Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gift Ideas for Foodies

It is this time of the year again - what to buy your loved ones and friends for Christmas? You don't want to buy some 'rubbish' that no one needs or want but you also don't want to break the bank. My gift guide below will make it easier to get the perfect gift for your foodie friend - and let's face it, we all have one of those (in my case, it's actually me). All gifts below are made in Ireland (apart from the cookbooks). What ever you decide to buy this year, try to make it Irish. For each € spend on Irish Goods, jobs are saved.

A Breadmaking Course at Firehouse Bakery

Patrick and Laura of Firehouse Bakery
This is a gift that every aspiring breadmaker will love. The Firehouse Bakery is located on the idyllic Heir Island and is run by Patrick Ryan and Laura Moore. Patrick has been on TV and has published his first book this year. What makes Firehouse Bakery so special is not only the location in one of the most beautiful spots in West Cork but the fact that they are using a wood fired clay oven which produces the most amazing breads. Day Courses run throughout the year and costs around €110 which include the following

  • Return ferry to Heir Island
  • Full day hands on baking experience
  • Bake your very own hand made bread in a wood fired clay oven
  • Lunch with wine, with Roaringwater Bay serving as the back drop
  • An artisan baker's goodie bag to take home
  • And as much freshly baked bread as you can carry 
I was lucky enough to win a course with Firehouse Bakery and can't wait to get my hands into the flour.

Smorgasboard Game

A game from foodies for foodies - a fun new game for foodies created by Irish husband & wife entrepreneurs, Richard Kelly & Maggie Leonar. Players take on the guise of aspiring chefs as they work their way around the board in search of gastronomic success. The object of the game is to be the first team of chefs to graduate from Rick’s Culinary Academy! This game would be the perfect after dinner entertainment.

Subscription for Food Magazines

Food & Wine
Easy Food Magazine
We have some wonderful food magazines in Ireland - Food & Wine and Easy Food to name just two. Why not give a subscription this Christmas? Irish publishers are struggling these days and any sold subscription can make a big difference and your friend can learn and improve their cooking skills in the process - win win for everyone.  Which one you are going for is absolutely up to you but keep in mind what your friend likes. Food & Wine is for the serious foodie - great recipes, reader events and the latest news on top notch restaurants makes this a great read. Easy Food is a great magazine for all who want to take up cooking or want to improve their skills and try new ideas. A year's subscription for Food & Wine cost you €41.80 while Easy Food is €30 per year.

Slowfood Membership

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Slowfood - I try to live by the motto, clean food, honest food and think globally - act locally. Slowfood Ireland has been founded by Darina Allen after a meeting with Slowfood founder Carlo Petrini. Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Becoming a member of Slowfood supports the organisation in supporting and promoting the Slow Life. Membership for a year is €50 - a new initiative for Youth has just been introduced where young people can join for €12. Each convivium is holding events throughout the year - so there is the social aspect of it as well. You can find out more about Slowfood here 


I personally love cookbooks - you could even call me a collector. I have learned so much from my cookbooks without having ever followed a recipe. I believe that each household should have at least one cookbook in the house. And there is only one book I can honestly recommend for beginners and 'pros' alike = Miss Delia Smiths Complete Cookery Course. I have the first edition of this book at home and it has never ever let me down if I had to look for something. It has been recently re-published. If you are a beginner - stick to the recipe and I promise you it will work. Her recipes are based on simple facts, no gimmicks, no frills. If your child is leaving home for the first time to live on his/her own, if you just got married without having ever had to cook, if you want to ensure your mother-in-law that you are able to look after her precious son - this is your book. I mean, if even Marco Pierre White isn't giving out about Delia - she must be good. 

In the next few days, I will add more ideas but I hope that the suggestions above make it easier for you to find the perfect gift this Christmas.

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