10 Irish Food Gifts for Christmas 2014

Christmas is just about upon us and once again this year we wanted to share some of our favourite foodie finds for the year.

Christmas time is of course a time filled with gifts and food and we think that food makes a wonderful gift because it is a time to treat our friends and loved ones with delicious goodies to savour and enjoy together.  So, once again, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourites (this is by no means all we love but we had to limit the list for the purpose of this blog post).

 

1. Burren Smokehouse Salmon – We just love this company. In the  Premier Issue of the magazine we did a big feature on Birgitta and Peter Curtin. To read that piece – go to our 1st Issue in our Archive. The smokehouse is based in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare and next door is the Roadhouse Tavern where Peter has the Burren Brewery. We love their salmon year round – serve it with brown bread and a bowl of soup, give it as a gift, serve it as a starter before any meal.

We also love their idea of the Salmon Buying Club – this is a great option for those of you who want to order salmon together. Buy over 20kg of salmon to ship to one address and you can save 15% on both the product and delivery costs. *T&C’s apply. The Burren Smokehouse does ship outside of Ireland – so order now not to be disappointed –

Birgitta Curtin, The Burren Smokehouse (left) with Lisa McGee,Founder/Creative Director ISLE magazine

Birgitta Curtin, The Burren Smokehouse (left) with Lisa McGee,Founder/Creative Director ISLE magazine

2. Cashel Blue and Crozier Blue Cheese

No Christmas celebration is complete without some fabulous Irish cheeses – there are of course limitless possibilities for cheeses to buy but we’ve once again had to narrow it down for this post.  Cashel Blue, made from cows milk,  is a long established blue cheese that has been made  by the Grubb family in Tipperary since 1994. In 1993 they introduced Crozier Blue, which is the only blue cheese made in Ireland from sheep milk and it is equally as delicious and a favourite here at ISLE HQ. They also recently created a Cashel Cream Cheese – which is pretty addictive!! For stockists – visit their website Cashel Blue.

We have, of course, featured them in the pages of the magazine and you can read about them in Issue 3. 

Photograph by Paul Sherwood.

Photograph by Paul Sherwood.

3.  The Lismore Food Company – This is a brand new company that has launched not only a delicious biscuit range but their packaging is to die for. We are smitten with the orange tins – very chic, very special and absolutely perfect for Christmas gifts.

We tasted their Lemon Polenta biscuits – and they are light, delicious and perfect for a mid-morning tea break but they also have All Butter Irish Shortbread, Dark Chocolate and Cardamon, Hazelnut, Cinnamon & Raisin and Golden Ginger & Cacao Nibs.

Their website hasn’t launched yet so the best place to find a stockist near you is on their Facebook page. 

 

The full range from The Lismore Food Company.

The full range from The Lismore Food Company.

4.  Spiced Beef from James Whelan Butchers

We’ve mentioned James Whelan Butchers before and we featured Pat Whelan’s wonderful book on beef in Issue 4 but last year we had this Award Winning Spiced Beef and we just cannot recommend it enough.  James Whelan Butchers is based in Clonmel and now has several additional locations at Avoca’s throughout Ireland. The best thing is you can order all their product on-line (in fact, they were the first Irish butchers to get online).

Get 2lbs of their spiced beef for 16.50 euro – thinly sliced that can feed 8 people.

Order on-line here – James Whelan Butchers. And we also recommend checking out the recipe section on their site.

Spiced Beef.jpg

5. Wildwood Vinegars

We discovered these amazing vinegars at the Dingle Food Festival in October. Our Founder/Creative Director Lisa McGee was lucky enough to be a judge for the Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards and these vinegars were one of the food categories she tasted. This company, based in Co. Mayo has a range of over 15 different flavoured vinegars. Their Wild Mountain Heather vinegar won Gold at the awards. We have a hard time picking our favourite – we love them all – Blackberry, Fuchsia, lemon……the options are endless.

Their website is currently under construction so you can also find them on Facebook. 

Gold winner Wild Mountain Heather. Image from Wildwood Vinegars

Gold winner Wild Mountain Heather. Image from Wildwood Vinegars

6. Carrot Cake from The Pantry Cafe in Kilkee

This is a very local product but one we can’t leave out. We tasted this amazing carrot cake when we visited Loophead in Co. Clare in September. It is made by Imelda Bourke and Chef Neven Maguire claims it is “the best carrot cake he has every tasted” – we agree!! You can buy your own at The Pantry Cafe on O’Curry Street, Kilkee Co. Clare  Tel: 065-9056576

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Neven Maguire with The Pantry team

Neven Maguire with The Pantry team

7.  Rebel Chilli

Another company we discovered during the Dingle Food Festival was Rebel Chilli. They too brought home a Gold from Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards for their Red Chilli Lemongrass & Ginger. It has a great punch to it and we were delighted to see such a new company do so well. We also have a soft spot for their Jalapeno & Raspberry Chilli. Fantastic with cheeses! They also have several other products – sigificantly hotter than these as they say “when we say hot…we mean it!”

Their brand new website just went live! Find stockists – Rebel Chilli.

The Rebel Chilli range

The Rebel Chilli range

8. Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oils

We featured Broighter Gold in our 1st issue of the magazine and now their products are a stable here at the ISLE HQ kitchen. We’ve sent them off to America and relish cooking with them on a regular basis. Based in Limavady, Northern Ireland just outside Derry – we love that they are a family business, started by Richard and Leona Kane in 2006, plus they are located in a stunning part of Ireland with a wonderful history – read more about them here.

Besides their original  oil – they also have an infused range with 4 flavours that we love – basil, lemon, chilli and rosemary and garlic infused. We are partial to the basil infused oil and never have enough in stock! These are fabulous gifts for real foodies – you can order on-line directly from their website-  Broighter Gold. 

Infused range from Broighter Gold.

Infused range from Broighter Gold.

 

9. Crossogue Preserves

Crossogue Preserves is a Tipperary based company located about half an hour from ISLE HQ. Started by Veronica Molloy – Veronica learned about preserving from her mother in law Nancy Molloy. What started initially as a hobby has since grown into an international business and the product range includes preserves, marmalades, jellies and chutneys. Over 25 of her products have won awards over the years. At the Great Taste Awards 2014, Veronica won a Double Gold for her Lime Tequila Marmalade and a Single Gold for her Sugar Free Marmalade spread.  You can buy on-line but they are also available throughout Ireland and internationally. To buy – shop here. 

 

Award Winners

Award Winners

 

10. Buy a Food Voucher

Finally, we love getting food vouchers at Christmas time because it allows us to buy the things we want to treat ourselves to.  So, if you can’t think of quite the right edible treat for friends and family, why not buy them a gift voucher.

Here are some suggestions:

Good Food Ireland , on-line

Fallon and Byrne, Dublin

Ardkeen, on-line and in store, Waterford

McCambridge’s of Galway

 

Happy Christmas and Happy Shopping and please leave us a comment if you’ve got your own recommendations!!

The ISLE Team