My Top 10 of Everything: Things you absolutely must taste in Ireland!

 

Its March 17th and today,  Irish people all over the world will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

Most of us will drown the shamrock pretty much alone this year as we feel (and heed) the effects of social distancing.   Although festivities have been curtailed,  there’s a great sense of Irishness today.   We’ll be indulging in as many of the following as possible and I hope that those of you who have yet to visit Ireland will get to enjoy them some day also……

1. Guinness

Might as well start with the obvious!   Guinness is brewed in over 50 countries but everyone knows it tastes better in Ireland!   Containing just 4 ingredients – malted barley,  brewer’s yeast, hops and barley  –  3 million pints are brewed daily in Dublin.   It takes exactly 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint and you should preferably drink it with your elbow perpendicular to the floor!

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2. The Full Irish

Ah!  Great after a night on Guinness!   Bacon,  sausage,  black and white pudding,  fried egg, tomato,  and whatever else you can find!!

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3. Brown Soda Bread.

A must with the Full Irish!  The name ‘soda’ comes from the use of baking soda rather than yeast.   In the 19th century,  it was believed that cutting a cross on top let the devil out while the bread was being baked!

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4. Irish Smoked Salmon

Ireland is renowned for its trout and salmon fishing.   Of course most of us prefer to just eat it!   Our smoked salmon is perfect on a slice of brown soda bread!

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5. Irish Whiskey

Different from Scotch in its ingredients and production process,  Irish whiskey is renowned for its smoothness.   To be legally considered Irish,  a whiskey must be distilled and matured in Ireland for at least 3 years.  In Irish we call it ‘Uisce Beatha’ – meaning ‘the water of life’.   Its experiencing a renaissance at the moment with new distilleries in development.   Tip – Shouldn’t really ask for it with ice as this detracts from the flavour.  

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6. Irish Coffee

Start with a measure of Irish Whiskey,  add sugar,  then pour in some hot strong coffee and top with freshly whipped cream.    Do not stir – the best way to enjoy is to drink the coffee and whiskey through the cream.  Absolutely YUM!!!

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7. Baileys Irish Cream

Around only since 1973, this liqueur,  made with whiskey,  cream,  chocolate and vanilla,  is one of the most popular in the world (just check out the duty free shops).   38,000 cows in 1500 Irish farms dedicate themselves to providing the milk for the cream.  The bottle has a shelf life of up to 2 years but that never happens!!! Try it in coffee… or cheesecake… divine!!

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8. Tayto Crisps

A photograph alone is enough to bring tears to every expat’s eyes!  We were all raised on Tayto Cheese and Onion ( maybe Salt and Vinegar at Christmas!) crisps.  Is there anything better in life than a Tayto cheese and onion sandwich!

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9. Dairy Products

All that rain has to be good for something!   We have fantastic milk,  cheese,  butter,  cream…..

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10. Club Orange

Yes – we do non alcohol also!!!   This matches perfectly with a bag of Tayto!   Around since 1940,  we all grew up on this carbonated soft drink.   We just love those juicy bits!

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Now of course if you’re very clever,  you will just find a decent pub that serves the lot,  settle in for a long session and work your way through the list!!!

 

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Photo Credit:

Irish Coffee: HeyMoira on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Salmon: fs999 on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Crisps: Alex J Donohue on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Whiskey: Fareham Wine on Visual Hunt / CC BY

 

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17 thoughts on “My Top 10 of Everything: Things you absolutely must taste in Ireland!

  1. Bailey’s does have a long shelf life … if you don’t open the bottle. However, once the seal has been cracked, I’m told it must be drunk within a month, Best Irish meal I had so far … a beef and Guinness stew (I call it Boeuf Dublinonne!) served with mashed taties and colcannon!

    1. Great choice – hard to beat a good ‘Boeuf Dublinonne’!!

      I always assumed Baileys had to be consumed quickly once opened. According to the company, this isn’t the case and it can last for up to 2 years open or unopened. Not sure I’d be too keen on sampling it after a few months. But usually open a bottle at Christmas or some busy event so its used up quickly anyway.

  2. Thank you so much Madam for sharing such a gem of an article.. 😊
    You are right, a food traditional to a particular place tastes the best at that particular place only. Same goes for the beverages.
    Can’t wait to visit Ireland and try these delicacies out, especially the Irish Cream.. 😊
    By the way, can you tell me what food goes best as a pair to Irish Whiskey, Guinness Beer and Irish Cream? And what is the best way to have Irish Whiskey (since it cannot be had on the rocks, as you said)?

    1. I’ve had to think about this! I’d say that traditionally, neither Guinness nor whiskey was not taken with food at all – people (mainly men) drank Guinness in pubs when socialising with friends. Whiskey was taken in pubs – maybe as a’chaser’ – ordered with a pint- but also given to visitors at home so every house would have a bottle. Pubs then branched out and began serving food and while most would prefer a lager or wine with their meal, some do take Guinness. It combines well with seafood – especially oysters and smoked salmon, and also goes well with meat pies and burgers. Baileys is relatively new to the scene and is too heavy to take with food… its a popular after dinner drink.

      Ideally, one should take whiskey straight (or’neat’). Some may ask for a small jug of water and dilute to taste. Most people, unless they are true connoisseurs, take it with a mixer like soda or ginger ale.

      1. Noted your points on traditional Irish drinks, Madam.. ☺️☺️
        Thank you so much for your reply.. Really appreciate it..!!
        Well, I like to have things the way they were had or they are consumed, traditionally in it’s place of origin.
        I believe soda or ginger ale will dilute the taste of Irish Whiskey. I will consume it neat when in Ireland. Thank you so much for the tips and the detailed description of all the Irish drinks.. ☺️

      2. Very welcome …. all this talk … seriously thinking of opening a bottle of Baileys here – for research purposes only of course!!! Cheers!!!

      3. I am confident that your research will shed more light into the beauty of the local and traditional Irish drinks and food.. ☺️ Cheers..!! 🍻

  3. Happy St Patrick’s Day, my friend! Although there’s no parade this year and the world looks like a scary place to be, most of the people are in great humor. And I have to say there’s nothing better than Irish soda bread! Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

    1. You’re right Aiva – so far everyone here has managed to keep up their spirits. All we can do is have a laugh…..
      Mind yourselves there in the west. XXX Marie

  4. With the Corona pandemic quarantine, I’d settle for any safe place not at home to sit down and enjoy life with or without alcohol.

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