YOU would be amazed at the gifts I receive at Christmas time that come with the preamble of “I never know what to get you…”
In theory, I should be the easiest person in the world to buy for — I’m a foodie, a food lover, a connoisseur of fine food and drink. If all else fails, buy me a hamper full of delicious things to eat. Failing that, literally any of these would make a perfect gift for any foodie in your life (including me, hint hint)! So here is my knockout Food Lovers Gift Guide... for any kind of budget!
Getting Boozy With It!
Purveyors of fine wines, Bubble Brothers, offer personalised bottles of great quality Champagne for €50. Perfect for all lovers of the fizz! Purchase in store at the English Market, or online www.bubblebrothers.ie
Book a Cork Whiskey Walk!
Spend a few hours walking through the historical streets of Cork City with an expert whiskey guide.
Sample a variety of great quality whiskey in some of the city’s best loved hostelries. Walks includes nibbles too, just to take the edge off! Pick a date and book online, or purchase a gift voucher, www.corkwhiskeywalk.ie, €58.
Spend a day with Cork’s very own mistress of wild fermentation, April Danann. Ferments such as her oak-barrel aged Apple Cider Vinegar and Herbucha are famed for their amazing flavour and health giving properties.
From her apothecary’s workshop on her farm in West Cork, April delivers Fermentation Masterclasses packed with information and knowledge for all abilities and experience.
Gift Vouchers for her day-long course in Wild Fermentation can be purchased online.
An artisan coffee roasters subscription is the gift that just keeps giving — every morning for a whole year!
Tony Speight of West Cork Coffee offers a subscription for either six months or a year and will even throw in a bonus package to say thanks!
Coffee from different countries, farms and varietals will be posted every month complete with tasting notes.
Alternatively, book a Coffee Roasters Experience at the roastery to learn all about the art of controlling the roast to bring out distinct flavour profiles of coffee. Coffee subscription from €70; Roastery Experience €150. www.westcorkcoffee.ie
Learn barista skills with a course at the Barista Academy in Bandon. Part of Java Republic, this newly opened Barista School is running its Bronze Level Course again in January and February. Book before the end of 2018, and take advantage of a substantial discount: €50 instead of €80! Book via email or by phone baristaacade firstname.lastname@example.org / 086 130 0895
Shandon Sweets are the only manufacturer of handmade boiled sweets in Cork. They are located next door to Shandon steeple and welcome visitors to their gate — ring the bell and enter into a real life Willy Wonka’s world of delicious sweets. Hampers available from €25 and look out for their special offers posted on their Facebook page too. www.shandonsweets.com, 021 4507791.
Decadent, pillowy mounds of joy, marshmallows are one of life’s great comforters! The Marshmallow Factory hand-make theirs and are naturally vegan-friendly too. Their Marshmallow Toasting Gift Set comes complete with three flavours of mallows, bamboo toasting sticks and a portable burner. Available online, €15 www.themarshmallowfactory.com
Life really is like a box of chocolates if you give the gift of a Clonakilty Chocolate subscription! Receive four handcrafted bars and a box of seasonal chocolates every month for six months. Working directly from the bean, using diabetic friendly alternative natural sweeteners and with a vegan friendly option available too, what’s not to love? www.clonakiltychocolate.com.
Sheridan’s Cheesemongers have just opened a new outlet in Cork city at Dunnes flagship store at Bishopstown Court.
Sheridan’s have a great hamper selection for all budgets starting from just €10 to €95. Add a copy of their magnificent book Sheridan’s Counter Culture Guide to Cheese for €19.95. Or sign up for their Cheese Club (€120 to €420 for three to 12 months). www.sheridanscheesemongers.com
What’s your Beef?
Another newcomer to Cork is James Whelan, Craft Butcher, and he has a great gift idea for your favourite carnivore! A James Whelan Beef Bond entitles the holder to a share in one of their acclaimed Hereford, Angus or Wagyu Cattle. The Beef Bond will provide a veritable hoard of meaty goodness such as Roasting Joints, Steaks, selection of Braise/Slow Cook Cuts, selection of Steak Mince & Steak Burgers, Offal, marrow bones and some great stock bones. €100 to €150 purchase online at www.jameswhelanbutchers.com
As usual this time of year, so many to choose from, but these have caught my eye…
Darina Allen — Simply Delicious, the Classic Collection: 100 of her best recipes from her Simply Delicious cookbooks. €24.99.
James Kavanagh & William Murray — The Currabinny Cookbook, is a great selection of weekday easy and weekend challenge recipes from the duo behind the Currabinny Supper Club. €22.99
DJ BBQ – The Burger Book: The only burger cookbook you will ever need for any kind of foodie from hard core carnivore to vegan, for cooking inside or outside. €15 (pre-order)
Nigella Lawson – How to Eat, republished for its 20th anniversary, this well respected book is so much more than the sum of its recipes.
Samin Nosrat – Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, not a new book, but the recent hype around the Netflix series based on Samin’s book means it’s well worth adding to the ‘want list’ if you don’t already have it.