Tag Archives: Irish

Word of Mouth: Escape with a Day of Fabulous Food Trails

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.

Continue reading Word of Mouth: Escape with a Day of Fabulous Food Trails

Question of the Week: Who produces the best Irish cheese?

A few days later than usual, this week I’m looking for your “cheesiest” answers!

The home of fantastic dairy, Ireland has a wealth of cheese that’s being produced in the country.

From Durrus, Toonsbridge, Kearney Blue and Clonmore, our cheeses capture the best of flavours – but which are your favourite?

I posed the question online to see what cheese tickles your fancy. Here’s what you had to say on Twitter: twit1 twit2 twit3 twit4 twit5 twit6 twit7 twit8 twit9 twit10 twit11 twit12

(Lead image via Wikimedia Commons/MigGroningen)


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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)

No weekend plans? Gourmet and Craft Beer Fest to be held in Navan

Looking to escape the city for a while? This weekend on June 20th, The Central in Navan will be hosting a craft beer festival as part of the Boyne Valley Food Series.

Featuring craft beer and cider specials, food pairings and gourmet food specials in a Backyard Beer Bazaar, there will be tastings from local and international breweries!

Not only that but there will also be live music and beer cocktail masterclasses.

The event kicks off at 4pm and entrance is €10, this includes beer samples, live entertainment and a Gourmet BBQ on the day.

Sounds like your thing? You can book by emailing info@thecentral.ie or phone 046 9027999

More information can be found here.

(Image via company website)

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.


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.


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.


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/


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 Twelve: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

Celebrating the best of what we grow, create and produce here in Ireland – this ongoing series looks at some of the many things we create here.

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

Mella’s Fudge

Mella began making fudge for a local sweet shop in Bantry when she was in school.


Gradually her kitchen enterprise grew in scale and now she works from her own unit kitchen in Lisavaird Co-op, outside Clonakilty, West Cork.

Website: http://www.mellasfudge.com/

Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Founded in 1962, they’re one of the few trout farms that produce local products from start to finish; growing their fish through their whole life cycle.


Their fish live in natural earthen ponds, and they grade all of the trout according to weight and size.

Website: http://goatsbridgetrout.ie/

Fancy Fungi

Fancy Fungi began in 1998 to a profitable enterprise as a hobby! It became a partnership company run by Nikk George and Nickey Dempsey in 2001 and in 2006 it formed a limited company.


The only specialist in the region of cultivation, development and production of edible, exotic and gourmet mushrooms, they produce on average 700Kg to 1000Kgs of mushrooms per week!

Their products are naturally grown and chemical free and contain no animal by product.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fancy-Fungi/201606299852309?sk=timeline

Tempted? Irish Craft Cider

Davy Uprichard had an idea to set up ‘dj’s juice and cider’ and built a purpose built Cidery at his home outside Lisburn where hestarted pressing apples.


Founded in 2009, Tempted Irish Craft Cider is made in Northern Ireland from a blend of the finest Co. Armagh apples using traditional farmhouse methods to produce a lightly carbonated pure juice cider.

Website: http://www.temptedcider.com/

De Róiste Puddings

De Roiste Artisan Pudding began in Ballyvourney Co. Cork back in 2008 by Jimmy Allen who also owns a Heating and Plumbing company in the town.


With the help of his son Declan , they opened the shop with the family recipe been passed down through the generations from Declan’s great grandmother Elsie Roche.

Website: http://deroistepudding.blogspot.ie/

(All images via company website and Facebook pages)

Ballymaloe Day 29: “Born onto earth”

Like a parent that drops off their child for the first day of school, today I swelled with pride when I visited the dairy.

Brienne has grown her first bit of mould on her belly, the first of many on her journey to become a beautiful cheese!

I woke up this morning at 4.30am, and maybe it was the slight nervousness of making pastry today or the fact that I ate a whole pie the previous night, but I felt a sense of the Monday blues (by the way, I totally don’t regret the pie).

Moving on from Kitchen 2, I was now in the demo room under the watchful eye of Pam.

Like any new kitchen, for the first few minutes I was in a complete “where-the-heck–everything?” mode.

photo 1(7)
(My new station in the demo room)

All about choux and filleting flat fish, I had my work cut out for me, and I kept mentally berating myself for my slow pace.

Eventually I managed to plate the two dishes I had on my list, but I definitely feel like I have to try harder and to have a little bit more faith in myself.

After a quick meal of chili, beans and rice, I hopped back to the house to change and prepare for the upcoming demo with Darina.

Today was all about breakfast, and to kickstart our demo our headmistress introduced us to Martin and Noreen Conroy who run Woodside Farm where they rear organic and free-range pigs.

Speaking of how they got started and grew their farm, Martin commented that; “you can find 101 reasons not to do something”, but that in the end, they just went for it.

“Born onto earth”, the fit, hardy, pure-breed pigs don’t see any concrete until they make a trip to the butcher in Midleton and Martin said that he believed that they genuinely lived happy lives.

With sizzling sausages, white and black pudding, eggs and bacon on the go, the smells that made their way down through the rows of chairs almost made me fall off my seat.

Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I bloody love a good fry up. It could be any hour of the day and I could be absolutely craving rashers and eggs.

photo 4(6)

Tomorrow all of us will be cooking up our own Irish breakfasts and I’ll also be making a grapefruit cocktail and orange juice. BRING ON THE FRY!

(Autumn colours outside our Ballymaloe home)

Some random things I learned today:

  • Kippers are actually smoked herring and the psychedelic colouring you usually see on kippers in shops is usually dye and not from any smoking.
  • Soft-boiled egg? Six minutes from the boil. Hard-boiled eggs? Ten minutes from the boil!
  • According to Darina, it’s better to buy vanilla extract than essence because essence has more than likely never been near vanilla in its life.
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice means “freshly squeezed”, on the packet they may
  • Here in Ballymaloe, Darina starts her scrambled eggs on a cold pan instead of a hot allowing more control over the eggs.

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

Celebrating the best of what we grow, create and produce here in Ireland – this continuous series is looking at some of my favourite producers.

I absolutely love things that are made in Ireland and when I see companies that embrace local my heart soars – that being said, I do also believe that if you are buying local make sure it’s decent.

Here are five more producers in Ireland that make the most of what we have to offer:

Cooleeney Farm

With cheese please! Made inTipperary’s and with cows feeding in grasses with peaty soil, Cooleeny’s produces wonderful cheese.


My personal favourite is their Darú, which has a natural rind and a grey and dusty appearance. It’s so tasty!

Website: http://www.cooleeney.com

Wildflour Bakery

A wonderful Dublin based micro-bakery making beautiful cakes with a difference. Newly opened at Love Supreme, 57 Manor Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin 7.


Twitter: https://twitter.com/wildflourkate

Cahill’s Cheese

Based in Limerick, all cheese lovers must check out these rather excellent cheeses.


Cahill’s Farm Cheese is a third generation, family owned, artisan cheese making business!

Website: http://www.cahillscheese.ie/
: https://twitter.com/CahillsCheese

Mariko Sparkling Green Tea

Made in Glencastle, Mayo, Mariko is a sparkling green tea, which contains no sugar or calories or fat.


Mariko is made from pure green tea leaves in their natural state, which contain high levels of antioxidants, and is extracted using an unique brewing method, resulting in a product that is healthy and refreshing.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariko.greentea

Connemara Smokehouse

If you’re tired of generic smoked salmon, you must get your hands on produce from the family-run Connemara Smokehouse.


Based in Galway, the company’s international reputation has steadily grown, having been recognised by the Bridgestone Best in Ireland Award, the Great Taste Awards, Favourite Speciality Producer Award award by the BBC Good Food Show and Rick Stein’s Food Heroes, among others

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OldSmoky

(Images via company Facebook pages)

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

Last week I kickstarted a continuous series of some of the best food and drink producers on our Irish soils.

I absolutely love things that are produced in Ireland and when I see companies that embrace local my heart soars.

Here are five more producers in Ireland that make the most of what we have to offer (link to part one at the bottom):

Killowen Farm

Nothing says tradition like a family business. If you’re looking to branch off from big brands, check out these yogurts from Killowen Farm (I can confirm that they’re both fresh AND tasty).


This award-winning yogurt is handmade in Co. Wexford and is smooth and creamy. I personally love pouring it over granola!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KillowenFarmFoods
Website: http://killowen.ie/

Irish Bee Sensations

Who can say no to honey? This Cork company is 100% Irish and uses fresh ingredients to make yummy jams and honey-based foods. You can just imagine how good this stuff is drizzled over some toast.


These bee lovers have scooped a variety of awards including being crowned Pride of Ireland Grand Champions and Blas na hÉireann winners.

Website: http://www.irishbeesensations.com/

Bellingham Blue

The clue’s in the title – these cheese producers make amazing blue cheese! Combine it with Irish Bee Sensations’ honey and you’ve the ultimate treat.


Handmade Irish farmhouse cheese from Castlebellingham in Co. Louth, it’s won numerous awards reaching international fame. All of their raw milk comes from a single closed herd of grass-fed Friesians.

The texture is slightly crumbly and the finish is long and smooth with a delicious hint of salt.

Website: http://bellingham.ie/

Tastefully Yours

Take a trip to Dunhill in Waterford and you’ll come across some great local producers. Tastefully Yours are Artisan Producers of Gourmet Chutneys, Relishes and Pickles (lash a bit over some crackers and you’re sorted!)


All products are hand crafted by Norbert Thul and Audrea Hassett and to date they’ve won the Bridgestone Best in Ireland 2011 Award and the Megabytes Newcomer of the year for 2010 Award.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tastefully

Arbutus Artisan Bread

Based in the Rebel County, if you’re looking for one of the finest bread makers in Ireland Arbutus is where it’s at.


Produced by Declan Ryan, Ireland’s the first Michelin Star chef, he and his team make fresh bread that would make you cry with happiness. Using traditional artisan methods, the many loaves keep many tummies very satisfied.

Website: http://www.arbutusbread.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arbutusartisanbakery?fref=ts

Part One: The Cupcake Bloke, Corleggy Cheeses, Newgrange Gold, Keogh’s Farm, The Wild Irish Foragers and Preservers.

I’m always on the hunt for companies to feature on site. If you think this could be something you’d like, drop me an email to unaminh[at]gmail[dot]com with the name of your company – or who you’re representing – where you’re based and I’ll see what I can do! (Subject line: Feature on Spill the Beans)

(All images via company Facebook pages)

National Organic Food Fair takes place this September in Marlay Park

In the capital this September and looking for a food-filled day out? This year’s National Organic Food Fair is to take place on Sunday, 14th September in Marlay Park, 10.30am to 4.30pm.

This public event is free for all and is a collaboration between the Organic Trust and the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association, and is supported by the  Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine.

The organic festival will house lots of outdoor stalls and marquees showcasing the best in organic Irish products, from soups, yogurts, burgers, cider and apple syrups.

Apart from the food attraction, the fair will have many other different things on offer for families such as face painters, balloon makers and a pet farm.

Now in its second year, Chef Clodagh McKenna will return to host cookery demonstrations using organic produce (12.30pm and 2pm).

For those who’re interested about producing an organic product, a range of producers will be giving practical talks on the day. According to organisers:

“The aim of this years National Organic Food Fair is to strengthen and promote the message that organic, local and seasonal foods offer the best quality ingredients for home cooking, combined with the added advantage of supporting jobs, economic growth and local development”.

To find out more from the event, visit http://www.nationalorganicfoodfair.com/

(Image via National Food Fair on Facebook)