Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gift Ideas for Food Lovers

It is so easy these days to find gifts for food lovers. Gone are the days (hopefully) where you got a selection of dried herbs (mostly out of date) in a dodgy little wonky rack or getting pasta & bean shapes piled up in beautiful jars (have you ever used the pasta or beans???).

We are now lucky enough to have great produce available that will make every food lover smile and dance. Below are some ideas that might inspire you (and please feel free to send any of the below my way lol)

For Coffee Addicts

Badger & Dodo have a great approach to coffee - only the best is good enough. They have now introduced a subscription of monthly coffees send to your door. Monthly subscriptions are roasted on the first Tuesday of each month, couriered Wednesday to arrive Thursday. The only exception to this is in January where it is roasted on the second Tuesday as couriers aren’t operating so early in the new year. Only the 1kg and 2.5kg bags are available for this service and costs from €265 - you can choose from whole beans and different grinds. Email  or call 087 0532660 for more details. You can also find them weekly at the Douglas Farmer's Market

For Kitchen Gardeners

Get ready in time for your kitchen garden with a hamper from Brown Envelope Seeds - their seeds are Irish grown and Madeline McKeever has creative ways of creating gift sets like the Heritage Hamper, Baby's first meal and the Purple Veg Box. She also runs courses on seedsaving and vouchers are available at their online shop. Make sure to read their story when online.

Staying in the kitchen garden - Irish Seed Savers have done amazing work in keeping heritage seeds alive and storing and archiving them. Through cuts in funding, they are in a bit of a bother and need lots of support. You can give a membership this year as a present that includes several packets of seeds & potatoes, discount on sales and workshops, free access and a bumper newsletter. A year's membership costs €50 and it ensures that Irish Seed Savers can continue their very important work.

Cookery Classes

We are very lucky in Ireland, especially in Cork to have some amazing cookery schools. If the 3 month course in Ballymaloe is a bit out of reach, fret not, we have something for everyone.

The Firehouse Bakery is run by Patrick Ryan and Laura Moore and they are running breadmaking courses in their home bakery on Heir Island. Patrick is the creator of the Real Bread Revolution - so join him in his quest and learn how to make amazing breads in a beautiful setting. I am a big fan of Patrick & Laura and can only recommend their courses highly to anyone who always wanted to make their own 'real' bread. Courses run throughout the year and cost €110 incl. fee for ferry, lunch and you get to take bread home with you. Alone the lunch is worth half the money as Laura is a fantastic cook. You will be made welcome and time will pass so quickly that you want to do it all over again. Classes are booking out quickly, so don't wait too long. Email info@thefirehouse.ieor call 085 1561984for more details.

The wonderful Christine Girault of La Spoon Patisserie is offering courses on French Patisserie throughout the year. Join her in her home kitchen where she will show you how to make macaroons, petit fours and anything you like to learn. The courses are tailored to all skill levels but Christine also gives one-on-one classes if needed. I have attended one of her classes and can only recommend her as one of the best teachers I have come across. Her style is relaxed and informative but best of all, it's hands on. Email for more details.

If your 'thing' is more Indian Cuisine, than Annam is one to watch. Banu & Ruth are giving classes on traditional authentic Indian cooking with recipes handed down from generation to generation. But they not only offer classes but their Indian Supper Clubs are to die for. Hands on, everyone chips in with the preparations and cooking and afterwards everyone sits around a big table and tucks in nicely. This is a great ways of learning new cooking techniques and cuisines. Banu & Ruth are also planning to do 'house parties' where they bring the supper club to you. Gift vouchers are available.  Email for more details.
Knockdrinna Cheese

And for cheese lovers - why not give the gift of cheesemaking to the foodie in your life. Knockdrinna Cheesemakers in Stoneyford in Kilkenny are offering courses throughout the year. I have attended the December course and have learned so much. Helen Finnegan is generous in sharing her knowledge and expertise and it is a great day out in a beautiful area of County Kilkenny. The course is €80 and includes lunch. Contact (056) 772 8446 for more details. They have also an online shop where the courses can be booked. If you don't want the to attend the cheese course, why not buy the cheese lover in your life a beautiful hamper instead.   

For the Traveling Foodie

Good Food Ireland has come up with a wonderful idea - the Good Food Ireland Prepaid MasterCard is a unique multifunctional card that can be purchased as a Gift Card or Food Travel Passport. More details via The GFI online shop has also hampers with Irish produce on offer.           

Hampers for Food Lovers

The wonderful people at Flemings Country House & Restaurant have been busy making lots of delicious goodies for their famous hampers. For inquiries, please call 021/4821621.

Not actual hamper - presentation only
Bradley's in North Main Street are the place to go when you are looking for a wonderful selection of craft beers and of course their amazing hampers. They are delivering nationwide and don't have a minimum requirement for orders online. For latest offers please call 021/4270845

Nash19 has long been a strong supporter of local produce - even before it became fashionable and their hampers are legendary.  Download their Christmas brochure from their website and you'll be sorted in time for Christmas.

Urru is located in Bandon and is a treasure chest for foodies and it has just won the Good Food Ireland Retail Shop of the Year award. Hampers, equipment, cookery books and so much more can be purchased at Urru just in time for Christmas.

I am stopping here but there is so much more to be had for food lovers - keep watching this space for more updates. You might say, why doesn't she include cookery books - because that is a complete post in itself as there are soooooo many out there.... coming up soon


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