When most of us think of Irish food we think of the traditional fish and chips, or perhaps corned beef and cabbage. These are of course the staples of any pub worth its salt this side of the Atlantic and throughout the Emerald Isle. However there is much more to Irish fare than this. Old traditions are being revitalized as well as a love of using locally sourced ingredients from the country’s farmlands and the icy northern waters. William Bailey Travel invites foodies to come with us as we review the foods you can’t miss on your Irish journey.
Who doesn’t love cheese? Cheese has been made for centuries in Ireland, mainly in the monasteries. While that tradition had nearly died-out, artisanal cheeses are now part of a growing movement throughout the country. Stop in at one of Sheridans Cheesemongers shops. They are located in Dublin, Galway and Kells. They offer over 50 Irish cheeses from around the country. If you would like to sample before buying, stop in to the wine bar at their Galway location where they offer tasting platters.
As this island country is surrounded by water, there is no shortage of seafood that hits the tables of restaurants around the country. One of the best restaurants to try this bounty of the sea is the award winning The West. They were the All Ireland Chowder Champions of 2012 and 2013, so best start with a cup of that. Want to immerse yourself in the delights of seafood? Look no further than the annual Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival. It is held at the end of September and is a great way to sample an array of choices.
A staple of the true Irish is their love of soda bread. We’ve all probably had it from one of our local bakeries; you’d recognize it from the cross cut into the top of it. To truly experience it though you must get a loaf from one of the artisan bakeries in Ireland. Fabulous places to pick up yours are at Limerick’s Milk Market, Cork’s English Market, and Belfast’s St. George’s Market. Wander the markets to get locally farmed butter and homemade preserves to top it. You palate will be tantalized by the deliciousness of this Irish staple.
Of course when you are on your visit partake in the traditionally known Irish fare, but also indulge yourself with the country’s newest and reexamined favorites as well. Take a journey into the past and the future of every country you visit by tasting the food that makes it unique.