A recent survey carried out by IrishCentral on “How Americans View Ireland” showed that 97 percent have had a positive experience when it come to Ireland. It also showed that although Ireland doesn’t have the best international reputation as gourmet foodies people in the U.S. are dying to get their hands on Irish food stuffs.
The survey revealed that 59 percent would like to have greater access to basic Irish foods while a majority listed foodstuffs as one of the top Irish products that they spent their money on.
And who could blame them. No matter where you wander in the world there is nothing more comforting to enjoy some of your favorite Irish products that we all love to miss. With international supermarkets stretched across the globe there is nothing better than discovering your home grown favorites in your local deli.
One doesn’t need to be abroad to truly appreciate the wondrous nature of Irish produce. We have compiled a list of our top ten Irish food products. If you haven’t already, IrishCentral.com strongly urges you to run out and sample our selection. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
Irish soda bread
For centuries people around Ireland have been baking the finest Irish soda bread in the world. For many Irish people the thought of soda bread conjures up images of their grandmother baking in a floury apron for the evening tea.
The quick healthy recipe which includes flour, bread soda, salt, egg and buttermilk or for variation you can add raisins or caraway seeds. In contrast to American bread, Irish soda bread is not sweet and rather dry. It doesn’t contain an abundance of salt as soda bread is usually loaded with rich Irish butter or cheese.
Soda bread is so easy to bake and the end result will prove delicious. Many stockists of Irish products around the world carry Irish bread products such as soda bread, brown bread (a variation of soda bread) and scones.
Soda Bread Recipe
100% Wholemeal Flour – 3 cups
Plain White Flour – ½ cup
Bread Soda – 1 level teaspoon
Baking Powder – 1 level teaspoon
Pinch of Salt
Pint of Buttermilk
Greased Baking Tin
To make traditional Irish rown soda bread place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with your fingers allowing the air to pass through the mixture.
Mix for a couple of minutes and make a well in the middle of the mixture. Break egg into bowl, add buttermilk and whisk. Then pour mixture into well of dry ingredients, holding back a small amount. Mix until all combines, (the mixture should be quite wet).
Pour mixture or dough into a greased baking tin and if you like sprinkle with some sesame seeds or poppy seeds, which brings a lovely appearance to the loaf when cooked. Place in a pre-heated oven, 150/160 for 55-60 minutes.
Check if loaf is cooked by inserting a skewer into the loaf, if the skewer is completely dry when removed the bread is cooked. Remove loaf from tin, (should sound hollow when tapped), and allow to cool.
A little drop of Guinness can be added to the buttermilk/egg mixture, which darkens the bread and introduces a yeast flavour, a small bit of brown sugar can also be added. Try sultanas and walnuts, try pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or any seeds. Try some chopped apricots or your own favourite dried fruits. The combinations are endless...but most importantly…enjoy and have fun baking.
Full Irish breakfast
Blueberry pancakes may be delicious. No brunch menu may be complete without eggs Benedict but few meals in the world rival a full Irish breakfast. A full Irish breakfast consists of Irish bacon (rashers), sausage, fried eggs, fried tomato, home fried potatoes and black and white pudding. Rashers are thickly sliced pieces of bacon which contain a layer of fat around the meat. It is similar to Canadian bacon. Traditionally Irish bacon is taken from the back meat of a pig as opposed to the pork belly used in American bacon. Irish sausages tend to be thicker also than the average. Black and white pudding is made from blood and grain. No full Irish breakfast is complete without a pot of tea.
For the past generation Ireland has produced a wide selection of biscuits (cookies) to rival our foreign competitors. A cup of tea in Ireland goes hand in hand with a biscuit so for most people their cupboards are fully stocked with Ireland’s own.
Jacobs Jaffa cakes continue to be a popular choice. The sponge cakes contain an orange filling and are topped off with a milk chocolate coating.
Jacobs fig rolls have been an Irish family favorite for decades. The combination of fresh figs wrapped in pastry and baked with the secret Jacobs recipe makes them a stable Irish choice. McVities Milk Chocolate Hob Nobs are excellent for dipping in your tea. The famous Hob Nobs are milk chocolate covered oatmeal cookies.
Oatmeal. Irish oatmeal has become an international favorite in recent years. Products such as McCann’s steel cut oatmeal now show up on breakfast menus worldwide. With its’ healthy reputation, Irish oatmeal has become a major export for Ireland.
Cadbury Roes outsell frozen turkeys by 50% during the Christmas season. Originally started in BirminghamEngland, in Ireland the Cadbury factory has been a well known landmark in North Dublin.
The assortment of Irish chocolate includes a generous serving of individually wrapped chocolates with flavors including Cadbury Dairy milk, Tangy Orange Creme, Chocolate Bite and Caramel classic. Always a popular choice with tourists passing through Irish duty free, Roses are the perfect gift for all chocolate lovers!
Potato chips as they are referred to around the world are commonly known as crisps in Ireland. The Tayto brand is famous for producing the world’s first cheese and onion crisp 1954. Despite a wide range of crisps available in Ireland, proving nothing beats the original Tayto has remained as Ireland’s number 1 crisp.
Their other signature flavors include Salt & Vinegar and Smokey Bacon. ‘Tayto’ is frequently used as a synonym for potato chips in Ireland. Another Irish classic there is nothing like a Tayto sandwich. A generous helping of crisps between two slices of buttered white bread. Decadent!
Green, chai, earl grey, chamomile, offer any of the latter teas to your average person and they will decline. If you are truly Irish then it’s not tea unless it involves either a Lyons or Barry’s teabag and a splash of milk. As a nation we love to drink tea. Throughout the day the kettle will remain plugged in and be boiled more times than you care to remember. Most people will have a favorite cup or mug they prefer to drink out it while no kitchen is complete without the tea-pot itself. The Barrys versus Lyons debate rattles with many people adamant there is a distinctive difference between the brand leaders.
It’s a well known fact that Irish cows make the best butter. Irish butter was one of the first major exports from Ireland. Whether it is for cooking, baking or just enjoying an some toasted brown bread, Irish butter is delicious. Kerrygold is the most famous brand of butter in Ireland. For over 40 years the Kerrygold brand have produced a varied selection of crafted cheeses and butters. Their products are available in over 80 countries worldwide.
Batchelors Baked Beans
Batchelors Baked Beans remain an iconic brand within the Irish shores since 1935. Guaranteed almost every cupboard in every household in Ireland will be home to at least one can of beans. Based in Dublin the company exports Irish beans to countries worldwide. Beans on toast is a common evening snack which consists of toasted bread with butter with baked beans on top. A very healthy mean, baked beans are often included in a full Irish breakfast also.
Knorr Mealmaker Sheperd’s Pie
Shepherds pie is a familiar dish in almost every Irish households. The dish consists of a layer of minced lamb with onions and peas mixed with gravy and then layered with mash potato. When mixed with the minced lamb and other ingredients, the Knorr Mealmaker constitutes the gravy part of the dish. While regular gravy can be used, Mealmaker gravy adds some extra flavor to this popular dish.
Simple recipe for Sheperd’s Pie-Ingredients
* 1 1/2 lbs ground round lamb
* 1 onion chopped
* 1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, corn, peas
* 1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)
* 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
* 1/2 cup beef broth
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice
1 Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
2 While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.
3 Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.
4 Add ground lamb and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.
5 Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.
6 Place lamb and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.
All of Irish Central’s top ten Irish products are available online from http://www.littleshamrocks.com/, http://www.foodireland.com/. For more information on Irish products sold abroad you can contact the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia in New York on + 1 212 935 450.