Tag Archives: Products

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!

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Shortlist for the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards announced

Entered your product into the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards? The shortlist has been revealed!

The list itself sees an impressive and extensive amount of products showcased, and it’s great to see the range that we house in Ireland.

The Awards Gala Dinner will take place on September 11th in Dublin’s Mansion House where the winners will be commended and products celebrated. TV Chef and author Catherine Fulvio will be there on the night to present the awards.

A whopping 180 food and drink products have been shortlisted in 50 categories.

The Irish Quality Food Awards set out to recognise excellence in product development for food and drink producers, retailers and catering companies in Ireland.

The Overall Gold Q is awarded to the one product that stands out among all the other entries and is chosen from among all of the main categories, representing the cream of the crop.

If you’ve got time to spare, here’s the list in full (to see if you’re in the running or to just find out specific listings, hold ctrl + f on your keyboard and type in the word eg. bread):

Bagged Snacks

Judges’ choice winner

Biscuits – Savoury and Sweet

  • Broderick’s 6 Assorted and Indulgent Mini-Bites – Ina’s Kitchen Desserts
  • My Family Favourites Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Wafer – Dunnes Stores / CKS
  • Simply Better All Butter White Chocolate and Raspberry Cookies – Dunnes Stores / Regale Biscuit Company
  • Simply Better Irish Wholemeal Crackers – Dunnes Stores / Regale Biscuit Company

Bread – Small Breads and Rolls

  • Black Olive Roll – Tesco / Panelto Foods
  • Italian Style White Baguette – Lidl / Panelto Foods
  • Multigrain Tuscan Roll – Lidl / Panelto Foods

Bread – Large Loaves

  • Fruit Loaf – Tesco / Irwin’s Bakery
  • Low GI Multiseed Cob – Lidl / Mannings Bakery
  • Multiseed Vienna – Lidl / Aryzta

Bread – Morning Goods

  • Finest Muesli Bread – Tesco / Arytza
  • Genesis Crafty Blueberry Pancakes – Genesis Crafty
  • Genesis Crafty Mini Sultana Scones – Genesis Crafty

Bread – Speciality Breads

  • Cinnamon & Raisin Soda Bread – Lidl / WD Irwins & Sons
  • Four Cheese Loaf – Cuisine de France
  • Stout Bread – Lidl / WD Irwins & Sons

Bread – Wheaten and Soda Breads

  • Aldi Specially Selected Rustic Wheaten – Aldi / Stapletons Bakery
  • Genesis Crafty Toaster Wheaten – Genesis Crafty
  • Simply Better Buttermilk Soda Bread – Dunnes Stores / Neville’s Bakery
  • Wheaten Soda Bannoch – Musgrave Retail Partners / McErlains Bakery

Cakes and Morning Goods

  • Apple & Blackberry Lattice Bar – Tesco / Golden Bake
  • Large Red Berry Scone – Lidl / Aryzta
  • Mini Carrot Cake Loaf – Tesco / Aryzta

Cereals

  • Aldi Organic Porridge – Aldi / Stafford Lynch
  • Kavanagh’s Luxury Fruit Porridge with Apple, Raisin & Cinnamon Dusted Cranberries – Aldi / Stafford Lynch
  • Simply Better Irish Handmade Red Berry Granola – Dunnes Stores / The Foods of Athenry

Cheese

  • Irish Extra Mature Cheddar – Lidl / Dale Farm Dairies
  • Irish Vintage Cheddar – Lidl / Dale Farm Dairies
  • Simply Better Cashel Blue – Dunnes Stores / Traditional Cheese Company
  • Simply Better Cooleeney – Dunnes Stores / Traditional Cheese Company

Chocolate and Confectionary

  • Irish Chocolate Selection – Lidl / Lir Chocolates
  • Irish Cream Liqueur Chocolates – Lidl / Lir Chocolates
  • Yellowman Honeycomb Covered in Dark Chocolate – The Good Food & Wine Company Ltd

Christmas Q – Christmas Cakes, Bakery and Desserts

  • Aldi Specially Selected 907g Irish Christmas Pudding – Aldi / Seerys Bakery
  • Aldi Specially Selected Chocolate Centred Christmas Pudding – Aldi / Seerys Bakery
  • Dunnes Stores 6 Deep Filled All Butter Mince Pies – Dunnes Stores / Sargeants Bakeries
  • Novelty Christmas Cake – Dunnes Stores / Sam’s Cookies
  • SuperValu Pear & Cream Liqueur Chocolate Log – Musgrave Retail Partners / Sean Stafford’s Bakery

Christmas Q – Christmas Chilled, Grocery Ambient, Meat, Fish & Savoury

  • Aldi Irish Cheese Board – Aldi / Horgans Deli
  • Fresh Three Bird Roast – Lidl / Hogan’s Turkeys
  • Simply Better Cranberry Sauce – Dunnes Stores / Wexford Preserves
  • Simply Better Ham Glaze – Dunnes Stores / Wexford Preserves

Cold Beverages

  • Finest Orange Juice – Tesco / Keeling F Juices Ltd
  • Green Apple Beer (non-alcoholic) – The Good Food & Wine Company Ltd
  • Simply Better Valencia Orange Juice – Dunnes Stores / Keeling F Juices Ltd

Dairy and Milk Products – Butters and Spreads

  • Connacht Gold Low Fat Butter – Aurivo Consumer Foods Ltd
  • Dairy Manor Irish Creamery Butter – Town of Monaghan Co-Op
  • Dairy Manor Unsalted Butter – Town of Monaghan Co-Op
  • Dairymaid Premium Spread – JDS Foods
  • Golden Cow Butter – Kerry Foods

Dairy and Milk Products – Yogurts

  • Aldi Specially Selected Handmade Farmhouse Raspberry Yogurt – Aldi / Killowen
  • Simply Better Handmade Blackberry & Apple Farmhouse Yogurt – Dunnes Stores / Green Valley Farms Ltd
  • Simply Better Handmade Lemon Curd Farmhouse Yogurt – Dunnes Stores / Green Valley Farms Ltd
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Rhubarb Layer Yogurt – Musgrave Retail Partners / Killowen
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Strawberry Yogurt – Musgrave Retail Partners / Irish Yogurts Ltd

Delicatessen – Antipasti

  • Carved Cajun Chicken Breast Slices – Lidl / Green Farm Foods
  • Dunnes Stores Italian Salami Milano – Dunnes Stores / Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies Ltd
  • Dunnes Stores Peppered Salami – Dunnes Stores / Horgan’s Delicatessen Supplies Ltd
  • Pastrami Irish Beef – Tesco / O’Brien Fine Foods

Delicatessen – Other Deli Counter Products

  • Aldi Specially Selected Torn Ham with Herb & Onion – Aldi / Country Style
  • Brady Family Glazed Ham on the Bone – O’Brien Fine Foods
  • Denny Deli Style 100% Natural Ingredients Crumbed Ham – Kerry Foods
  • Duck Liver Paté – On The Pig’s Back c/o La Charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd
  • Wild about Nettle Pesto – Wild about
  • Wiltshire Cured Ham on the Bone – Musgrave Retail Partners / O’ Brien Fine Foods

Desserts and Puddings

  • Lemon Cheesecake – Lidl / Prestige Foods
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Apple Tarte Tatin with Caramel Sauce – Musgrave Retail Partners / Couverture
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Panacotta – Musgrave Retail Partners / Prestige Foods
  • Tesco Luxury All Butter Apple Tart – Tesco / Mannings Bakery

Fish – Fresh Fish

  • Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon with Seaweed Marinade – Burren Smokehouse Ltd
  • Burren Hot Smoked Irish Organic Salmon with Honey, Lemon & Dill – Burren Smokehouse Ltd
  • Glenarm Organic Smoked Salmon – Glenarm Organic Salmon
  • Simply Better Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail – Dunnes Stores / Nolan Seafoods
  • Simply Better Honey and Dill Smoked Salmon – Dunnes Stores / Burren Smokehouse Ltd

Fish – Fresh Fish Dishes

  • Cajun Salmon Darnes – Tesco / Goodfish
  • Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail – Lidl / William Carr & Sons
  • Fish For Two Salmon With Soy Sauce and Ginger – Musgrave Retail Partners / Dunn’s of Dublin
  • Seafood Chowder – Lidl / Galmere

Food To Go

  • Chicken With Garam Masala Soup – Musgrave Retail Partners / Ballymaguire
  • Classic Fruit Salad – Lidl / Fresh Cut Food Services
  • Tesco Open Salmon Sandwich on Soda Bread – Tesco / Freshways
  • Tesco Pearl Barley Salad with Basil Dressing – Tesco / Nature’s Best

Free From – Chilled & Savoury

  • Aldi ‘Has No’ Baps (White) – Aldi / Gallaghers Bakery
  • Aldi ‘Has No’ Delicious Soft White Bread – Aldi / Gallaghers Bakery
  • Mallon’s Gluten Free/Low Fat Leek & Pepper Sausages – Arthur Mallon Foods
  • Mallon’s Gluten Free and Low Fat Sausages – Arthur Mallon Foods
  • Rudd’s Gluten Free Sausages – O’Brien Fine Foods

Free From – Sweet

  • Aldi ‘Has No’ Muffins (Lemon) – Aldi / Gallaghers Bakery
  • Cashew, Almond and Cinnamon Gluten Free Granola – Maria Lucia Bakes Ltd
  • Cranberry, Coconut and Chia Seed Gluten Free Granola – Maria Lucia Bakes Ltd

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Bacon

  • Irish Honeycure Back Bacon Rashers – Lidl / Honeyvale Foods
  • Irish Smoked Maple Cure Back Bacon Rashers – Lidl / Honeyvale Foods
  • Simply Better Dry Cured Irish Rashers – Dunnes Stores / Callan Bacon
  • SuperValu Thick Cut Rasher with 100% Natural Ingredients – Musgrave Retail Partners / Carty Ltd
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Smoked Rack Of Bacon – Musgrave Retail Partners / Carty Ltd

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Beef Steaks

  • 21 Day Matured European Angus Sirloin Steak – Blackberry Hill Farm
  • Aldi Specially Selected 28 Day Dry Aged Rib Eye – Aldi / ABP Cahir
  • Inisvale Irish Hereford Fillet Steaks – Linden Foods
  • Irish Hereford Striploin Steaks – Lidl / Linden Foods

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Poultry

  • Confit of Duck – Silver Hill Farm
  • Duck Breast with Garlic and Pepper – Lidl / Silver Hill Foods
  • Yummy Duck – Silver Hill Farm

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Sausages, Burgers and Meatballs

  • Irish Beef Sausage with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper – Tesco / Hilton Foods
  • Moroccan Lamb Burger – Tesco / Hilton Foods
  • Simply Better 6 Superior Honey & Mustard Irish Pork Sausages – Dunnes Stores / Arthur Mallon Foods
  • Simply Better 6 Superior Spring Onion & Cracked Black Pepper Irish Pork Sausages – Dunnes Stores / Arthur Mallon Foods
  • The Co-Operative Chipotle Chilli Meatball Bake – Dunbia

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Pork, Lamb and Other Joints

  • Butchers Select Lamb Rack French Trim – Musgrave Wholesale Partners / Kepak
  • Simply Better Dry Cured Irish Bacon Loin Joint with Acacia Honey & Mustard Glaze – Dunnes Stores / Oliver Carty
  • Stuffed Irish Lamb Leg – Lidl / Irish Country Meats
  • SuperValu Piri Piri Marinade Pork Steak – Musgrave Retail Partners / Oliver Carty
  • SuperValu Smokey BBQ Marinade Pork Steak – Musgrave Retail Partners / Oliver Carty

Fresh Produce – Fruit

  • Classic Fruit Salad – Lidl / Fresh Cut Food Services
  • SuperValu Fruit Salad Mix – Musgrave Retail Partners / Freshcut Foods
  • SuperValu Kids Range Apple and Pear Pouch – Musgrave Retail Partners / Keelings Retail
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Supersweet Nectarine Tray – Musgrave Retail Partners / Donnelly Fruit and Veg

Fresh Produce – Salad

  • Finest Irish Piccolo Cherry Tomatoes – Tesco / Jim O’Rourke
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Seasonal Leaf and Walnut Salad – Musgrave Retail Partners / Wonderfoods

Fresh Produce – Vegetables

  • Easy Cook 7 Minute Baby New Potatoes – Keogh’s
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Butternut Squash Stirfry with Edamame Beans & Coriander – Musgrave Retail Partners / Wonderfoods

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Frozen Food – Savoury

  • Aldi Specially Selected Irish Beef Quarter Pounders with Cheddar Cheese and Red Onion – Aldi / Kepak Foods
  • Aldi Specially Selected Irish Beef Quarter Pounders with Cheddar Cheese and Sweet Chilli – Aldi / Kepak Foods
  • Dunnes Mega Burger – Dunnes Stores / Kepak Foods

Frozen Food – Sweet

  • Raspberry & White Chocolate Gelato – Quinn’s Gelato Limited
  • Roll It Sweet All Butter Shortcrust Pastry – Roll It Pastry
  • Tesco Vanilla Flavoured Ice Cream 1 pint – Tesco / Lakelands

Grocery Ambient – Savoury

  • Honeyed Fig, Rhubarb & Chilli Savoury Jam – Irish Bee Sensations
  • Kari Tropical – Spice Devils
  • Musgrave Excellence Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Musgrave Wholesale Partners / Pan Euro Foods
  • Simply Better Luxury Irish Country Relish – Dunnes Stores / Folláin
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Roasted Red Pepper Relish – Musgrave Retail Partners / Folláin

Grocery Ambient – Sweet

  • Aldi Organic Honey – Aldi / Healys Honey
  • Blackcurrant and Rum Jam – Lidl / Abbey Farm Foods
  • Deluxe Acacia Honey with Cut Comb – Lidl / Mileeven Fine Foods
  • Simply Better Three Fruit Marmalade – Dunnes Stores / Wexford Home Preserves
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Raspberry Conserve – Musgrave Retail Partners / Folláin

Hot Beverages

  • Cinnamon Hot Toddy (non-Alcoholic) – The Good Food & Wine Company Ltd
  • Homestead Original Blend Tea – Homestead Brands / Stonehouse Marketing Ltd
  • McGrath’s Reserve Blend Tea – Aldi / Robert Roberts
  • My Family Favourites Gold Blend 80s Teabags – Dunnes Stores / Barry’s Tea
  • SuperValu Gold Blend Teabags – Musgrave Retail Partners / Barber Daly
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Colombian Supremo Coffee Beans – Musgrave Retail Partners / United Coffee

Pizzas

  • My Family Favourites 3 Pepperoni Pizzas – Dunnes Stores / Green Isle Foods
  • Pizzado – Choice Pizza Ltd
  • Tesco Bistro Italiano Chargrilled Peppers, Goats Cheese & Spinach Pesto Pizza – Tesco / Green Isle Foods

Ready Meals

  • Aldi Tasty Chicken Tikka Masala – Aldi / Kohinoor Ltd T/A Emaan Worldcuisine
  • Bombay Chicken Curry – Bombay Pantry
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Lamb Tagine – Musgrave Retail Partners / Ballymaguire
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Smoked Haddock Fillet in a Mornay Sauce – Musgrave Retail Partners / Ballymaguire

Sauces and Salad Dressings

  • Creamy Peppercorn Sauce – Lidl / Spice’o’Life
  • SuperValu Squeezy Light Mayonnaise – Musgrave Retail Partners / Blenders
  • Vine Tomato & Jalapeno Pasta Sauce – The Scullery

Seasonal Occasions

  • Aldi Chocolate Box (Mother’s Day) – Aldi
  • Aldi Roisins Honeycomb Easter Egg – Aldi
  • Iced Easter Madeira Cake – Dunnes Stores / Sam’s Cookies

Side Dishes

  • Dunnes Stores Simply Better Cranberry, Apricot & Clementine Stuffing – Dunnes Stores / Mr Crumb
  • Mini Stuffed Mushrooms with Garlic & Cream Cheese – Lidl / Unimush Ireland
  • SuperValu Signature Tastes Braised Red Cabbage – Musgrave Retail Partners / Ballymaguire

Soups

  • Cream of Tomato Soup – Lidl / Princes
  • Fresh & Chunky Minestrone Soup – Newgrange Fine Foods
  • Just Food HiLo Super Greens Soup – Just Food
  • Sri Lankan Chicken Soup – Lidl / Ballymaguire Foods

Value Q

  • Daily Basics Jaffa Cakes – Musgrave Retail Partners / Bisquiva GmbH & Co. KG
  • My Family Favourites Irish Fruit Loaf – Dunnes Stores / Neville’s Bakery
  • My Family Favourites Strawberry Jam – Dunnes Stores / Histon Sweet Spreads

Shortlisted to win a listing with SuperValu:

 

  • Chicken Liver Paté with Garlic & Brandy – On The Pig’s Back c/o La Charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd
  • Scotts Irish Cider – Big Hand Brewing Company Ltd
  • Sweet BBQ Pulled Pork – Jack & Keith Molloy Bros. Ltd
And onto the drinks element of the awards:

Cider

  • Dan Kelly’s Cider – Dan Kelly’s Cider
  • Fresh & Zesty Cider – The Good Food & Wine Company Ltd
  • Tempted? Special Reserve Irish Craft Cider – dj’s juice and cider
  • Tempted? Summer Sweet Irish Craft Cider – dj’s juice and cider

Lagers & Ales

  • Aldi “O’Shea’s” Traditional Irish Pale Ale – Aldi / Carlow Brewing Co.
  • Independent Pale – Independent Brewing Company of Ireland
  • Independent Stout – Independent Brewing Company of Ireland

Sparkling Wine

  • Crémant d’Alsace Brut AOC – Lidl / S.C.V.B
  • Prosecco  DOC Frizzante – Lidl / La Marca Vini E Spumanti

Spirits – Liqueurs and Speciality Spirits

  • Coole Swan – Coole Swan
  • Deluxe Irish Cream Liqueur 17% – Lidl / Terra Ltd

Spirits – Whiskies

  • Aldi Clontarf Classic Blend Whiskey – Aldi / Castle Brands Inc
  • Dundalgan Irish Whiskey – Lidl / Terra Ltd

Wine

  • Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Winemaker’s Selection – Lidl / Lidl International GmbH
  • Pinot Grigio Rosé – Lidl / Lidl International GmbH
  • St. Emilion Gran Cru AOC, 2011 – Lidl / Union de Producteurs de Saint-Emilion

(Image via IQFA website)