Ireland's Food Trends
Bon Appetit in Ireland! Ten years ago I would have thought that I would never say that. At that time, the food on the island consisted mainly of overcooked cabbage or broccoli, potatoes and Irish stew. Various types of root vegetables brought a bit of variety to the meal. One looked in vain for fruit on the menus. It was also extremely expensive in the supermarkets. On a Journey through Ireland at most farms producing food were found in the east. That has changed in the meantime. Irish specialties can be seen. And how!
Bon appetit in Ireland
My culinary journey through Ireland's Ancient East leads me through another country. This means the region east of the Shannon River up to Dublin. From north to south it stretches from the Northern Irish border to Waterford and Cork on the south coast. This is the land of the Normans and the Vikings. Here are their castles and mansions. You can also find the best soils in the country here. I am on an information trip through Ireland to learn about the culinary trends of this region. Together with seven other food and travel bloggers from all over the world, I'm looking for clues. We visit producers, Pubs and restaurants.
Old Food - New Trends
"The crisis was the best thing that could have happened to us." I keep hearing this sentence on this trip. Ireland has been hard hit by the economic crisis of recent years. The Celtic Tiger finally started to paralyze. The Irish are still groaning under the high taxes that are on them. At the same time, however, they have focused on the old and the traditional. “Now they cook themselves again. For this we plant our own vegetables. We also test new varieties. ”Back to the roots, that's the motto. We experience this on farms that we visit. In an apple orchard, I taste apples that make my mouth water. They are big, red and juicy on the Apple Farm in Cahir, I just want to bite. Immediately next door grow Heritage apples, which are barely grown today.
Apples, Met, Black and White Pudding
In Cuffsgrange, Rod and Julie Calder-Potts grow apples exclusively according to organic principles. No pesticides, no chemical fertilizers. In three rows of her Apple orchard don't even use animal fertilizers. Only in this way can their customers - Japanese monks - use the apples according to their requirements. “Bugs are part of nature,” explains Rod. And in the old mill of the farm, Julie shows us what they make from their apples after the harvest. A real treasure trove of apple products is created there: organic cider, syrup, liqueur, schnapps and even gin burn them.
Sometimes their products are created in an unexpected way. Julie tells how one day she has apple juice on the stove in her kitchen. "Suddenly the phone rang. And you know what it's like, when women talk on the phone. It takes time, ”she laughs. Meanwhile, her juice continued to boil on the stove. After more than an hour on the stove, it had turned into delicious syrup, which she now successfully sells in the surrounding markets and to her customers. "We cannot deliver enough to meet demand," she says. I can understand that, when I try it. It is viscous and tastes deliciously sweet.
Back to Celtic Roots
The Mac Giolla Codas from Burncourt in County Tipperary produce met of honey like the Celts did. Black bees from Ireland collect it. This native bee species is particularly suitable, because it is adapted to the climatic conditions of the island. The hard-working honey collectors also have a large selection of plants to choose from. They collect the nectar almost all year round and pause only a few weeks in winter.
Other food producers in County Tipperary are improving Irish specialties. Do you know black and white pudding? You can have it for breakfast and now even as a delicacy in the restaurant. And rightly so! Because the one I tried, tasted really good. Anyone who likes blood and liver sausage will love it.
Irish Spirits and Drinks
Juices, whiskeys and liqueurs are also part of the culinary scene of the island. I was surprised, how many new products are on the market. There are juices of all combinations. On one of the apple farms we visited, not only apples are grown. They also cultivate fresh strawberries and raspberries, which are used for juice blends. New whiskey distilleries make Uisce Beatha, the Irish water of life. Tipperary Whiskey is one of them. I also loved the liquor selection by Merry's.
School of Food at Thomastown
The new food trends in Ireland are demanding creative chefs who reinterpret Irish specialties. These are trained by the School of Food in Thomastown near Kilkenny. This EU-supported cooking school is a LEADER project that aims to open up new professional opportunities for local people. This offer has been well received. “However, we still need a lot more new chefs in the country,” explains Dympna Moynihan Maher, who shows us around the school. How successful these measures are can be seen in the restaurants that we visit on this trip.
That even long-established brewers like Smithwick's develop new ideas, shows a visit to the Smithwick's Experience in Kilkenny, In the brewery's original brewery, whose history dates back to 12. Century, beer is no longer brewed today. This is happening elsewhere now. Instead, the story of this brewing family is brought to us in an amusing way. Now I know that it was not so easy for the producers of my favorite Irish beer to make their concoction. As Catholics, brewing beer was banned for centuries. Nevertheless, they found ways and means to perfect their art of brewing. How well they have succeeded, you should definitely test once on a trip to Ireland. Smithwick's beer can be relaxed Guinness keep up. His ale tastes delicious.
Chocolate Truffle from the Land of the Elves
Even experienced chefs contribute to this development. Award-winning chef Mary Teehan stepped out of the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and opened a chocolate shop to develop delectable delights. When Truffle Fairy by Kilkenny it serves wonderful hot chocolates with cocoa of different intensities. She adds cinnamon, ginger or cardamom for a varied taste. Your chocolates are to melt away. There are cardamom orange balls, hazelnut chocolates, crystal gin with strawberry and thyme chocolates and more. She designs all of them in her little chocolate kitchen. My tip: don't miss the delicious chocolates from Kilkenny's “Truffle Elfin”. It's worth a visit.
Bon Appetit in Ireland
On this trip I learned how much a country's cuisine depends on the ideas of its food artisans. If you had the money in Ireland before the crisis to import and buy expensive ingredients from other countries, this possibility suddenly disappeared. I was impressed by how quickly and with how much vigor the Irish got to work and went back to their roots. This resulted in a new foodie scene that is second to none. "The crisis was good for us!" We often hear that on our trip. A tour to the farmers, beekeepers, beer brewers, whiskey producers and apple growers is definitely an exciting experience. Hence: Bon appetit in Ireland! Enjoy your meal!
Parking at the airport
Hotels in Ireland's Ancient East:
Hotels in Ireland's Ancient East * You can also book via booking.com. Anyway, we stayed in the
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Tips on wine and drinks can be found at Wine tourism - wine regions.
Source: On-site research supported by Failte Ireland. Our opinion, however, remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright by Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline