Christmas gift guide: What to buy the foodie in your life

Seeking inspiration for some food-related Christmas presents? KATE RYAN has some great ideas - all in the best possible taste!
Christmas gift guide: What to buy the foodie in your life

The Spoon and Scallop Ultimate Private Experience is a cookery class run by Michelin-starred chef Celeste Pianezzola

HO, Ho... How can it be Christmas already? Dear reader, it feels like only yesterday that I was writing my annual guide for festive gift-giving for the foodie in your life!

But I am back with another clutch of simply brilliant Pure Cork goodies to make life easy.

Kinsale Spirit Co, ‘The Triumvirate’, €20, www.kinsalespirit.com

The trio of Irish whiskeys produced by Kinsale Spirit Co are inspired by three earls who fought in the Battle of Kinsale, with each whiskey treated to a triple cask finish.

Red Earl Blended Irish Whiskey is a combination of ex-bourbon-barrelled grain Irish whiskey and ex-sherry triple distilled malt, matured for 45 months and finished in ex-Rioja casks.

Great Earl Single Grain Irish Whiskey is a combination of Rechar-barrelled grain Irish whiskey and virgin oak grain, matured for 45 months and finished in ex Sangiovese casks.

Spanish Earl Single Malt Irish Whiskey starts ageing in ex-Bourbon casks for four years then is split into two finishing casks: ex Imperial stout and ex aged golden Jamaican rum. The two triple-distilled malt Irish whiskeys are then recombined after at least 3 months apart and bottled.

Full bottles available online, or The Triumvirate gift selection includes a trio of miniatures of each whiskey. Perfect for whiskey connoisseurs.

Kinsale Mead Co, Limited Edition Barrel-Aged Mead, from €29.95 www.kinsalemeadco.ie

Ireland’s only commercial meadery based in Kinsale keep winning awards for their barrel-aged meads and their enticing layers of flavour and complexity to their small batch honeyed elixirs.

A Kinsale Mead Christmas Gift Box from 2019
A Kinsale Mead Christmas Gift Box from 2019

The Atlantic Dry Mead (white) is aged in ex-Sauternes and ex-White Port barrels, and their Wild Atlantic Mead is aged in Merlot barrels.

This trio of exceptional meads are available direct from Kinsale Mead as individual 70cl bottles, or as full-range hamper.

Putting the Wine Cork into Cork

Did you know Cork is awash with wine? From Thomas Walk Vineyard in Kinsale, who grows the grapes that go into their small-batch estate red and white wines, to the incredible apple wines produced by Nohoval Apple Wines and Killahora Orchards in Glounthane.

These creative and surprising drinks make a great gift for those looking for the next new thing in Irish wine.

Thomas Walk Vineyard: www.thomaswalk-vineyard.com

Nohoval Apple Wines: www.nohovalapplewine.com

Killahora Orchards: www.killahoraorchards.ie

Badger & Dodo Discover Series, €27.50, www.badgeranddodo.ie

Badger & Dodo have released an exciting new way to appreciate coffee with their Discover Series. Coffee lovers learn more about their beloved brew with a focus on three examples in each series.

Series one looks at three different processing methods: natural, washed and anaerobic. Series two will focus on the Arabica coffee varietal, series three the difference between estate or region.

Each series contains three 105g tins of whole beans for €27.50.

Second Street Bakeshop, Chocolate Toffee Brittle, from €7.50, www.secondstreetbakeshop.com

Influenced by a popular toffee brittle treat sold in San Francisco, Claire Keane’s Second Street Bakeshop handmade delicious chocolate toffee brittle comprises buttery toffee slabs coated in smooth velvety Belgian chocolate and topped with fresh Atlantic Sea salt. Flavours include milk chocolate sea salt, dark chocolate sea salt, milk chocolate hazelnut, dark chocolate mint and non-dairy, plant-based dark mint.

Second Street Bakeshop gift boxes start at €30 for four bags of brittle (milk, dark, hazelnut and peppermint), or the €40 box includes two party-sized bags (milk and dark chocolate), a four-piece box of fresh cream salted caramel milk chocolate truffles and a candle.

English Market Hampers

The English Market is the place to go for a taste of Cork in a hamper or gift set. This year, English Market gift vouchers can be purchased at any stall for use on any stall, from €10.

The Roughty Foodie €25-€160

The Roughty Foodie’s ‘Pure Cork’ gift basket is jam packed with the very best of Cork goodies to gift to friends, corporates, or anyone who loves Cork!

For a real taste of the market, add smoked salmon, spiced beef, or a bottle of bubbly. These show-stopping hampers are available in small, medium or large, and with fabulous choice there is truly something for everyone.

On the Pigs Back - from €55

On The Pig’s Back helps you bring the bites to the ball with their Artisan Food Hampers featuring their award-winning pâtés and charcuterie, a wide selection of cheeses, chutneys, crackers, Irish chocolates, biscuits, and a nice bottle of French wine.

Shop online and avail of nationwide delivery www.onthepigsback.ie.

Mr Bell’s - Pinch Pots Spice Gift Sets - from €10

Spice up the festivities with Mr Bell’s range of Pinch Pot spice gift sets with handcrafted seasonings, spiced mulled wine mix, essential Christmas spices and hampers all available in the market and online www.mrbells.ie.

Hederman Smoked Salmon - €7 to €150 www.frankhederman.com Since 1982, Belvelly Smokehouse have produced their exceptional hot and cold smoked fish, fine smoked salmon, smoked eel, mackerel, haddock, mussels, butter, and spices. At Christmas, customers from Ireland and around the world enjoy the tradition of eating and gifting cold smoked salmon.

O’Tuama Tours - Private Buffalo Farm Experience, €150pp, www.otuamatours.ie Ever wanted to know how Buffalo Mozzarella is made? Dorothy O’Tuama is the only official tour guide for a unique buffalo farm tour experience at Lynch’s farm in Macroom. During a three-hour private tour, learn about the buffalo and how they have settled into life in Ireland, watch a buffalo mozzarella masterclass, taste farm fresh produce, and enjoy a specially prepared lunch.

The perfect gift for someone who adores unique food experiences.

Cork Michelin Experience (Prices and availability vary, book online.) Cork is home to four one-star Michelin restaurants - each one with their own unique cookery style, ethos and culinary influences. Book a surprise reservation at Ichigo Ichie (Cork city), Bastion (Kinsale), Restaurant Chestnut (Ballydehob) or Dede (Baltimore) and enjoy seasonal food on ever changing, evolving and exquisite menus.

Spoon & Scallop, Ultimate Private Chef Experience www.spoonandscallop.ie Michelin-trained Cork-based private chef, Celeste Pianezzola and her partner, Dave Humphreys, are offering gift vouchers for purchase that can be exchanged for a range of ultimate gourmet experiences. A cookery lesson to learn the art of making sushi, a cocktail masterclass, or the experience of a private chef catering your very own dinner party with friends, Spoon & Scallop vouchers can be used against any of these luxurious experiences.

Vouchers are available at €75pp increments. Contact Celeste to discuss your gifting requirements at hello@spoonandscallop.ie or call 083 892 9808.

Farmsy.ie Christmas Gift Boxes (local and nationwide delivery) www.farmsy.ie Give the gift of local, organic produce from Farmsy.ie, the online grocery store that is home to the most exciting, dynamic food producers across Cork. Now, their delivery service is nationwide so you can give the gift of beautiful Cork produce to friends and family wherever in Ireland they may be!

Chose from vouchers (starting from €25) or a range of their grocery gift boxes - Steak and Spuds (from €60) featuring beautiful organic Dexter beef; Smokehouse Favourites (from €89); or Farmsy Christmas Gift Box (€60) featuring meats and cheeses from Gubbeen Smokehouse, smoked fish, apple juice, chocolate, dips and more.

Hungry Crow Chocolate Truffle Selection Boxes, from €12.30, www.hungrycrow.ie Niamh O’Reilly crafts her exquisite handmade truffles from a 72% cacao Peruvian couverture that is dairy-free and vegan friendly. Deeply luxuriously flavoured truffles include salted caramel, almond, hazelnut and pistachio, raspberry and chocolate. Choose from selection boxes of one variety of truffle or a collection of all four flavours in boxes of twelve or eighteen truffles.

Cookery Books There’s something different in the air when it comes to the cookery books of 2022. Food publishing in Ireland is at an exciting time, and this years’ titles reflect that.

Blasta Books, Seasons 1 & 2, €15 each, €50 for a season, www.blastabooks.com Blasta Books are Irish-made, small-format, 60-page, quarterly released books with illustrations not photos that have taken the food publishing world by storm!

The first season, (Tacos, Hot Fat, United Nations of Cookies and Wok), have all been released now with the second season of Blasta Books recently announced, (Soup, Tapas, Wasted and Masarap), published from January 2023.

Ballymaloe Desserts, JR Ryall, Phaidon Press, €49.95 The book that lifts the lid on the world-famous Ballymaloe Dessert Trolley, its iconic recipes and the stories that inspired them. Ten years in the planning, this is Ryall’s first book and an instant classic. Cult recipes that work and beautiful photography.

Bake, Graham Herterich, Nine Bean Rows, €25 Another debut: this time by Heterich, aka The Cupcake Bloke. This beautifully designed and written book is an homage to his love of baking and the women who inspired it - his mother and grandmother.

But this isn’t a book of old-fashioned recipes. Herterich takes classics, loves them, shows them off, then serves a modern remix using flavours at home in today’s kitchen.

More Midweek Meals, Neven Maguire, Gill, from €19.99 Gone are the long languid hours spent nursing complicated dishes to life that was the mainstay of two pandemic years. Life has ditched the new normal and returned the old normal of busy weeks and overpacked schedules. Neven’s sequel calmly reminds us we can still cook tasty, nourishing food despite it all. Packed with easy to follow and achieve, mouth-watering recipes.

The GIY Diaries, Michael Kelly, Gill Books, €24.99 Self-effacing and thoroughly inspiring, Kelly returns with a book of collected memories, stories, mishaps and adventures in GIY-ing over two decades of growing his own food in a day-by-diary and guidebook navigating the joys of a successful veg patch. A few seasonal recipes are thrown in for good measure, and Kelly makes everything seem possible.

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