“There is no sincerer love than the love of food”, George Bernard Shaw.
If there is something that must be told about as a part of Irish experience, well it got to be traditional Irish food. Traveling to Ireland for a couple of weeks may be not enough to fully experience Irish cuisine, but having internship, studying, or working in the country, gives you good couple of months to dig into Irish foods deeper. A good advice here would be not hit the Italian or Mexican touristic restaurants but actually try to find places locals enjoy the best. We are speaking about those small local coffee shops, cafes, and bistros, where the best Irish cuisine is being served.
It is so different, delicious, and special; what should you start with first?
Every country has its traditional food every international should try when traveling there. For Ireland, they are colcannon and champ. When it may seem to you that you already had it after getting to know what it consists of, well Irish colcannon and champ are still different. Because even if the ingredients are the same, the atmosphere and settings you have when eating it in Ireland, still make it unique! Colcannon and champ are both traditional Irish foods made of mashed potatoes. Colcannon is usually include mashed potatoes, butter, cabbage, and salt with pepper. It is served with either boiled ham or Irish bacon, which makes this dish so rich in flavour. Champ is another irish traditional food, which is pretty similar to Colcannon and is made up of mashed potatoes being blended with green onions and butter. Yummy!
The meal time cannot be ultimate without something sweet. As any other countries, Ireland has its special treats, which help internationals enjoy irish experience to the fullest. Barmbrack is one of those Irish foods without which any celebration is not a celebration. Literally, during Halloween, coins or rings are baked in homemade bread, and the one from family members who finds any of the items, will have a fortune. Usually, this Irish pastry is made with raisins and sultanas, and is loved to be toasted with butter over a cup of tea. Additionally, this is a great gift for your parents of friends when coming back home from Ireland, because it is so great to bring something that would add a flavour to your Irish experience story!
Another traditional Irish food you must try is Boxty. This meal will for sure not leave you hungry afterwards! Boxty is Irish style potato pancakes, which are topped with different toppings. They are great with corned beef, sauerkraut, cheese, or even bacon. They do sound and look delicious, but when you taste them, it should be a special moment of your Irish experience. There are three different kinds of Traditional Irish Boxty: Pan Boxty, Loaf Boxty and Boiled Boxty, which are basically named after their method of cooking. They are best served when just cooked and hot from the oven ( as Loaf Boxty, for example).
It does not matter how much you love baguettes or just the simple bread for a breakfast, you will always find some place in your heart for a traditional Irish soda bread. There is an old soda bread recipe in every family that is being passed from generation to generation. You can find it in old cookery family books written on a small piece of paper, which is so old that it got its brown color. The pastry is made with the simplest ingredients even poor families could find in their kitchen long time ago: flour, baking soda (used instead of yeast), soured milk to moisten and activate the soda, and salt.
Even though ireland has many bakeries the varieties of pastry can be purchased, today traditions still carry down. The aroma and taste of traditional soda bread is unique to Ireland, and it is loved by both locals and tourists. You will be lucky to try it if you live with hosting family in Ireland, but if you don’t, local bakeries still have some of those for sale.
As September comes closer, both tourists and locals are looking forward to attending Galway Oyster Festival. There people taste lots of different shellfish food and enjoy a truly wonderful atmosphere of Irish hospitality. Shellfish in Irish cuisine got its own special place as no matter which dish you want to try, it is going to be incredible. Do not search for super expensive places to enjoy Irish shellfish, but try to ask locals for the a good place they love going to, and you will end up in a small but totally cozy place with a good food and reasonable prices!
This list of delicious Irish treats would not be complete without salmon, either smokes or baked. It is delicious anyway. Even though wild salmon is rare in Ireland, you can still find it on local restaurants’ menus. The best months for finding it is from April to June; it can be served with either soft pasta and lemon sauce or new potatoes and parsley.
We hope that your experience in Ireland is wonderful!
Do you know any other traditional Irish food internationals must try? Share in comments!