This is Irish Food

Delicious Dublin Tours, Irish food, Irish food tour, Irish cheese

Wishing you a happy St Patrick’s Day with this message from the Fáilte Ireland food champions.


Briny oysters slurped from the shell, butter churned from lush pastures, and hand made bread made to ancient traditions.
This is Irish food.

Salmon smoked over turf fires, beers brewed from grain grown on Irish fields and vegetables pulled from the earth.
This is Irish food.

Honey harvested from the hedgerows, lamb that roamed the mountainside and cider fermented from family run orchards.
This is Irish food.

Join us this St Patrick’s Day in supporting and celebrating the best of Irish food and drink.

At this time of year, social media becomes dominated by shamrock shaped cake sprinkles and luminous green cupcakes. Yet St Patrick’s day is an opportune time to instead broadcast our real Irish food story. We want to focus the conversation on authentic Irish food and dispel the myths and cliches. This St Patrick’s Day, the Failte Ireland Food Champions invite you to join this important movement by using the hashtag #thisisIrishfood to share food images and experiences that truly represent our food island. Snap a picture of your Irish farmhouse cheeseboard, a selfie with your smoked salmon or a time lapse of your pint of craft beer settling, and post to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #thisisirishfood.  We would also love if on 17th March you would share the video below, made by the Perennial Plate to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. This is the culmination of the Perennial Plate’s two month visit to Ireland, capturing the people and places that make Irish food among the best in the world.


Bacon & Greens from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.


Follow This is Irish Food on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and use #ThisisIrishFood

Get your free apples at Irish Farmers’ Markets and celebrate World Pie Day!


World Pi Day is celebrated around the world on March 14th (3.14). Bord Bia and Con Traas of Irish Apple Growers Association have a delicious way to celebrate the day in Ireland this year and call for Irish consumers to take part in the #IrishApplePieChallenge. Consumers are encouraged to visit a local farmers’ market to collect free apples and bake an apple pie for a friend. Entering the challenge by sharing a photo of the pie or exchange on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag above on or before World Pi Day, participants will be in with a chance of winning a two nights stay at Catherine Fulvio’s 4* Ballyknocken House, Farm and Cookery School. Winners, selected at random, will be treated to breakfast each morning, a four course meal served on both nights with pre-dinner sherry, and a half day cookery class at the famous school.

In a recent survey by Bord Bia ‘What Ireland ate for dinner last night’, 15 % of consumers said they normally have a homemade apple pie after dinner. Other recent research showed that baking is perceived to require a high skill level. A mere 1 in 8 (13%) of people consider themselves highly competent bakers. 4 in 5 Irish bakers are women (82%), with 53% baking at least once a week and 30% monthly. The weekend is the most popular time to bake, predominantly on a Saturday afternoon. Interestingly enough but non-surprising, 14% of bakers refer to recipes that have been passed down through the generations. In the 52 week period ending on the 22nd May 2016, the home baking market within the Republic of Ireland was valued at €119 million.


For foodies, baking with Bramley’s is the surest way to savour every piece of the pie. Bramley’s are one-of-a-kind apples and one of few types used in cooking nowadays. Ireland grows 1/3 of the world’s supply of Bramley apples, and is proud of its oldest orchard trees that are more than 200 years old. Five and a half thousand tonnes of Bramleys are sold at retail level every year worth an estimated €9 million. Nearly 40% of sales are to consumers aged 65+. There are 34 Bramley Apple growers in Ireland, each sharing a production area of 314 hectares.


Free Apples

Apples will be given away free at the following times and venues while stocks lasts:


Date Time County Venue
9-11th 9.30am – 6pm Clare The Grainey, Scarriff
9th 10am – 3pm Cork Mahon Point Farmers’ Market
10th 9am – 2pm Cork Clonakilty Farmers’ Market
11th 10am – 2pm Cork Douglas Farmers’ Market
11th 9am – 1.30pm Cork Midleton Farmers’ Market
10-11th 10am – 6pm Dublin Keelings Farm Shop, St. Margarets
11th 9.30am – 4pm Dublin H2G Market, Glasnevin
11th 10am – 5pm Dublin Temple Bar Market
12th 11am – 4pm Dublin Peoples’ Park Market Dun Laoghaire
8th 10am – 4pm Dublin Stillorgan Farmers’ Market
10th 10am – 3pm Dublin Leopardstown Market
11th 10am – 4pm Dublin Marley Park Market
11th 9am – 2pm Limerick Killowen Orchard Farm & Flower Stall
11th 11am – 4pm Louth The Cottage Market
10-11th 9am – 6pm Meath New Barn Farm, Dublin Road, Ashbourne
6-13th 10am – 6pm Tipperary The Apple Farm, Moorstown, Cahir
6-13th 9am – 6pm Tipperary Country Choice, Kenyon Street, Nenagh
11th 9am – 1pm Tipperary Cahir Farmers’ Market, Castle Street Car Park
9-11th 10am – 4pm Tipperary The Green Sheep, Thurles
10th 10am – 5pm Waterford Killowen Orchard Farm Shop, near Portlaw
10th 10am – 4pm Waterford Crinnaghtaun Farm at Cappoquin Estate, Dungarvan Road, Cappoquin
10th 9am – 12pm Wexford Ballycross Apple Farm, Bridgetown, Co. Wexford


Apple Pie with Custard Recipe

From The Nation’s Favourite Food by Neven Maguire via




225g plain flour, extra for dusting

2 tbsp icing sugar

100g butter, diced and chilled

2 large egg yolks

2-3 tbps ice-cold water


900g Bramley cooking apples

100g caster sugar

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Good pinch ground cloves/4 whole cloves

1 tbsp milk


5 egg yolks

3 tbsp caster sugar

½ vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out

300ml milk

100ml cream


To Cook

To make the pastry: Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Using a round-bladed knife or the tips of your fingers, work in the butter and then mix in the egg yolks. Add the ice-cold water until the dough just comes together. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Lightly dust the work surface with flour.

Divide the pastry into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other, then roll out the larger piece until it is about 30cm in diameter. Use to line a 20cm pie dish or a 23cm flat plate, gently pressing into the corners. Trim the edges with a knife and reserve the excess for decorating. Place back in the fridge to chill while you prepare the apples.

Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a large bowl with all but 1 tablespoon of the caster sugar. Add the cinnamon and cloves and mix together. Brush the edge of the pastry with a little milk and then pile the apples into the lined pie dish. Roll out the second piece of pastry into a circle slightly larger than the pie dish and use to cover the apples. Press the edges together to seal, then use a sharp knife to cut away any excess.

Crimp the edges of the tart with a round-bladed knife, using your fingers as a guide. If you wish roll out the pastry scraps and cut into leaf shapes. Brush the shapes with milk and stick on top of the pie. Brush the entire top of the pastry with milk and sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4) and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Meanwhile, to make the custard, place the egg yolks in a large bowl with the sugar and vanilla seeds. Whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until pale and thickened.

Place the milk and cream in a medium pan and bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat. Gradually whisk the heated milk and cream into the egg yolk mixture until smooth, then pour back into the pan and place over a gently heat. Cook gently for 6-8 minutes on a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Keep warm.

Serving Suggestions

To serve, cut the warm apple tart into slices and arrange on warmed serving places with some of the custard. Pour the remaining custard into a jug and hand around separately.

The 2017 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Awards

Irish Food Writers Guild Awards

Photo credit: Paul Sherwood

Six Irish Food WritersGuild Food Award winners for 2017 were announced yesterday together with the Guild’s first posthumous award, which honoured a pioneer of the Irish craft beer revolution, the late Oliver Hughes. Since 1993, the IFWG Food Awards have celebrated Ireland’s food producers and organisations. They recognise those great Irish producers and products that are integral to Ireland’s fine reputation in food and drink, both at home and abroad.

The 2017 IFWG Food Award winners are The Friendly Farmer for his pasture-reared chickens, Ummera Irish Smokehouse for Ummera Smoked Silver Hill Duck Breast and Cuinneog for Irish Farmhouse Country Butter and Natural Buttermilk. Berthas Revenge Irish Milk Gin received this year’s Irish Drink Award and Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm was presented with a Special Contribution to Irish Food Award. The 2017 IFWG Environmental Award went to The Little Milk Company for its innovative approach to fostering sustainable family farms. The family of Oliver Hughes, the pioneering co-founder of The Porterhouse and Dingle Distillery, accepted his posthumous award.

The awards were hosted at the two-Michelin-star Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, marked with a lunch devised and prepared by chef and co-owner Guillaume Lebrun, who incorporated the products of each winner into a celebratory menu.


Lifetime Achievement Award: Posthumously Awarded to Oliver Hughes

Several decades ahead of our recent Irish craft beer revolution, Oliver Hughes co-founded one of the first small independent Irish breweries. Together with Liam Lahart, his cousin, business partner and lifelong friend, Oliver opened Harty’s in Blessington, Co. Wicklow in 1983 and later Dempsey’s in Inchicore. A decade later, they succeeded in developing not just a range of unique Irish craft beers, but also a loyal consumer base for those beers through the Porterhouse brew pub, first in Dublins Temple Bar and later in London, New York and elsewhere in Dublin. Today the Porterhouse Group also operates Lillies Bordello and the Porthouse tapas bars.

 Later, Oliver had the vision to create Dingle Distillery in what was the first purpose-built distillery to open in Ireland in 200 years. Production of their whiskey began in 2012, with first batches of Dingle Single Malt bottled in 2016. They also produce a vodka and a distinctive gin distilled with local botanicals such as rowan berry, bog myrtle and heather.

 Oliver Hughes passed away in July 2016 at the young age of 57, leaving behind his wife Helen, son Elliot and daughter Holly as well as many more family and friends. He is greatly missed by the Irish food and drink community, who remember his infectious energy, fearless vision, considerable generosity and passion for life with continued respect and sincere gratitude.

Food Award: The Friendly Farmer: Ronan Byrne, Co. Galway

Since establishing himself in 2007 as The Friendly Farmer, Ronan Byrne has shown that there is a strong local demand for high-quality Irish chicken from both chefs and consumers alike.

Having studied Agri-business and Marketing, worked in finance, marketing and promotions and managed a large dairy farm in Poland, Ronan returned to Athenry determined to find a way to make a sustainable, full-time living out of his familys small mixed farm. He now produces 115 Hubbard chickens a week using a grass-based system that ensures easy outdoor access for the flock. He also rears free-range pigs, beef cattle and other seasonal poultry (turkeys, geese and ducks) and has recently developed an on-site abattoir with the financial support and mentorship of Galways Local Enterprise Board.

 The Friendly Farmer chickens are available at their pop-up farm shop in the weekly Moycullen and Galway markets and are found on many of the best menus in Galway city and county.

Food Award: Ummera Irish Smokehouse for Ummera Smoked Silver Hill Duck Breast: Anthony Creswell, Co. Cork

At Ummeras custom-built smokehouse, Anthony Creswell draws on four decades of smoking experience. His father Keith began smoking salmon caught in local West Cork rivers back in the 1970s, with Anthony taking over the running of the business in 1998. In 2007, Ummera won an Irish Food Writers Guild Award for its wonderful smoked eel. The range of smoked products also includes organically reared Irish salmon as well as dry-cured bacon, chicken and a recently developed picanha (a Brazilian-style cut of beef from the cap of the rump).

In 2009, Anthony began experimenting with hot-smoked duck breast and within a year had won not just 3 Star Gold Awards at the 2010 Great Taste Awards, but also the Golden Fork for the best Irish Speciality Food of the year. The duck is sourced from another Guild award-winner, Silver Hill Farm in Co. Monaghan, where the Steele family farm their own unique hybrid breed. Anthony favours Silver Hill duck for its tenderness, delicate flavour and its generous layer of fat that keeps the hot-smoked breast moist. The result is a delicious and versatile ready-to-use product that is the combined creation of two exemplary Irish food producers.

Food Award: Cuinneog for Irish Farmhouse Country Butter and Natural Buttermilk: Breda Butler, Co. Mayo

 In response to local demand for a flavour that was in danger of disappearing and armed with creamery cans and a wooden cuinneog (churn), Tom and Sheila Butler began making this proper country butter in their Co. Mayo family kitchen in 1990. Today, their daughter Breda Butler runs the family business, supplying their fermented lactic butter and its by-product, natural buttermilk, to supermarkets and speciality food shops nationwide.

 The lightly salted butter gets its distinctive colour, creamy texture and complex, long-lasting flavour from the traditional production process, which takes four days from start to finish. The cream is slowly heated and fermented, then churned in the traditional way, after which the buttermilk is separated. The butter is then shaped, cut and wrapped by hand.

 Cuinneog was recognised by the Euro-toques awards in 2010 and won three gold stars in the Great Taste Awards 2015, when the country butter was listed in the Top 50 Foods.

Special Contribution to Irish Food: Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Co. Kilkenny

Mag is best known for the excellent rainbow trout that she and her husband Ger produce at Goatsbridge, their second-generation Kilkenny fish farm. As well as their fresh trout, these tireless innovators produce cold-smoked and barbecued trout sides, a smoked trout pâté and a convenient and delicious tinned smoked trout, all under their Eat Trout retail brand. Their unique Goatsbridge trout caviar also graces many of the best Irish restaurant menus.

Mag is an active promoter of local food, with a strong involvement in Kilkenny Food Trails excellent food tourism offer (including their own Goatsbridge Farm Visitor Centre) and in Taste Kilkenny, a group of local producers committed to collective co-operative marketing. She is also a leading figure in sustainable fresh water aquaculture. Goatsbridge was the first fish farm to sign up to Bord Bias Origin Green programme and is committed to sustainable water and energy usage and to social sustainability. A recent initiative saw Mag launch the Fishwives cookbook at Savour Kilkenny in October 2016. Featuring fish recipes gathered from women in Ireland and Uganda from diverse backgrounds and professions, the self-published cookbook was funded by Goatsbridge Trout with the aim of raising 40,000 for Hospice Africa Uganda, as well as encouraging Irish people to eat more fish. 

Mag is commended by the Irish Food Writers Guild for the energy and commitment that she brings to the promotion of Irish food and Irish fish in particular.

Irish Drink Award: Berthas Revenge Irish Milk Gin: Justin Green and Antony Jackson, Co. Cork

This highly original craft gin is produced by Justin Green of Ballyvolane House together with his old school friend and business partner, Antony Jackson. Where most Irish gins use imported grain-based alcohol, Berthas Revenge is distilled with whey alcohol sourced from the local Carbery dairy plant and derived from cows milk produced by Co. Cork dairy farmers.

Using specially developed yeasts to ferment the milk sugars in the whey, Carbery first brew and then double distill the whey in large column stills. Justin and Antony then distill the 96% proof whey alcohol a third time in their custom-made 125 litre copper stills along with their chosen botanicals. These include coriander, bitter orange, cardamom, cumin and clove as well as foraged local botanicals such as alexanders, elderflower and sweet woodruff. The resulting aromatic and warmly spiced gin has won local and international acclaim since its launch in 2015. Berthas Revenge is now exported to the UK, mainland Europe and even South Korea and, later this year, to the US. This truly Irish gin continues the strong field-to-fork tradition that has long been at the heart of Ballyvolane House, a former dairy farm turned award-winning country house


Environmental Award: The Little Milk Company, Co. Waterford


The Little Milk Company is an innovative co-operative demonstrating that environmentally responsible small producers can thrive by working together.

In 2008, ten organic dairy farmers from Munster and Leinster formed a discussion group chaired by Pat Mulrooney to consider the sustainability of their family farms. Recognising that economic sustainability lay in adding value to their primary product, the group experimented in 2011 with a raw milk Cheddar produced for them by Knockanore Irish Farmhouse Cheese. Encouraged by positive feedback, each of the farmers invested in the company the following year. In 2013, they brought Conor Mulhall on board as a full-time CEO of the Little Milk Company.

Today they produce eight different cheeses, including three styles of Cheddar, an organic Brie, an organic blue and Brewers Gold, a washed-rind cheese that uses Dungarvan Brewing Companys Copper Coast beer. Their cheeses are exported to 16 countries and use 70% of all the milk produced on their ten family farms. With this projected to rise to 100% by 2018, the company is recruiting local farmers to convert to organic production in order to meet their future demand. By collaborating with local cheese-makers, they are supporting small Irish craft food producers while securing a future for themselves and their families on their own

Delicious Dublin Tours on Today Fm’s ‘Sunday Breakfast with Alison Curtis’

Owner of Delicious Dublin Tours Ketty Quigley was on Today FM’s ‘Sunday Breakfast with Alison Curtis’ on Sunday 19th of February. She was delighted to be able to talk a bit about our tours, as well as sharing her passion for Irish food.

You can listen to the show via the Soundcloud link above.