4 to try: Irish artisan food and drink products
The Irish Food Writers’ Guild announced its 2016 awards earlier this month, acknowledging those who create, make and share great Irish food and drink produce and products. These are the winners...
Mossfield Organic Milk
Ralph Haslam grazes a herd of 80 cows on limestone pastures at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains in Co Offaly. You may already be familiar with his full-flavoured Mossfield cheddar-style cheese, which itself won an award from the IFWG back in 2007. This is a rich and creamy milk that tastes like milk used to, before the days of mass-production. The milk is not skimmed or homogenised, just pasteurised and distributed nationwide in as fresh and natural a state as possible. Look out for Mossfield yoghurt and buttermilk too.
Wild Irish Foragers
Sharon and Gordon Greene farm cattle in Co Offaly, and have developed a separate business hand-harvesting their hedgerows and fields. They produce a range of syrups, jellies and sauces made from wild ingredients including elderberries and elderflowers, rosehips and rowanberries.
Kirsti O'Kelly arrived in Ireland from her native Finland in 1999, and missed Nordic pickled herrings. In 2013 she launched Silver Darlings, producing traditional herrings with a contemporary twist, using her grandmother's recipes. All the herrings used by O'Kelly are sourced from a small Killybegs producer, and the ingredients are natural. Mild wine vinegars break down the bone and act as a backdrop to the aromatic spices and fresh herbs. Try Fennel and Tarragon with pink peppercorns, or Star of the Sea scented with star anise, cumin and lemon.
White Gypsy Russian Imperial Stout
Brewer Cuilan Loughnane produces this stout in a traditional style, but with the non-traditional drinker in mind: it's a beer designed to be served in restaurants as a good value local alternative to imported wine. The flavours are complex, with hints of roasted chocolate and burnt malt.
* Joe Fitzmaurice of Riot Rye Bakehouse & Breadschool in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary was acknowledged for a Special Contribution to Irish Food, while Rod and Julie Calder-Potts of Highbank Organic Orchards in Co Kilkenny received the Environmental Award.