There is nothing like a good kitchen shop to gladden the heart of the keen home cook, and now - just in time for Christmas, when kitchen equipment is tested to its limits and last year's roasting tray doesn't look as if it will be up to the job - the South Dublin village of Blackrock has one of the capital's very best, with the opening of Triggerfish a few weeks back.
Triggerfish, named after the colourful tropical fish (known for their bite) that owner Bob Toal ate on a trip to Florida's Panhandle, is dedicated to cookware, kitchenware and tableware.
The smart interior design is by Dublin-based DUA Architects and features a subtle nod to the triggerfish. (DUA also designed Blackrock's favourite coffee shop, Bear Market.)
I dropped in a couple of weeks ago and came away laden with oven gloves, steel bowls and clever coconut fibre dish brushes that look a whole lot smarter than the usual plastic versions and are very efficient too.
Toal says that the focus of his shop is on quality, function and design, and that he will feature a seasonally revolving range of products from around the culinary globe. The shelves are also laden with kitchen staples, pots and pans, bakeware, glassware, storage, cooks' tools, gadgets, cookbooks and chef knives, many of which would make ideal gifts for kitchen obsessives.
Many of the brands, including Mauviel's copper cookware sets, Kai Shun's Damascus steel knives from Japan and Skagerak's beautiful Danish wood cutting boards, are not available anywhere else in Ireland. The knife section is particularly impressive.
Toal is also keen to give a platform to Irish designers and artisans, and there is a wedding registry service.
Toal, for whom the shop is a long-held dream, is an enthusiastic home cook whose travels - he's visited Japan, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Lebanon and Peru - have inspired his culinary thinking and enabled him to pick up on global food cultures, cooking styles and eating trends.
Triggerfish, 2b Main Street, Blackrock, Co Dublin. (01) 442 5182 triggerfishcookshop.ie
Christmas can be hard for coeliacs to navigate, but the hampers at Unglu-d's pop-up shop in the Royal Hibernian Way off Dawson Street in Dublin might help. Open seven days a week from now until Christmas, you can choose from a range of Irish brands and special seasonal food items.
GREEN & RED GOURMET
Rua in Castlebar, Co Mayo, has a range of hyper-local seasonal hampers. The Best of the West (€60) includes Rua's raspberry jam, chutney and coffee, Knocknarea honey, Velvet Cloud's Rockfield cheese, Wildwood vinegar, Clo's Chocolate, Achill Sea Salt and Achill smoked salmon. caferua.com