The Best Irish Food Finds of 2012

2012 was a great year for Irish Food! People all over the country have been taking what was originally a hobby or pastime and have been creating new small food businesses with some wonderful results. These new food producers are evident at the many farmers markets, country markets and food festivals all over Ireland, north and south of the border.

Existing small food companies, with assistance from their County Enterprise Boards, have been expanding their business, employing people and gaining more recognition for their products at a growing number of Irish Food Awards ceremonies.

Restaurants are changing their attitude and are getting away from the one-stop-shop attitude of commercial purchasing. They have been getting hands-on with local growers and producers, often making a financial input to the development of a local new food business. This is generating a pride within the restaurateurs as they finally become aware of the fact that they too are a vital part in the chain of events that can help to grow and nurture new local food businesses.

Chefs all over the Ireland are driving this new food awakening by insisting that the food they now serve from their kitchen reflects the local produce of their own region as much as possible. This is helping to create a more honest food culture among Irish people, as the market-stall produce again becomes a part of our weekly shopping.

Established and well-travelled Irish food champions such as Darina Allen, John & Sally McKenna, Georgina Campbell, Peter Ward, Good Food IrelandThe Sheridan family, and others, have been enormously important in creating today’s awareness about the passionate producers in our midst. A new generation of Irish chef’s, restaurateurs, food writers and the ever-growing Irish food blogging community have learned much from these original food gurus. Their continued dedication to promoting Irish food is, in turn, encouraging a new generation of food producers to get back to basics.

Bordbia, the Irish Food Board, has been instrumental in helping Irish food producers get their product to market and especially to the export market. Irish Food has undergone a phenomenal growth in exports over the last year and our reputation abroad, for our quality food, is second to none. This is something we all should be proud off, especially in the current financial climate.

This can be a great time to start a food business. If you have passion and belief in what you are doing and in the produce you are making,  as the old saying goes: “People will taste the effort you put into it!”

My Twitter request for great “food finds of 2012” went out on the 28th December 2012 with 3 further retweets over the following few days:

I didn’t give the request a push on Facebook this year as I believe I’ve got enough varied replies from across the Irish Food network via Twitter. From all the replies I have put together a fairly well balanced representation of some of the wonderful foods that people have discovered, for the first time, during 2012. Some of the foods are from producers who are already established or growing brand names. Some others are just getting started on their way.
Do please note that these are not my choices. They have been sent in by Irish Food lovers around the country who have discovered a new flavour or food and loved it. 
Congrats to all who are included in the list. Again this year, one name came up more often in replies than any other. We’ll save that one till last!
So here, in alphabetical order and as voted by Irish Twitter Foodies, are…
The Best Irish Food Finds of 2012
Food Product       Producer               Contact Details
  • Annascaul Black Pudding


Annascaul Black Pudding Co., Annascaul, Co Kerry,
Tel: 066 9157127 – Thomas Ashe
  • Arun Bakery Artisan Bread


Arun Bakery, SPADE Centre, Nth King Street, Dublin 7
086 244 3193 – Vlad Rainis
  • Atlantic Spirulina  Sea-Veg seasoning


Quality Sea Veg. Co., Burtonport, Co. Donegal
+353 (0)74 – 9542159 – Manus McGonagle
  • Bellingham Blue Cheese


Glydefarm Produce, Mansfieldstown,
Castlebellingham, Co Louth
Tel: 042 937 2343 – 087 277 8538 – Peter Thomas
  • Boyne Valley Blue Cheese


Boyne Valley Blue, Mullagha Farm, Slane, Co Meath
Michael Finnegan
  • Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil


Broighter Gold, Limavady
BT49 9DY, Northern Ireland
Tel: 07912076607
  • Burkes Farm Ice Cream


Burkes Farm, Tara, Navan, County Meath
046-9025232 or 087-9532656
Bernie and John Burke
  • Carraig na Breac Smoked Duck


Carraig na Breac Smokehouse, Drumshanbo Co Leitrim
087 240 4289 – Peter and Niamh Curry
  • Cathy’s Spelt Bread Mixes


Cathy’s Spelt for Health, Riverside Business Centre, Tinahely, Co.Wicklow
Tel: 00353 (0) 402 28912  – Cathy Whitty
  • Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bread 


Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bakery, Cloughjordan Eco-Village, Co. Tipperary
Tel: 085-182 2777 Joe Fitzmaurice
  • Corleggy Cheese


Corleggy Cheese, Belturbet, Co Cavan
Tel: 049 9522930 Silke Cropp
  • Curraghchase Free-Range Pork


Rigneys Farm, Curraghchase, Kilcornan, Co.Limerick
Joe and Caroline Rigney
  • DeBrun Crab Claws


DeBrun Iasc Teo., Ballinaboula,  Dingle, Co. Kerry
Ted and Hannah Mae Browne
Tel: 066 9151933
  • Donegal Rapeseed Oil


Donegal Rapeseed Oil Co., Raphoe, Co Donegal
00353 (0)74 9145386 – Thomas Hughes
  • Highbank Orchard Syrup


Highbank Organic Orchard
Farmley, Cuffesgrange
Co Kilkenny
Tel: +353 56 7729918 – Rod Calder-Potts
  • Imokilly Regato Cheese


Dairygold Food Ingredients Ltd., Mogeely, Co Cork
Tel: 021 –4667220
  • Irish Waygu Beef


James Whelan & Sons Butchers, Clonmel
Co. Tipperary & Avoca Foodmarket, Monkstown
Co Dublin
Clonmel: 052 6182477
Dublin: 01 6638924
Pat Whelan
  • Kilree Cheese


Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese Co., Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny
Tel: +353 (0)56 7728446 – Helen Finnegan
  • Lannléire Honey


Lannléire Honey, Trean, Dunleer, Co. Louth
Eoghan MacGiolla Coda – Tel: 041 6861884
  • Lavistown Cheese


Knockdrinna Farnhouse Cheese Co., Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny
Tel: +353 (0)56 7728446 – Helen Finnegan
  • Longueville House Cider


Longueville House, Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)22 47156  – William O’Callaghan
  • Moran’s Basil Pesto


Moran’s Homestore, Ballinagh,Co.Cavan
Phone: 049-4367556  Kieron & Claire Moran
  • Old Farm Free-Range Pork


Oldfarm, Redwood, Lorrha, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
Tel: 086 8100 125 – Margaret & Alfie O’Farrell
  • Rhubarb & Elderflower Jam


Inishowen Home Baking, Drumaville, Malin, Co Donegal
Tel: 086 0840633 – Janine Strong
  • Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream


Suzanna at Zwartbles Ireland
  • Slow Food Co Artisan Bread


Slow Food Co., Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal
Kemal Scarpello – +353(0)749156777
  • St Tola Goats Cheese Ash Log


St Tola Cheese, Inagh, Co Clare
Tel: +353 (0)65 68 36633 – Siobhan Ní Ghairbhith
  • Tastefully Yours Beetroot & Orange Chutney


Tastefully Yours – Dunhill, Co Waterford
Norbert Thul and Audrea Hassett – (051) 396 590
  • The Whole Hoggs Free Range Pork


The Whole Hoggs, Slane, Co Meath
Peter & Susan Whelan – Tel: 086 2708809
  • Toons Bridge Buffalo Mozzarella


Toons Bridge Dairy. Old Creamery, Macroom, Cork
Tel: 026 41471 – Jenny-Rose Clarke
  • Wicklow Gold Nettle & Chive Cheese


Wicklow Gold Farmhouse Cheese, Curranstown, Arklow, Co Wicklow
Tel: 0402 91713 – John and Bernie Hempenstall
And the most mentioned “#BestIrishFood ” of 2012 is…
Trout Caviar from Ger & Mags Kirwan

Launched at the start of March 2012, Goatsbridge Trout Caviar has taken the Irish food scene by storm. Caviar is processed, salted fish roe or eggs and is regarded as a luxury food delicacy and ancient gourmet treat. There are several types with the best-known form of caviar coming from a fish called a ‘Sturgeon’. But trout caviar has grown in global popularity in recent years.

“Trout caviar is good enough to eat off the spoon. It has large, golden-orange beads and a subtle flavour with a nice ‘pop’ when you bite into it,” says Mags Kirwan of Goatsbridge “and have been very heartened by the response from the restaurant and food sector here so far.”
For more details on Goatsbridge Trout Caviar see
Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Tel: +353 (0)86 818 8340
You can follow them @goatsbridge on Twitter
Thanks to everyone who sent in their special food finds of the year. 
Happy New Year to all.

About - Zack Gallagher

Chef. Zack Gallagher. @IrishFoodGuide on Twitter. News about Food, Food Producers, Chefs and Irish Food Tourism, in Ireland. Food and Food Tourism Marketing at @IrishFoodTour. Irish Food Blogger and Journalist. Food Ambassador at @Failte_Ireland. Judge @BlasNahEireann Irish Food Awards #WildAtlanticWay
This entry was posted in best food finds 2012, best irish foods, food, ireland, irish, irish food, news, News & Stuff. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Best Irish Food Finds of 2012

  1. Grace G. says:

    Do they have to put Ireland's First? It's like announcing your first day at kindy or something. It may well be a first in commercial production but people have been eating trout eggs for a very long time and way before Goatsbridge Farm.

  2. Absolutely, Irish food is having big demand these days all over the globe because of its lovely and unforgettable taste. People from very far locations coming to Ireland just to get that spellbound taste.

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