old tipple of Powers.
Listons is an essential pit stop for locals in the Camden Street and Portobello area. A delicatessen, wine shop and food hall, there’s a bit of everything to be found! What I particularly liked is that they only stock products that they love. We got to taste one of their amazing potato rostis (seriously hard to get a good one these days), and apparently people go mad for their sausage rolls.
Like Listons, this speciality shop knows where its stuff is coming from. When you walk in immediately you’re hit with the smells of fruit. We sampled their Green Goblin juice with cavolo nero, which made me instantly feel that bit healthier.
If you haven’t ever been to Fallon & Byrne’s food hall, then you must. Located in the city centre, it’s a haven for food lovers that are looking for random ingredients – escargot, anyone? We got to taste a delightful Gubbeen salami which was so delicate but yet bouncing with flavour.
Well, what can I say about Sheridans that I haven’t said a million times before? The shop never ceases to amaze me and we got to taste some of their fabulous cheeses like Milleens, Cáis na Tíre, Crozier Blue (which controversially I prefer than Cashel), and Époisses. They’re real experts in their field and I was delighted to visit them on this food tour.
Located in the Powerscourt Centre, this café was absolutely bursting with energy despite its small space. We got to taste their ham and cream cheese bagel which was quite good.
When it comes to sea salt flavoured chocolates, I’m an absolute fiend and when I tasted Cocoa Atelier’s, I fell in love. I’ve had so many chocolates consistently disappoint me, so it’s great to finally find one that rocks. Also, if you’re ever in there, you’ve got to try their mango and passion fruit ice cream.
Temple Bar doesn’t really scream “great food”, but Klaw is one of those exceptions. It doesn’t do good seafood, it does great seafood, and we got to taste their salmon which is completely unlike the slimy packets you’d get in a supermarket.
Our final stop was Klaw, and by then we had had a great variety of samplers to savour. Taking about two and half hours, it was a definitely a unique way to spend an afternoon.
Was there anything I didn’t like?
Honestly, no. Though I had been to many of the places we visited before, I still experienced something new, between tasting different food to hearing about the businesses. Eveleen also didn’t leave us hanging in between stops. As well as knowing her stuff about food, she also gave us a great breakdown of the neighbourhoods we visited.
Tours cost €55, which may sound a bit expensive but believe me, you get a lot out of this tour. Consider that we went to nine different places! Prices include everything from tastings (which are delicious), the booking fee, taxes and insurance. I also loved that we got a free bottle of water on our tour to bring around with us.
Prices include everything from tastings (which are delicious), to the booking fee, taxes, and insurance. I also loved that we got a free bottle of water on our tour to bring around with us.
For die-hard Dublin foodies, you would have definitely heard about most of the places that are on this tour but what’s great is that you can finally get to meet some of the people behind the food, as well as the history that goes along with it. They also give you a full list of where you visited and other recommended places to check out after the tour, and they interchange their stops, so this list is simply a flavour of what you could get!
This is a recommended tour for both tourists visiting Ireland, and indeed Dubliners who want to expand their knowledge on the delights that the city has to offer.
You can find out more about the Fabulous Food Trails here. They also run tours in Kilkenny and Cork, as well as a coffee tour and fashion tour for the fashionistas out there!
I was invited as a guest on this food trail. Many thanks to Eveleen for a great day and Catherine for organising.