|Fresh Irish vegetables|
2012 was a great year for Irish Food! People all over the country have been taking what was originally a hobby or pastime and have been creating new small food businesses with some wonderful results. These new food producers are evident at the many farmers markets, country markets and food festivals all over Ireland, north and south of the border.
Existing small food companies, with assistance from their County Enterprise Boards
, have been expanding their business, employing people and gaining more recognition for their products at a growing number of Irish Food Awards ceremonies.
Restaurants are changing their attitude and are getting away from the one-stop-shop attitude of commercial purchasing. They have been getting hands-on with local growers and producers, often making a financial input to the development of a local new food business. This is generating a pride within the restaurateurs as they finally become aware of the fact that they too are a vital part in the chain of events that can help to grow and nurture new local food businesses.
Chefs all over the Ireland are driving this new food awakening by insisting that the food they now serve from their kitchen reflects the local produce of their own region as much as possible. This is helping to create a more honest food culture among Irish people, as the market-stall produce again becomes a part of our weekly shopping.
Established and well-travelled Irish food champions such as Darina Allen
, John & Sally McKenna
, Georgina Campbell
, Peter Ward
, Good Food Ireland
, The Sheridan family
, and others, have been enormously important in creating today's awareness about the passionate producers in our midst. A new generation of Irish chef's, restaurateurs, food writers and the ever-growing Irish food blogging community have learned much from these original food gurus. Their continued dedication to promoting Irish food is, in turn, encouraging a new generation of food producers to get back to basics.Bordbia
, the Irish Food Board, has been instrumental in helping Irish food producers get their product to market and especially to the export market. Irish Food has undergone a phenomenal growth in exports over the last year and our reputation abroad, for our quality food, is second to none. This is something we all should be proud off, especially in the current financial climate.
This can be a great time to start a food business. If you have passion and belief in what you are doing and in the produce you are making, as the old saying goes: "People will taste the effort you put into it!"
My Twitter request for great "food finds of 2012" went out on the 28th December 2012 with 3 further retweets over the following few days:
I didn't give the request a push on Facebook this year as I believe I've got enough varied replies from across the Irish Food network via Twitter. From all the replies I have put together a fairly well balanced representation of some of the wonderful foods that people have discovered, for the first time, during 2012. Some of the foods are from producers who are already established or growing brand names. Some others are just getting started on their way.
Do please note that these are not just my choices. They have been sent in by Irish Food lovers around the country who have discovered a new flavour or food and loved it.
Congrats to all who are included in the list. Again this year, one name came up more often in your replies than any other. We'll save that one till last!
So here with full contact details, in alphabetical order and as voted by Irish Twitter Foodies, are...
The Best Irish Food Finds of 2012
Food Product Producer Contact Details
Annascaul Black Pudding Co., Annascaul, Co Kerry, Tel: 066 9157127 - Thomas Ashe
- Arun Bakery Artisan Bread
Arun Bakery, SPADE Centre, Nth King Street, Dublin 7
086 244 3193 - Vlad Rainis
- Atlantic Spirulina Sea-Veg seasoning
Quality Sea Veg. Co., Burtonport, Co. Donegal
+353 (0)74 – 9542159 - Manus McGonagle
Glydefarm Produce, Mansfieldstown,
Castlebellingham, Co Louth
Tel: 042 937 2343 - 087 277 8538
Boyne Valley Blue, Mullagha Farm, Slane, Co Meath
- Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil
Broighter Gold, Limavady
BT49 9DY, Northern Ireland
Burkes Farm, Tara, Navan, County Meath 046-9025232 or 087-9532656
- Carraig na Breac Smoked Duck
Carraig na Breac Smokehouse, Drumshanbo Co Leitrim 087 240 4289 - Peter and Niamh Curry
- Cathy’s Spelt Bread Mixes
Cathy’s Spelt for Health, Riverside Business Centre, Tinahely, Co.Wicklow Tel: 00353 (0) 402 28912 - Cathy Whitty
- Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bread
Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bakery, Cloughjordan Eco-Village, Co. Tipperary Tel: 085-182 2777 Joe Fitzmaurice
Corleggy Cheese, Belturbet, Co Cavan Tel: 049 9522930 Silke Cropp
- Curraghchase Free-Range Pork
Rigneys Farm, Curraghchase, Kilcornan, Co.Limerick
DeBrun Iasc Teo., Ballinaboula, Dingle, Co. Kerry Ted and Hannah Mae Browne
Donegal Rapeseed Oil Co., Raphoe, Co Donegal 00353 (0)74 9145386 – Thomas Hughes
Highbank Organic Orchard
Tel: +353 56 7729918 - Rod Calder-Potts
Dairygold Food Ingredients Ltd., Mogeely, Co Cork
James Whelan & Sons Butchers, Clonmel
Co. Tipperary & Avoca Foodmarket, Monkstown
Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese Co., Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny Tel: +353 (0)56 7728446 - Helen Finnegan
Lannléire Honey, Trean, Dunleer, Co. Louth Eoghan MacGiolla Coda - Tel: 041 6861884
Knockdrinna Farnhouse Cheese Co., Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny Tel: +353 (0)56 7728446 – Helen Finnegan
Longueville House, Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland Tel: +353 (0)22 47156 - William O’Callaghan
Moran’s Homestore, Ballinagh,Co.Cavan Phone: 049-4367556 Kieron & Claire Moran
Oldfarm, Redwood, Lorrha, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary Tel: 086 8100 125 – Margaret & Alfie O'Farrell
- Rhubarb & Elderflower Jam
Inishowen Home Baking, Drumaville, Malin, Co Donegal Tel: 086 0840633 - Janine Strong
Suzanna at Zwartbles Ireland
- Slow Food Co Artisan Bread
Slow Food Co., Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal Kemal Scarpello - +353(0)749156777
- St Tola Goats Cheese Ash Log
St Tola Cheese, Inagh, Co Clare Tel: +353 (0)65 68 36633 - Siobhan Ní Ghairbhith
- Tastefully Yours Beetroot & Orange Chutney
Tastefully Yours - Dunhill, Co Waterford Norbert Thul and Audrea Hassett - (051) 396 590
- The Whole Hoggs Free Range Pork
The Whole Hoggs, Slane, Co Meath Peter & Susan Whelan - Tel: 086 2708809
- Toons Bridge Buffalo Mozzarella
Toons Bridge Dairy. Old Creamery, Macroom, Cork Tel: 026 41471 - Jenny-Rose Clarke
- Wicklow Gold Nettle & Chive Cheese
Wicklow Gold Farmhouse Cheese, Curranstown, Arklow, Co Wicklow Tel: 0402 91713 - John and Bernie Hempenstall
And the most mentioned "#BestIrishFood " of 2012 is...
Trout Caviar from Ger & Mags Kirwan
Trout Caviar from Ger & Mags Kirwan at Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Kilkenny
Launched at the start of March 2012, Goatsbridge Trout Caviar has taken the Irish food scene by storm. Caviar is processed, salted fish roe or eggs and is regarded as a luxury food delicacy and ancient gourmet treat. There are several types with the best-known form of caviar coming from a fish called a 'Sturgeon'. But trout caviar has grown in global popularity in recent years.
“Trout caviar is good enough to eat off the spoon. It has large, golden-orange beads and a subtle flavour with a nice ‘pop’ when you bite into it," says Mags Kirwan of Goatsbridge "and have been very heartened by the response from the restaurant and food sector here so far.”
|Trout Caviar from the Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Kilkenny|
Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Tel: +353 (0)86 818 8340
Thanks to everyone who sent in their special food finds of the year.
Happy New Year to all.