The best gifts for the food lover in your life

Looking for gift ideas for food lovers? Strap yourselves in for a Christmas shopping spree with The Menu.

HAMPERS:

The very splendid Urru, in Bandon, have a Made in Cork collection amongst their extensive and highly imaginative range, and offer free shipping around Ireland (urru.ie/collections/hampers).

Burren Smokehouse hampers have wonderful selections based around Birgitta Curtin’s smoked salmon including a Clare Hamper with Classic Burren Cold Smoked Organic, Burren Hot Smoked Organic Salmon, Burren Gold Smoked Gouda, Hazel Mountain Chocolate and Ruby Port (burrensmokehouse.com).

Assemble your own at the The Roughty Food Stall, in the English Market, sporting a splendid range of Irish specialty foods, in particular, a selection box of honeys from Galtee Honey Farm.

Ireland’s foremost baking guru, Joe Fitzmaurice, is retailing vouchers for specialist baking courses at his Riot Rye baking school in beautiful Cloughjordan, including a free proving basket (banneton) (riotrye.ie).

How’s about a cheesemaking kit (goat’s cheese or mozzarella) from splate.ie.

James Whelan Butchers offer their very novel Beef Bonds, retailing a share in one of their renowned Hereford, Angus, Kobe or Wagyu Cattle, with a guaranteed return of a variety box of exquisite cuts of meat (jameswhelanbutchers.com).

Sonia Caldwell of Kilcoe Studios in West Cork collaborates with chef Mark Jennings of Pilgrims restaurant in Rosscarbery on a wild sea plant calendar featuring her beautiful artwork and Mark’s recipes for the edible ones (kilcoestudios.com).

Fishwives, A Cookbook by Goatsbridge, from the Kilkenny-based trout farmers par excellence and a past winner at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, features recipes from 78 women involved in Irish food, with all profits going to Hospice Africa Uganda. (goatsbridge.ie).

Nash19 café and restaurant in Cork city, not only offers a wide range of hampers, including stunning Christmas puds, but also hosts Sternview Gallery, currently retailing works by Tom Climent, Cassandra Eustace, Angela Fewer, Peadar Lamb, Roseanne Lynch (nash19.com)

VOUCHERS:

Good Things @ Dillon’s Corner, in Skibbereen, can be used for dining or to sign up to one of chef/proprietor Carmel Somers’ very excellent culinary classes (thegoodthingscafe.com).

Gorgeous Gregan’s Castle, in Co Clare, combines stunning location with equally stunning food (gregans.ie).

THE GIFT OF THE GLUG:

Bradley’s, of North Main St, offer a superb range of Irish edible goodies along with a splendid collection of wines and spirits and probably the best craft beer selection in the country (bradleysofflicence.ie). In particular, look for Limited Edition Blackwater Gin made with Barry’s Tea and Eight Degrees Brewing’s Christmas specials, The Oak King and The Holly King, part of the new Wild Ballyhoura Series.

Curious Wines do great wine selections all year round and their Christmas hampers also feature a classy selection of gifts, including Ritzenhoff glassware for the serious quaffer (curiouswines.ie).

One of The Menu’s most favourite wine suppliers, Le Caveau , carry an always superb collection of organic, natural and biodynamic wines, with a particular focus on his favoured Burgundies (lecaveau.ie)

The Naturally Cordial Christmas Gift Box of these delicious fruit forward syrups is as fine a resource for rustling up a quick libation, either with or without alcohol (naturallycordial.ie).

Highbank Orchards, in Kilkenny, sell their wonderful beverages online, including new vintage organic Sack, gin, apple brandy, Cider Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, syrup and Organic Treacle. (highbankorchards.com)

AND FINALLY...

Smart shoppers will most probably already have their turkeys and hams ordered but the Farmer’s Markets remain the very best place to procure finest fresh vegetables for the big day. Look for superb produce from Caroline Robinson, Derek Hannon (Greenfield Farm), Joe Burns (Ballicurraginny Farm) Dave Barry (Ballintubber Farm) and Organic Republic.



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