Ireland is the land of perpetual greens, leprechauns, magic and Guinness.
It has been several years since I was last in Ireland and I am longing to return. While there are many charms beyond the craggy coast lines and lush lands and meadows, one does not go to Ireland for the weather or the food. In the last 10 years however, the food scene has exploded in Ireland.
The Dublin Bay Prawn Festival is a unique food experience that takes place in the Howth Peninsula. Its majestic, picturesque harbor with scenic views (complete with lighthouse) hosts offerings of delicious foods, craft beers, wine tastings and demonstrations by local anglers. This wonderful foodie festival coincides with St. Patrick’s Day.
Laura’s not so Typical Prawn Boil
– using Chef Laura’s Go Fish
Galway boasts the world’s longest running oyster and seafood festival. The opening night of Galway International Oyster Festival is September 24, 2021. Festivities include, live music, food, buffet dinners, wine, parades, cooking demos, family fun and a world oyster opening championship. Galway is a quaint seaside community that will capture your heart during this festival that celebrates the rich annual oyster harvest.
Fresh oysters on the half shell are an exquisite kiss of the sea. This strawberry mignonette is the perfect pair to this saltwater delicacy.
The Mother Harissa in this recipe adds heat to the sweet.
This twist to the quintessential mignonette, makes a fresh shucked oyster taste like heavenly waters.
Shuck, eat, repeat!
The Ever-Essential Potato
It is no secret that the Irish have an ongoing love affair with potatoes.
Although potatoes originate in South America and the French take credit for 467 different recipes or preparations, it is the Irish that have an everlasting relationship with this oh so humble vegetable.
Clonmellon’s annual Potato Festival is family fun in the birthplace of the Irish potato. The contest for the fastest peeler will have you on the edge of your seat.
The similar sounding town of this festival town sounds like the traditional Irish dish itself; Colcannon, a buttery mashed potato with finely sliced cabbage and/ or kale steamed and added to this delectable mash.
A Sweet Ending Bring Back Barmbrack
Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit loaf that is similar to Christmas fruitcake or wedding cake. I love the folklore behind this sweet treat of fortune telling. The fruit is tea soaked. Use Chef Laura’s Hibiscus Ginger tea mix for that extra special flavor. The name barnbrack or barmbrack originates from the Irish Gaelic word “bairín” and “ breac” which means speckled loaf. It is often made around Halloween at which time one will often see Irish market shelves packed with this tasty, sweet bread.
Traditionally, each member of the household would get a slice of barmbrack. Small items are hidden and baked into the bread. The items you find in your piece, predict your future.
Old Irish traditions include a pea which means you will not marry soon; a coin represents great wealth; a ring means a wedding is in your near future. A piece of cloth represents hardship or hard work. A rainbow will bring you good luck. Try this recipe and start creating your own traditions and celebratory events. Use your imagination and include trinkets you choose turning them into barmbrack treasures. Create your own predictions and family folklore and fun. Celebrate a slice of life and all its occasions: love, luck and laughs with a piece of this tasty treat.
Everything Irish is whimsical but with serious intent. It is playful but only after hard work. It is green with glints of gold. Old traditions of community are rooted in every attempt to make visiting Ireland nothing short of grand!
We hope these recipes instill the love and laughter of an Irish visit.