Taste the Cream of Irish Chowder at this weekend’s All-Ireland Chowder Championship in Kinsale

Kinsale Good Food Circle want your help to find the best chowder chef in Ireland. A representative from each of the 32 counties will compete for the title of “All-Ireland Chowder Champion” at the 4th Annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off 2014.

Building on the huge success of last year’s Chowder Cook-Off, Ireland’s gourmet capital is pleased to announce that this year’s event will take place at Acton’s Hotel, Kinsale on Sunday 13th April from 2pm to 4pm. Everyone attending the event will have a chance to vote for their favourite chowder-chef!

The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off will feature 32 professional restaurant chefs, fishermen and makers of commercial chowders, each selected to represent their county, in competition for the title of All-Ireland Chowder Champion.

The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off is the highlight of a two day Family Festival that will take over the streets of Kinsale on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April. This popular annual event sees the town transformed into an open-air street market, with food stalls and family fun on every street, quay and open space. Local and visiting food businesses will offer samples and take-home food for under €5, and there will be food and fun for all age groups.

Members of the public will be the judges in the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off. Everyone will be given a voting card at the entrance, which entitles them to sample all chowders from the individual stalls, before casting their vote for the All-Ireland Chowder Champion 2014.

Will the winner be the richest, creamiest chowder, or will the prize go to a spicy concoction with a hint of chilli? You the public will decide – Tickets are €10 each, making it an unusual and affordable Sunday lunch option!

Liam Edwards, Chairman of Kinsale Good Food Circle said, “Kinsale is a busy fishing port as well as being the Gourmet Capital of Ireland, and a key destination on the newly launched Wild Atlantic Way. This competition plays to all our strengths, and we look forward to welcoming members of the public to decide which is the best chowder on the day. Last year’s Cook-0ff was a huge success, and we look forward to seeing even more visitors from America and Europe as well as from all over Ireland at this unique event.”

Competition among chefs is keen. The winning chef will not only be crowned All-Ireland Chowder Champion, but will also receive a customised trophy and be invited to take part in the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, Rhode Island, Kinsale’s transatlantic twin town, next summer. The 2013 winners, The West Bar, Westport, Co Mayo will represent Ireland in the prestigious competition in June.

County Donegal’s Champion Chowder Chef Joe Clinton

County Donegal, for example, is being represented by Chef Joe Clinton and he’s heading down to Kinsale for the All Ireland Chowder Cook-Off on the 13th April after he won the Donegal regional final. That competition was organised by the Food Coast division of the Donegal County Enterprise Board and was held during last summer’s A Taste of Donegal Food Festival.

Joe’s award-winning chowder is an great example of the finest locally sourced seafood produced today in county Donegal. Ingredients include Drowes River Line-Caught Salmon, Mountcharles Smoked Cod, Northwest Atlantic Haddock, pearls of Glencolmcille Crabmeat, Killybegs Line-Caught Squid, Inver Bay Mussels & Clams, Dunkineely Prawns & Baby Shrimp. The recipe also includes a secret mix of Donegal Sea Vegetables that he has specially selected. His homemade butters are flavoured with his own Dill & Lemon balm and locally caught lobster. To compliment his chowder, Joe is serving Dillisk Scones & fresh herb breads.
The 4th Annual All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off 2014 starts at 2pm at Acton’s Hotel, Kinsale. The Tickets (entitling holders to samples of all chowders) are only €10 each or €25 for a Family Pass and are available at the hotel door.

For more information about the Kinsale Good Food Circle see www.kinsalerestaurants.com


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Great British Menu star Chef Raymond McArdle creates a Wild Tasting Menu for Connemara Hotel

Situated on the Island of Inishbofin, off the west coast of Connemara in Co. Galway, the award-winning Inishbofin House Hotel & Marine Spa is set to become the newest destination venue for food-lovers as celebrated chef Raymond McArdle has just become their as their Head Chef Consultant.





The Great British Menu star, who is set to star in Series 9 of the show on BBC2 all next week, has planned a Wild Tasting Menu to launch the Hotel’s reopening for summer. Inishbofin, which was last year voted as one of the top five places to visit in Ireland, will now draw food lovers from Ireland and beyond with both Raymond and new head chef Taidgh McDonald working their culinary magic.





Inishbofin House Hotel have reopened their doors for the summer and are delighted to have Raymond as their Head Chef Consultant. His role will be to work on developing the style and menus and ensure that the right staff are working in the restaurant.





Raymond started out his career as a trainee chef with Paul Rankin and Robbie Millar at Roscoff Restaurant in Belfast, he then moved on to work with Michael Deane for seven years progressing through the ranks to become Head Chef at Deane’s Belfast, where he assisted in obtaining the Michelin Star award in 1996 as Michael’s second chef.


Raymond worked as Head Chef in the Nuremore Hotel from 2001 to 2011 with Inishbofin House Hotel’s General Manager Niall Coffey. It was during this time that they propelled the Restaurant, now highly successful, to 3 AA Rosettes, an accolade currently held by only one hotel in Ulster. He is now running his own successful restaurants in Belfast, Warrenpoint and Tyrone, including the very popular Restaurant 23 at Balmoral, Warrenpoint.





Chef Taidgh McDonald is also an exciting addition to the hotel, having worked in Richard Corrigan’s two restaurants in Mayfair, London & Thornton’s restaurant, St Stephen’s Green, to name but a few. Taidgh will be the head chef in the restaurant, adding both his experience and culinary flavour to the mix of talented team put together by General Manager Niall Coffey.





The Hotel offers guests friendly service, delicious locally sourced produce in the restaurant, traditional Irish music sessions in the harbour view bar and a selection of luxurious bedrooms with spectacular sea views. Inishbofin House Hotel also has a Marine Spa with many relaxing treatments to choose from. It is an oasis of modern luxury and provides a perfect island getaway for families looking to rediscover nature or couples looking for a romantic break away from it all.


This hotel is a perfect destination for those that love to relax somewhere quiet in comfort and luxury.

You can follow Raymond McArdle on Twitter at @mcardle_23. For more info on Inishbofin House Hotel see www.inishbofinhouse.com.



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Beautiful Reconditioned Vintage AirStream Food Trailer For Sale or Rent

A good friend in Killybegs, Co Donegal, asked me to put the word out about this amazing Vintage American AirStream Food Trailer he has for Sale. You have to see it in the flesh to really appreciate it’s beauty!



This classic trailer was bought several years ago and the owner has slowly but lovingly restored it back to it’s original condition. The inside has been fitted out with the most superb catering equipment and the timing of the refit is perfect as the Street-food phenomenon is just taking off in Ireland.



The AirStream has been based in Killybegs for the last year as well as being rented out for national advertising and marketing campaigns to companies such as the SuperValu Roadshow with Kevin Dundon.



The catering equipment on-board includes: a 12 ft s/s Canopy, 5x Ring Gas Cooker, 3ft Garland Gas Griddle, 2x Gas fryers (Pitco), 2x Under-Counter Drinks Fridges, 1x 3 Door Under Counter Fridge with Worktop. The internal length is a cool 23ft and is colourful, bright and spacious.



The AirStream Trailer is fully Health Board Approved and is a beautiful piece of Kitchen space. It really is a pleasure to work in and eye-candy too!



The AirStream Catering Trailer is ideal for marketing and promotional work, for large or small special occasions and corporate functions. It always shines on wedding days for evening nibbles and it is ideal as a Streetfood Truck on a permanent pitch in Dublin, Belfast, Galway, Cork or anywhere else in between!



So, if you are a Restaurant looking to get to the Streets, a PR Company looking for a special angle, a Wedding Planner looking to beat the rest or a just someone looking to get into the Irish Food Trade without having to buy or rent Bricks & Mortar, this could be the perfect opportunity to gain the upper-hand with an eye-catching Unique Vintage AirStream Classic Food Trailer!


The AirStream is ready to go Now and prices are negotiable for longer-term rental.

Short Term Rent €1000 per week.
Long Term Annual Rent €500 per week.
For Sale €40,000 o.n.o.

Joint Ventures will be considered if you have an attractive proposition like a good permanent private pitch/stand in a high value area. The trailer is also under offer for sale if you are interested.

For full details and Prices, Contact John at 086 8164106 and mention the Irish Food Guide.



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Have Your Say on the Definitions for the Description of Irish Food Products

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has just announced a public consultation on the use of Food Marketing Terms in Ireland.


The consultation is based on a Draft Code of Practice aimed at protecting the integrity of certain marketing terms on Irish food with the intent of protecting the interests of the consumer and the small food industry. Part of the code will concentrate on advertising terms that are used to define genuine differences between the foods that smaller producers offer and the mainstream commercial foodstuffs of a similar type.




The Draft Code of Practice will provide an “agreed set of additional rules” for the food industry use of the following marketing terms on foods:


• Artisan/Artisanal

• Farmhouse

• Traditional

• Natural


Here are the proposed definitions for the following Irish Food Marketing Terms:




The terms “artisan” or “artisanal” or similar descriptions using these terms should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have all of the following characteristics:


1. The food is made in limited quantities by skilled craftspeople

2. The processing method is not fully mechanised and follows a traditional method

3. The food is made in a micro-enterprise at a single location

4. The characteristic ingredient(s) used in the food are sourced locally, where seasonally available in the required quantity





The term “Farmhouse” or similar terms that create an impression that a food originates on a farm e.g. “farmer’s choice” should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal principles governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have all of the following characteristics:


1. The food is made in limited quantities

2. The food is made in a micro-enterprise

3. The food is made in a single location on a farm

4. The characteristic ingredient(s) used in the food has been sourced locally, where seasonally available in the required quantity.


It is acknowledged that there are certain foods that have used the term ‘Farmhouse’ for many years to mean that the food has a rustic look or a coarse or a chunky texture. Such terms used on these specific foods are well understood by the consumer and therefore the term ‘farmhouse’ may continue to be used on the following foods even if they do not have the four characteristics specified above:


  • Bread with a split and rounded crust with or without flour dressing
  • Soup made with coarse cut or chunky vegetables
  • Paté made with a coarse texture


In addition a derogation is also necessary for fresh pasteurised milk and cream since these are short shelf life products where processing occurs close to the farm within a short time period. Although the use of the term ‘farmhouse’ to describe these products would not be acceptable the use of the term ‘Farm Fresh’ has been associated with such products for a number of years and may continue to be used.






The term “Traditional” conveys a sense of continuity and an impression that a food is made in a time honoured way or to a time honoured recipe. The term ‘Traditional’ or similar descriptions using this term should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have one of the following characteristics:


1. The food is made to an authentic recipe which can be proved to have existed without significant modification for at least 30 years




2. The food has been made using a method of preparation that has :


  • Existed for more than 30 years although automation and mechanisation of these methods is acceptable.
  • Does not deviate substantially from the original food processing method associated with a certain type of food.


The term ‘natural’ or variations on this term (e.g. naturally better, natural goodness) that give the impression that a food exists in, or is formed by, nature – should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to meet all of the following criteria:
1. The food is formed by nature and is not significantly interfered with by man
2. The food is additive free or contains no artificial additives, colours or flavours other than flavourings that are natural as defined in European law and other food additives that are obtained from natural sources (e.g. plants) by appropriate physical processing (including distillation and solvent extraction) or traditional preparation processes.
Finished foods that do not meet criteria 1 but are comprised of raw ingredients prior to processing that meet criteria 1 and 2, should not themselves be described directly or by implication as “natural”, but it is acceptable to describe such finished foods as “made from natural ingredients”
The use of the term ‘natural’ has sometimes been restricted by law and in other cases has become synonymous with a certain type of product. In these specific cases the term ’natural’ may continue to be used on products which may not meet the two characteristics listed above. The following foods fall into this restricted category:
  • “natural mineral water”: Can only be used on water that meets the requirements of Directive 2009/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters.
  • Foods that meet the conditions allowing use of the word ‘natural’ or ‘naturally’ before the certain nutritional claims as specified in Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods.
  • Dairy products that have, for many years, included the term ‘natural’ to indicate that the dairy product is manufactured only from milk using only the starter cultures necessary for fermentation and are free from other ingredients, additives, flavourings and colours, e.g. :
“Natural yoghurt” : plain unflavoured yoghurt
“Natural fromage frais” : plain unflavoured fromage frais
“Natural cheese” : plain unflavoured cheese

The Draft Code of Practice was developed for consultation by a working group consisting of the FSAI, Food and Drink Industry Ireland, the Artisan Forum and the Consumers Association of Ireland.
The consultation will run for 8 weeks and the Closing Date for Responses is 14th May 2014.
All Irish Food Producers and all others with an interest in this should download the full text of the Draft Code of Practice of Marketing Terms on the FSAI website HERE.


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The hunt is on for Ireland’s Top Foodie Town 2014

The Restaurants Association of Ireland in conjunction with Admailer.ie from An Post, are on the search for Ireland’s premier foodie destination. Is your town Ireland’s Top Foodie Town?



Towns and communities from all over Ireland are invited to battle it out to be named Ireland’s Top Town for a Foodie Experience.

The judges are looking for towns that actively promote themselves through food festivals, gourmet trails, farmers’ markets and great dining experiences.

Does your town have an established local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses? Do you know what plans are there for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level?

Communities across the country are urged to get together with local businesses, foodie groups, Chambers of Commerce and other working groups to submit their applications and promote their area to both local people and visitors.

The Prize!
  • The winning town will be crowned ‘Ireland’s Foodie Town 2014’ and will receive a prize package worth €5,000 combining an Admailer.ie postcard marketing package and mentorship from senior An Post marketing executives to help raise the profile of the town.
  • Nine runners up will each receive an Admailer.ie prize package to value of €500 each.
Deadline for Applications is Wednesday, April 9th 2014. 
Ten chosen finalist towns will then receive a visit by the judges which are comprised of Independent Assessors, a representative from the Restaurants Association of Ireland & a representative from An Post.
A national public voting campaign will also be held with each of the ten finalists canvassing the country to vote for them.

The Judging Process

Stage One

  • Complete & submit an Application Form online or download and email your Application form
  • There are seven areas of criteria to be judged on, each carrying a weighing percentage to total 100%.
  • The application must be submitted by a minimum 3 businesses/working groups together.
  • Deadline for Applications is Wednesday, April 9th 2014.
  • All applications will be reviewed and a shortlist of 10 finalist destinations will be announced.

Stage Two

  • The ten finalists will be subject to a pre-arranged visit to the town by the Judges comprising of Independent Assessors, a representative from the Restaurants Association of Ireland & a representative from An Post.
  • A national public voting campaign will also be held with each of the ten finalists canvassing the country to vote for them.
  • The final decision will be made by combining the judges’ votes with the public vote that carry equal weight – both components account for 50% of the overall mark a town receives.

Click HERE to Enter Your Town Today!

The winner of ‘Ireland’s Foodie Town 2014’ will be announced on June 9th
at the finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards.


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Myrtle Allen, the Mother of Modern Irish Food, celebrates her 90th Birthday

Today we celebrate the 90th Birthday of one of Ireland’s best known chefs and the founder of Ballymaloe House & Cookery School – Myrtle Allen.

Myrtle Allen, the mother of Modern Irish Food
In 1962, Myrtle’s love of cooking got her a job as Cookery Correspondent with the Irish Farmers Journal and in 1964 she opened The Yeat’s Room Restaurant at Ballymaloe House in Co Cork. In doing so, she founded Ireland’s best loved catering dynasty.

Along with her then sous-chef, Darina O’Connell, now married to Myrtle’s son Tim Allen, Myrtle started giving courses in cooking and the now famous Ballymaloe Cookery School was born. Myrtle always believed in using the freshest seasonal ingredients and in letting the natural flavours of food speak for itself. This is the cornerstone of the Ballymaloe restaurant and their cookery school teachings to this day. The school is now run by Darina. Top lecturers at the school include brother Rory O’Connell and her daughter-in-law, TV Chef Rachel Allen.
Myrtle’s restaurant at Ballymaloe House also celebrates 50 years in business this year
In 1986 Myrtle Allen was asked to help found Euro-toques International and was also the founder-member of Euro-toques Ireland. Euro-toques is an organisation of professional cooks promoting & protecting Europe’s culinary heritage, and defending the quality of local and carefully cooked food.
Many of Ireland’s top chefs and restaurateurs learned their trade at the apron-strings of Myrtle Allen and her style of cooking is the backbone of what is now called “Modern Irish” food. Her contribution to the artisan food movement in Ireland has been crucial to it’s continued development.
Myrtle is considered by most to be the matriarch of modern Irish food and her family continue to encourage and teach a new generation of cooks and chefs at her beloved Ballymaloe.
It is very fitting on this, her birthday, that Mrs Allen is bestowed with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Food Writers Guild at their annual award ceremony held at l’Ecrivain restaurant on Baggot Street, Dublin, where Michelin-starred chef Derry Clarke creating stunning dishes with the award-winning ingredients.
Happy Birthday Mrs Allen and best wishes from all your Irish Food lovers and admirers!

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WIN an Keogh’s Shamrock Crisps Hamper for St Paddys Day 2014

Tom Keogh, managing director of Keogh’s Family Farm is passionate about potatoes! “We are the only potato growers in the world who offer fresh potatoes and potato crisps from the same farm side by side in the same store and we sleep, eat, breathe potato crisps and potatoes!” he says.




The family have been growing potatoes in north county Dublin for over 200 years. The city of Dublin has grown around the farm over the years!



In 2012 the Keogh Family launched the world’s first-ever shamrock flavoured food delight: Hand-cooked Shamrock and Sour Cream Irish potato Crisps. The flavour for these was developed with the “Living Shamrock” company in Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry, who have been producing fresh shamrock for the American President since 1952. The crisps have a slight Lemon/Peppery taste almost like freshly picked watercress which is expected as Shamrocks are related to that plant family.



I’m delighted this year to be once again associated with Keogh’s Farm in having a Hamper of their famous Crisps to Give Away in time for this year’s St Patrick’s Day!




To WIN this yummy Hamper simply LIKE the Keoghs Facebook Page – WordPress readers will have to go to the main Irish Food guide website competition page to enter at:


Click the LIKE button and Leave a comment to Enter the Competition

Note: Prize is a hamper of crisps and does not include decorations or shamrock!

The competition will Close on Wednesday 12th March and hopefully you will get the Hamper in time for St. Patrick’s Day (but not guaranteed – it’s depending on the winner’s location.)

Best of Luck to all!


UPDATE – WINNER - And the Winner is….. Catherine Cinnamond (Get in touch with us with your address)

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