The big Cork Foodie Gift Guide 2020

KATE RYAN gives us the low-down on what gifts to buy for the food-lover in your life
The big Cork Foodie Gift Guide 2020

Dan Linehan of Shandon Sweets on John Redmond street

SHOPPING local is more important than ever this year as small, independent businesses need your support, and with so many now offering online shopping and home delivery, it’s easier than ever to #supportlocal.

In this year’s Foodie Gift Guide, I have gathered a selection of wonderful gifts — and not just food! There are also food crafts, craft drinks, GIY and gourmet escapes too — something for everyone and every kind of budget, and exactly what the foodie in your life would love.

Robert and Bhagya Barret of Rebel City Distillery. later this year.
Robert and Bhagya Barret of Rebel City Distillery. later this year.

Craft Drinks

Housed in the old Ford factory at the Port of Cork, Rebel City Distillery is the first distillery in Cork city for nearly 50 years. Founders Robert and Bhagya Barrett launched Maharani Gin flavoured with pomelo, mace and nutmeg sourced from a women’s organic farming co-operative in Kerala, west India, where Bhagya hails from. €49 www.rebelcitydistillery.com

The team behind Kinsale Spirit Co unveiled plans for a new distillery in Kinsale for 2021 as well as the first of a new range of craft Irish whiskey bound to stories of Irish legends. Red Earl Irish Whiskey, based on the legend of Red Hugh O Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell, is first aged in bourbon, then sherry and finally matured in Rioja casks. €39 www.kinsalespirit.com

Kate Dempsey and Denis Dempsey of Kinsale Mead Co.
Kate Dempsey and Denis Dempsey of Kinsale Mead Co.

Ireland’s first commercial meadery, Kinsale Mead, launched a new series of 12-month barrel-aged crafted meads. Limited edition batches of white Atlantic Dry Mead have been barrel-aged for in White Port and Sauternes casks, while the Wild Red Mead matured in Merlot casks, adding intriguing structure and depth to the flavour profile of the mead. Kinsale Mead also offer online mead tasting sessions with a selection of four meads, tasting notes and a glass, makes this a great gift for friends. Mead, per bottle €27.95, Online Mead Talk & Tasting Kit €19.95 www.kinsalemeadco.ie

Cocktails were the saviour of 2020, and now finally we have craft mixers with which we can shake and stir our way to cocktail heaven. Foxglove Craft Cocktail Mixers are a new company fresh out of Baltimore offering their simply brilliant cocktails mixers in an ever-changing carousel of seasonal flavours as well as classics too. Each comes with notes on what spirit to pair it with and garnishes for that pro look to your glass. Variety packs available too. Various prices. Available online, Neighbourfood and Skibbereen Farmers’ Market. See www.foxglovecocktails.ie

Eight Degrees Brewing are once more partnering with Badger and Dodo coffee roasters for their limited-edition stocking filler gift pack, which includes two 440ml cans of Eight Degrees IRISH MUNRO Series releases and a 250g bag of Badger & Dodo’s iconic Blackwater Blend coffee. €14.95 www.eightdegrees.ie/shop

Loose Leaf tea shop. Picture: Emma Olivia Dorman
Loose Leaf tea shop. Picture: Emma Olivia Dorman

Tea & Coffee

Multiple award-winning Velo Coffee Roasters are offering monthly and twice-monthly subscription options. Choose from their Blas nah Eireann award-winning beans, rotating single origin or blend or their mystery selection, just select a flavour profile preference and duration of subscription. From €10.50-€28.50 www.velocoffee.ie

If you love tea but need less caffeine, the selection of hand-blended herbal teas from master herbalist and nature rebel April Danann is just for you. A huge selection of organic herbal tea blends that can support everything from calming the mind, detoxing and immune boosting blends. A special range is presented in stainless steel tea caddies, including a Christmas Tea blend. Herbal Tea Gift Tin, €8.99, www.aprildanann.com

You’ll be spoilt for choice at Loose Leaf Tea, Cork’s leading independent tea merchant. Beautifully presented gift boxes of tea, such as the Irish Tea Gift Set, or a modern and elegant selection of tea ware from matcha tea kits, Chinese tea sets, tea pots and cups. Various prices. www.looseleaf.ie

Hampers

A huge selection of hampers this year indicate this will be the go-to gift for everyone! Just a small selection here of what is on offer right across the county.

Rebel Chilli, purveyors of award-winning chilli-based condiments, have curated a hamper of their range — just in time for livening up those turkey and ham sambos! The Rebel Chilli Hamper includes: Red Sweet Chilli with Lemongrass and Ginger, Green Sweet Chilli with Lemongrass and Ginger, Jalapeno and Raspberry Jelly, Hot Habanero Relish, Chillionaire and Barrel Aged Hot Sauce. €33, www.rebelchilli.com

Sage 2 Go in Midleton is the new pop up store created during the pandemic and proving wildly popular ever since. Supporting only local, in line with Sage’s original 12-Mile ethos, Sage 2 Go Bespoke Hamper Service is available for local collection only, stuffed full to the brim with incredible produce, including items from the Sage At Home range too. From €30-€200 www.sagerestaurant.ie

The Nash Bespoke Christmas Hamper surely has legendary status by now! Clare Nash spends all year planning what to include in the hamper, ensuring a considered and thoughtful approach to every single item placed within, many of them handmade by the Nash19 team or carefully sourced by producers Clare knows and champions, all carefully packaged up with ribbons and bows. From €160 to the ‘Showstopper’ €465 www.nash19.com

At the heart of Clonakilty’s Creative Quarter is Green Dot Design, a treasure trove of local arts and creative design. This year, proprietor Lisa Tongue is offering Custom Artisan Food Gift Boxes online. See www.greendotdesignshop.com

Michael Twomey of Twomey's butchers.
Michael Twomey of Twomey's butchers.

Craft butcher, Michael Twomey (Bantry, Bandon, Macroom) Meat Gift Boxes are a great alternative gift idea for anyone who is a BBQ wiz or a devout carnivore. It also makes for a practical gift to someone close to you who may be cocooning over Christmas, or support someone feeding their family this year. Priced from €19.95 for The Breakfast Cracker hamper to €185 for a Premium Hamper. www.mtwomeybutchers.ie

Last minute panic buying? Head directly to The Roughty Foodie at the English Market and allow Margot Ann to sort you out with a made to order hamper full of delights from around Cork! Enquire at stall or call 021 2417063.

Get Active

Give someone you love something to look forward to by booking onto a Coastal Foraging Tour with Kinsale Food Tours. Forage and identify edible, wild shellfish, seaweed and plants and how to cook with them too. An outside activity conducted in pods of family or close friends in small numbers means that guide Suzanne Burns has all safety bases covered. It’s even dog friendly too! €60pp, minimum booking 2 people www.kinsalefoodtours.com

 Tony Linehan, and his father Dan of Linehan Sweets (Shandon Sweets) on John Redmond street, near Shandon.
 Tony Linehan, and his father Dan of Linehan Sweets (Shandon Sweets) on John Redmond street, near Shandon.

Sweet Things

Dan and Tony Linehan of Shandon Sweets have been handmaking traditional boiled sweets to a 120-year old family recipe. Based on John Redmond Street in Shandon, who wouldn’t want to open a box full of these beauties on Christmas morning? €10 for Gift packs of assorted sweets.

Diva Boutique Bakery in the sleepy village of Ballinspittle creates audacious cakes and sweet treats. This year, the Christmas Cookie Box is a new addition to their seasonal shop, alongside handmade Christmas Cakes, Bouche Noel and their ever-popular Mince Pie Make-at-Home Kits. And in a seasonal Diva- inspired two-fingered salute to Coronovirus, Shannen has created a limited-edition luxury hamper around the limited edition F**k Covid-19 Amarone della Valpolicella wine. Cookie Box €30, F**k Covid-19 Luxury Hamper €100 www.divaboutiquebakery.com

Brown Envelope Seeds, Ireland's leading supplier of organic seeds, based in Cork.
Brown Envelope Seeds, Ireland's leading supplier of organic seeds, based in Cork.

Al Fresco Living

Brown Envelope Seeds, Ireland’s leading supplier of organic seeds, offers delightfully considered Seed Gift Boxes for the avid GIY-er. From seeds that will grow into vegetables suitable for Baby’s First Dinner, to Peas on Earth, Irish Heritage Vegetables and more beside. From €10-€20 per box www.brownenvelopeseeds.com

2020 was the year we all absolutely nailed al-fresco dining, from backyard barbecues to picnics on the beach. Up your al fresco game for 2021 with the Go Anywhere Portable Gas Barbeque. Lightweight enough to carry down to the beach and safe to use with no hot coal ash to content with, it’s perfect for staycations, daycations and even Cork-cations! From The Pavillion Garden Centre. €169 www.thepavilion.ie

Basket maker Rosemarie Kavanagh, of Wildrose Basketry. Picture: Darragh Kane
Basket maker Rosemarie Kavanagh, of Wildrose Basketry. Picture: Darragh Kane

Crafts & Kitchenalia

Now that butter is no longer a crime against humanity, butter dishes became the surprise must-have kitchen accessory of the year! The simple and elegant design of the butter dish from Dunbeacon Pottery in Durrus is on my wish list this year, but why stop there? Plates, cups, jugs and more in the soft washed tones of Dunbeacon-ware are all beautiful too. Butter Dish €30 www.dunbeaconpottery.com

Wicker work has never been more popular and chic; and as foraging is here to stay, a hand-made wicker basket is the ultimate accessory. As well as being beautiful, sturdy and made to last, it is an eco-friendly way of carrying produce gleaned from foraging or the weekly farmers market visit. Wild Rose Basketry takes commissions for handmade baskets (note a lead time of 4-6 weeks is required), and, as restrictions permit, founder, Rosemary Kavanagh, hosts basket making workshops in West Cork and West Limerick in groups or on a one to one basis. Courses: from €50 - €95 pp, one-on-one tuition €140. www.wildrosebasketry.ie

Anne Harrington Rees’ bold botanical designs have been gaining much attention this year. While most of us could only hope to have the kind of cathedral-like interior space for one of her spectacular wall hangings, her creative design can be enjoyed around the table with her range of table runners and tea towels. Table Runners €75, Tea Towels €14 www.anneharringtonreesdesigns.ie

The original Fisherman’s Smock from Woodcock Smokery is the perfect all-purpose garment for time spent in the kitchen, the garden, making arts and crafts or for just lazing around in! Made from 100 tough cotton in either rusty red or navy blue. €69 www.woodcocksmokery.com

Dunowen House Ardfield, the former house of Jimi Hendrix. 
Dunowen House Ardfield, the former house of Jimi Hendrix. 

Vouchers

All of the gift providers listed above are also offering gift vouchers, but consider these too!

Orla McAndrew pivoted her catering business when lockdown cleared out her order book, providing Gourmet Hampers and Freezer Meals. Now she is also offering vouchers to exchange for any of her services, including, when we can gather safely again, catering services for celebrations and events. www.omcatering.ie

The former home of Jimi Hendrix lead guitarist, Noel Redding, Dunowen House does classical luxury with a rock’n’roll edge in the heart of West Cork. Book a voucher for a future Gourmet Break away with up to 30% discount on midweek breaks for the private rental of this stunning property in a family group or bubble. Prefer to dine in? Book the private catering services of co-proprietor and Ballymaloe trained cook, Kela Hodgins. Check website for current availability and rates. www.dunowenhouse.ie

Live like a lord in the midst of the historic Blackwater Valley and book a Bed & Bertha stay amongst the wonderful old-world charm of Ballyvolane House. Enjoy a two-night stay in a double room in the main house with full Irish breakfast, a four-course dinner in the dining room on both nights and a bottle of award-winning Bertha’s Revenge Gin, made in the on-site distillery, to take home. €385 check website for availability www.ballyvolanehouse.ie

Donate

Lastly, consider gifting to a good cause. Cork Penny Dinners offers a vital free service to those who need it. Donations are always welcome, more so this year. Make a donation online at www.corkpennydinners.ie

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