Category Archives: Food & Drink Producer Series

The Best Irish Food and Drink Products I discovered in 2015

What a year! Ireland never ceases to amaze me.

Despite being quiet here on the blog I’ve had such a busy few months trying new things and delving into new products.

I’ve experienced other products from these producers before, but I was amazed and delighted to get to taste new things. Here are the ones that stood out for me the most this year:

Wildwood Heather Vinegar

Not only is the vinegar exquisite but the bottle its sold in is stunning and immediately makes it a glamorous product. The heather-flavoured vinegar is just mind-blowing.

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The vinegars are made in Mayo’s glorious landscape and really capture the flavours and scent of the natural world. I could buy bottles of the stuff!

Hazel Mountain Chocolates

From bean to bar: if you’re used to eating Dairymilk all your life then this chocolate is a revelation. This small-batch chocolate is just so different to anything I’ve tasted that initially it took me a while to get used to it.

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Using rare Trinitario cacao beans and raw cane sugar for their dark chocolate and Irish milk from grass-fed cows in their milk chocolate, what they create is such a mix of flavours that’s something more than just your regular block. Trust me, you’ll savour this stuff.

Dingle Gin

I was introduced to the Dingle Gin “Ginito” this year,  which uses basil instead of mint, and it is super.

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Distilled in pot stills with a range of botanicals including Rowan Berry, Fuschia, Bog Myrtle, Heather, Chervil and Hawthorn, Dingle Gin fast became one of my favourites.

Goatsbridge Rainbow Trout Caviar

I was delighted to meet the extraordinary Mags Kirwan while I was working at the National Crafts and Design Fair this year and that was when I was introduced to her magnificent caviar.

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Sitting on top of cracker, with a spread of cream cheese, these delightful, freshwater, salty balls of orange are dreamlike. Priced at €12.95 (plus shipping), they’re worth every cent and won’t disappoint.

Naturally Cordial’s Lemon and Lime Cordial

Clodagh Davis’ Naturally Cordial is made from organic citrus fruits and Wexford soft fruit giving it a really great taste. I was lucky to spend time and chat with Clodagh when I was working at the Bite Food Festival.

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Keeping it simple and pure, Clodagh uses minimum ingredients to maximise her cordials’ quality and at her recommendation I love combining the lemon and lime cordial with cloves and hot water. It’s like a hot whiskey! Priced at €5.99 from Ardkeen Quality Food Store, it’s something that will treat your tastebuds to a little bit of magic.

Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin

A year for gin in my books, this year I was invited to the launch of Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin – yes milk! The brainchild of proprietor Justin Green and Antony Jackson, this small batch gin is bursting with all sorts of flavours with a fragrant nose and spicy middle notes. The fruit-driven finish is perfect in making this gin a special one.

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Distilled from cow’s whey from local dairy farmers, Bertha the cow was the world’s oldest and native of Sneem in Kerry. She passed away in 1993, having given birth to 39 calves! Here’s a fantastic recipe for gravlax flavoured with this Irish gin.

Here’s to more great produce in 2016!

Part 25: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

Another Sunday, another short round-up of some of Ireland’s best food producers!

Celebrating local produce, this week I’m looking at five more companies that caught my eye:

Kearney Blue Cheese

A deliciously creamy cheese with a balanced blue flavour throughout, Kearney Blue is definitely one for the cheeseboard.

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Based in Northern Ireland, the cheese itself has one numerous awards including Best Irish Cheese, Gold medal at the International Cheese Awards, Nantwich 2011.

Website: http://www.buynifood.com/buyer_search.php?supp=19829

Oldfarm

Irish free-range pork and bacon – need I say more?  Oldfarm breed and raise Saddleback and Gloucester Old Spot pigs and also some cross-breed pigs.

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Their happy pigs have access to the outdoors all year round and live on a diet that is totally gmo-free! Delicious? I think so.

Website: http://www.oldfarm.ie/

Aruna Sauces

Feeling saucy? Sarajit Chanda uses his mother Aruna’s recipes to create authentic curry sauces.

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Using traditional recipes and methods, the sauces have won gold and bronze at the Blas na hÉireann food Awards.

Website: http://www.aruna.ie/

Eadaoin’s Kitchen

Eadaoin Walsh creates delicious bakery and pastry delights, at the School of Food in Thomastown, Co.Kilkenny.

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A professionally trained chef, her products can be found in Cillin Hill Market, the Truffle Fairy Chocolate Shop, Knockdrinna Farmshop in Stoneyford, and Nicholas Mosse Cafe in Bennetsbridge.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eadaoins-Kitchen/285286431592891?sk=timeline

Pandora Bell

Using only the purest ingredients for sweet treats, Pandora Bell is based in Killonan, Ballysimon.  The range is made using traditional methods passed down through the centuries with recipes that never change.

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The result? Mouth-watering delights: fruity, fresh Jellies, Sweets, Lollipops and Candy Canes, light, luscious Nougat, succulent Caramels and creamy rich Fudge – guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Website: http://pandorabell.com/

(All images via company Facebook pages)

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Part 24: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

Dairy, meat, fish, fruit – to an outsider you mightn’t believe it, but believe me, we’ve got it!

Celebrating the best of Ireland’s producers, this series looks at the vast range of goods we have to offer in our wee country.

Here are five more producers that stood out for me this week (a huge thanks also to those who tweeted me suggestions on who to feature! Great to see so many people who so proud of our producers):

The Apple Farm

Based in Tipperary, the Apple Farm grows not just apples, but pears, plums, sweet cherries, strawberries and raspberries too.

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They make apple juice, and mixed juices from other fruits too, as well as a sparkling apple juice and cider vinegar. They also have a farm shop from which their produce is available all year round!

Website: http://www.theapplefarm.com/

Lough Owel Organic Farm

Lough Owel Aberdeen Angus Herd is Bord Bia approved and an IOFGA full symbol organic farm located two miles from Mullingar.

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Their speciality is Organic Beef, with the animals being farm reared and finished on clover/grass and chicory herbs to flavour the meat. They also breed  Saddleback/tamworth cross pigs!

Website: https://owelorganic.wordpress.com/

St. Tola Irish Goat Cheese

If you love cheese, then you’ve got to try this! St. Tola Irish goat cheese was launched over 25 years ago and is perfect for your cheeseboard.

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With a slew of awards under their belts, these cheeses are much sought after. All of their cheeses are handmade and matured to suit customers’ individual requirements.

Website: www.st-tola.ie

Velvet Cloud

Fan of yogurt? Velvet Cloud is a smooth tasting natural Irish yogurt handmade by the Flanagan Family in Co. Mayo, using Irish sheep’s milk from their farm.

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A tasty alternative to cows’ milk yogurt, Velvet Cloud doesn’t have any additives, milk powders or sweeteners. All they add is a natural yogurt culture to the pure Irish sheep’s milk.

Website: http://velvetcloud.ie/

Regan Organic Produce

A small family run business based in Wexford, Regan Organics produce oven ready organic/free range chickens, organic pork, sausages, rashers, duck and hen eggs.

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Their aim is to produce top quality food products for customers that are fully traceable, with high welfare standards.

Website: http://www.reganorganics.com/

(All images via company Facebook pages)

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Part 23: Irish food and drink producers worth getting to know

Have a love for all things Irish? Looking to try something different?

This food and drink producer series looks at some of the many companies in Ireland that are creating the best of the best of local products.

Here are five more producers that caught my eye this week:

Ardmayle Organic Meats

An organic farmer based near the historical town of Cashel, Ardmayle Organic Meats is run by Denis Maher who specialises in beef, pork and lamb.

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Denis has many awards for his meat including 2nd Place in the International Dexter Gathering Rare Breeds Show 2013.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/ardmayleorganicmeats/timeline

Hazel Mountain Chocolates

Have a chocolate addiction? Say hello to Hazel Mountain Chocolates, stoneground bean to bar chocolate makers and chocolatiers!

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They ethically source cacao beans from small farms all around the world to handcraft fine chocolate from the bean using only natural and fresh ingredients. Delicious.

Website: http://www.hazelmountainchocolate.com/

Carrowholly Cheese

An award winning Gouda-style farmhouse cheese made on the shores of Clew Bay, this cheese is made from raw cow’s milk that’s collected from local farmers.

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Each cheese is made by hand by Andrew Pelham-Burn and production is kept intentionally small so as to ensure an outstanding quality. It has a full-flavoured creamy texture with a slight nutty undertone.

Website: http://carrowhollycheese.ie/

G’s Gourmet Jams

Founded back in 1998 by Helen Gee, this jam company is based in Laois and uses only the best fruit and natural ingredients.

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The jams are made in the traditional way, stirred and poured by hand using the open pan boiling method. It’s a family-run business in every sense!

Website: http://www.gsgourmetjams.ie/

McCormick’s Red Pudding

Though McCormick’s produce sausages, ham, pork and bacon, they’re also well known for red pudding! Using generations of old recipes, this award-winning craft butcher has been on the go since 1937.

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For those who don’t know, red pudding is traditionally made from variety of ingredients including bacon, beef, pork, pork rind and suet and can be found mostly in East Scotland.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/mccormicksbutchers/timeline

(Images via company Facebook pages)

Part 22: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

It’s that time of the week again! Celebrating the best of what Ireland has to offer, this series looks at the country’s vast array of food and drink producers.

Here are five more companies that caught my eye this week:

Burren Balsamics

Based in Co. Down, Burren Balsamics produce zesty zingy taste sensations through velvety vinegars, infused with succulent fruity flavours.

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Made from all locally sourced fruits, their flavours include Bramley apple, blueberry, blackberry, stawberry and strawberry and mint. Delicious!

 

Website: http://www.burrenbalsamics.com/

Antoinette’s Bakery

Dublin City’s first 100% gluten-free bakery situated on Kevin Street Lower,  they serves up gluten and wheat free treats as well as catering to the dairy and egg-free customer!

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Fresh, delicious and locally-produced food, they also make celebration cakes to order.

Website: www.antoinettesbakery.com

Kettyle Irish Foods

Situated in the countryside of County Fermanagh, Kettyle Irish Foods specialise in superior meats.

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From Dry-aged Beef, Lough Erne Lamb, Fermanagh Free Range Chicken, Fermanagh Bacon and Rose Veal, they take pride in the work they put into rearing, butchering and maturing their meat.

Website: http://www.kettyleirishfoods.com/

Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese

Handmade with milk from Freisian cows grazed on rich limestone soil and pasteurised on site, Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese is perfect for any cheeseboard.

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No artificial preservatives or additives are used and the cheese is made with vegetarian rennet, making it suitable for vegetarians. The cheese is semi-soft, with a delicate flavor, becoming piquant with age. For full flavour, it is best eaten at 12 weeks or older.

Website: http://www.carrigalinecheese.com/

Wild Irish Sea Veg

Founded in 2009, this is a family run Seaweed Company located in West Clare.

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The seaweeds are harvested from the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and are 100% natural, hand harvested, air and sun dried to ensure only the finest quality.

Website: http://wildirishseaveg.com/

(All images via company Facebook pages)

Part 21: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

Celebrating the best of what Ireland has to offer, each week I highlight some of the country’s wonderful homemade produce and products!

Here are five more producers that caught my eye this week:

Longways Cider Company

Longways Cider Company producers premium Irish cider direct from their family orchard in Co. Tipperary.

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Vibrant and fruity with buckets of apple flavour and a smooth finish this cider is made from 100% grown Irish grown apples using first pressed juice only. It’s double fermented and gluten free too!

Website: http://www.longwayscider.ie/

Boulabán Farm Icecream

Love smooth and creamy ice creams?Look no further!

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This award winning icecream and sorbet company produces treats on their dairy farm using milk and cream from our pedigree Holstein/Friesian herd.

Website: http://www.boulabanefarm.ie/

Highbank Organic Orchard Syrup

Addicted to maple syrup? This sweet, organic syrup, is the first of its kind that’s grown and produced by in Kilkenny, Ireland.

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It’s made from Irish, organic apples with no added pesticides, no artificial fertilisers or preservatives. Highbank orchard syrup has a shelf life of over 2 years.

Website: http://highbankorchards.com/

Lough Derg Chocolates

A family owned business based on the shores of Lough Derg, this company creates luscious lollies, milk chocolate bars, selection boxes and Handmade Chocolate Truffle Pouches.

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All chocolates are handmade using quality ingredients.

Website: www.loughdergchocolates.ie

Dunany Organic Flour

Dunany Farm is a traditional 4th generation enterprise, producing full symbol organic cereals since 2006.

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Their high standard, quality grain – particularly wheat – produces a wholesome, nutty, coarse-grained flour which is exceptionally good in traditional soda bread recipes. Their Spelt and Rye flours make tasty low gluten breads.

Website: http://www.dunanyflour.com/

(Images via producer websites and Facebook pages)

Part 20: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

What we create here in Ireland is something that’s worth celebrating.

We have world class meat and dairy, and with talented producers on our doorsteps it’s no wonder that we’re admired from abroad.

Here are five more producers that stood out for me this week:

West Cork Pies

Fan of the rebel county? West Cork Pies are handmade from local ingredients, prime cuts of meat and are prepared freshly each week.

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According to its creators, “what you’ll get from me are good quality, very tasty, products full of substantial ingredients not just cheap gravy and the odd lump of something indistinguishable. All the eggs I use are free-range and everything I make is made from the raw ingredients. I do not buy in anything ready made, that way I know, and you can trust, exactly what has gone into my products”

Website: http://www.westcorkpies.com/

Green Beards

Based in Dublin, Green Beards specialise in producing cold-pressed juices and freshly made smoothies to satisfy thirsty customers.

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Using fresh, raw and organic ingredients, these cleansing juices will have you walking around with a spring in your step.

Website: http://www.greenbeards.ie/

Armelle’s Kitchen

Tartlets, sweet treats and wonderful French macarons, Armelle’s Kitchen is worth checking out. (See lead image!)

Based in Kildare, they’re experts in homemade cakes and goodies.

Website: http://www.armelleskitchen.com/

Connemara Smokehouse

With a pride in smoking fish, Connemara Smokehouse is renowned for producing some of the best seafood products in Ireland.

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From smoked kippers, tuna, mackerel and eel, all of their fish is locally sourced with all of their salmon products available in Wild, Organic or Farmed.

Website: http://www.smokehouse.ie/

Gookies

Gluten-free and wheat-free, Gookies is an Irish company that specialises in cookie dough.

Milk chocolate, triple chocolate? Sounds like treats that would satisfy any sweet tooth.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gookies/110103285717377

(All images sourced from company Facebook pages)

 

Part 19: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

I’m constantly impressed by the wide range of goods that we produce here in Ireland.

This series focuses in on some of the best of what we have to offer in the country, and I honestly believe that we have products that are worth celebrating.

Here are five more companies that caught my eye this week:

The Whole Hoggs

Based in Meath, The Whole Hoggs run a free-range pig farm where they keep an old Irish breed called The Irish Grazer.They make their own sausages, rashers, puddings and chorizo.

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“Our pigs have a much longer and happier life than the commercially reared ones. We are reasonable in price but do not try to compete with the bottom end of the market as we believe the pleasure in buying cheap meat is soon forgotten in the bitterness of poor taste”.

Website: http://www.thewholehoggs.ie/

The Tipperary Kitchen

Using locally sourced ingredients, this Tipperary Kitchen produces some wonderful breads, confections and sauces.

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Winners at Blas na hÉireann food awards, they’re famous for their Holycross Chocolate Biscuit Cake, Holycross Soda Bread, Butterscotch Sauce, Chocolate Sauce and Real Banana Bread.

Website: http://thetipperarykitchen.ie/

Nobó

Dedicated to creating healthy, dairy free food, they are the world’s first ice cream alternative that’s made from avocado, coconut milk, and sweetened with pure honey.

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100% Irish and made in small delicious batches – What’s not to love?

Website: http://www.nobo.ie/

Wicklow Wolf Brewery

Named after the county its based in and that folklore says that the last wolf in Ireland lived in the area, Wicklow Wolf Brewery is proud in its roots.

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The hops that they plant on their own hop farm takes the beer’s name – Humulus Lupulus – from the wild wolf.

Website: http://www.wicklowwolf.com/

Dee’s

Celebrating wholefoods, Dee’s creates tasty, vegan food that is good for both your body and mind.

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Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free and free of all artificial additives, they create a range of sausages, wholefood burgers and”Veg Pots” to keep you feeling full of natural energy.

Website: http://www.dees.ie/

(All images via company Facebook pages)

Part 18: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

Celebrating the best of what Ireland has to offer, this series delves in the the food and drink industry to find companies that deserve to be highlighted!

Here are five more companies that I spotted on my travels this week:

Tynedale Goats

Based in the Belfast Hills this company produces goat meat from male kids born into the dairy herd.

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A lean meat that’s low in cholesterol and high in iron, their meat is healthy, nutritious, tasty and reared sustainably.

Website: http://www.tynedalegoatkid.com/

Wild About

Wild about foods and preserves, this company was born out of a love for wild and seasonal foods.

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They specialise in products made from native Irish berries such as Sloe, Haw, Hip, Elderberry and Sea Buckthorn, as well as plants like nettle and wild garlic. Yum!

Website: http://www.wildabout.ie/

Toby’s Cider

A small scale artisan cider maker in Northern Ireland, Toby’s Cider is the brainchild of Craig and Karen.

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Their traditionally handcrafted ciders are produced from apple to tree to bottle in the historic orchard county of Armagh.

Website: http://www.tobyscider.co.uk/

Vera Miklas

An alternative to traditional sugarpaste, Vera Miklas is the first producer of modelling chocolate in Ireland.

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Their chocolate is made from the finest Belgian Chocolate, which is easy to work with and used by professionals for creating everything from cakes, toppers and flowers.

Website: http://www.veramiklas.com/

Rake of Cakes

Based in Wexford, Rake of Cakes specialise in gluten-free and allergen-free treats.

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You’ll find them in The Bullring Market in Wexford town every Friday and Saturday from 9am until 3pm selling freshly baked gluten and dairy-free buns, sweets, cakes and biscuits.

Website: http://www.rakeofcakes.com/

(All images via Facebook pages)

 

Part 17: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

We don’t need to look far to see some of the wonderful products that are being created right under our noses!

From homemade goods to family-based produce, we create a vast variety of food and drink in the country that are worth celebrating.

Here are five more food and drink producers that caught my eye this week:

Ayle Farm

Based in Tipperary, Ayle Farm are producers of Handmade Artisan Chutneys, Relishes, Pickles, Cooking Sauces and Preserves. All the products are made in small batches on their farm by hand.

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They grow a range of vegetables that they use in their products and source whatever they don’t have from other local suppliers.

Website: http://aylefoods.ie/

Duncannon Smokehouse

Originally set up by Frank Ronan back in 1974, his son Kai Ronan continues this master smoker tradition, producing a 100% pure and natural, hand crafted, smoked seafood range.

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Their organic range is now shipped worldwide and includes Irish Oak Smoked Salmon and Irish Cold Smoked Trout.

Website: http://www.duncannonsmokehouse.ie/

Joe’s Farm Crisps

Crisps with a difference. Based in Ballycurraginny, Killeagh Co. Cork, these crisps are handcooked from vegetables that are grown on their farm.

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Website: https://www.facebook.com/joesfarmcrispscork

Delish Melish

Got a sweet tooth but looking for something different? Delish Melish make handcrafted gourmet marshmallows and meringues.

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Available at the Honest2Goodness market every Saturday, these treats are ideal for weddings and corporate events.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delish-Melish/266575233549811

Blast and Wilde

Can’t get enough of the wonderful creamy butter that we produce in Ireland? Check out Blast and Wilde!

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They produce flavoured butters including Wild Garlic and Pesto, Black Olive Tapenade, Zesty Lime, Chilli and Coriander Seed.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/blastandwildebutter

(All images via company websites and Facebook pages)