The green Island of Ireland has for centuries produced high quality food for Irish people. This food has been appreciated by distant onlookers for years.
Well, there is no need to admire these products from afar anymore as they are beginning to emerge in our local stores and online around the U.S. - and just in time for the Christmas season.
Here's some great examples of high quality Irish food and drink products currently on the rise in the U.S.
First up is Irish Burren Smokehouse Salmon. The Burren Smokehouse, a family-run business set up over twenty years ago by Birgitta and Peter Curtin, is famous for its high quality organic and premium oak smoked Irish salmon.
Located close to the world famous Burren in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland, Burren Smokehouse is renowned worldwide for its incredibly high quality salmon, which is smoked to perfection over oak shavings, for a mild, delicate flavor and melt in the mouth texture.
Burren Smokehouse has won various awards including "the great taste awards", thus reinforcing its positioning as a premium high quality salmon priducer.
From my perspective, Ireland is indeed the source of some of the finest salmon in the world. We are now giving American consumers the opportunity to taste the great flavor of Burren Smokehouses artisanal oak smoked salmon and Burren Smokehouse products are now available in Dean & Deluca stores nationwide. For more information check go to www.burrensmokehouse.ie or follow the evolving story on twitter @BurrenSalmon.
Burren Smokehouse salmon is a perfect complement to a semi-soft cheese, so it's a good idea try it with Kerrygold's Cashel Blue cheese. For more recipes ideas go online to www.burrensmokehouse.ie.
This cheese was developed in 1984 and is Ireland's original artisanal blue cheese. It's the creation of the
husband and wife team of Jane and Louis Grubb. The cheese is made entirely by hand on the Grubb family farm near Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland. This acclaimed cheese won gold at the World Cheese Awards in 2006 and 2010.
Like all Kerrygold dairy products, only milk from cows that graze on Ireland's luxuriant pastures is used, and no artificial growth hormones are allowed. The majority of the milk used to make Cashel Blue comes from the pedigreed Friesian dairy herd on the farm.
Cashel Blue is semi-soft and a voluptuously creamy cheese. It has a round, full flavor and slight blue tang. This cheese ages beautifully and the flavors become more pronounced over time.
Kerrygold Cashel Blue is perfect in a salad, on its own or introduced into a tasty dish. For more information on Kerrygold Cashel Blue, visit www.kerrygoldusa.com or for further recipe ideas go to www.cashelbue.com.
Originating from the small town of Bailieboro in County Cavan and inspired by the mythical Irish muse at the heart of countless Celtic poems and songs, Molly's Irish cream will be sure to warm your senses over the festive period.
As winner of the gold medal award from the beverage testing institute, Molly's is truly a delicious blend of fresh Irish dairy cream and the finest aged spirits. With a smooth, gentle and yet wonderfully intricate character, Molly's enhances those moments shared with friends and family.
Cú Chulainn Irish Whiskey
Cú Chulainn, named after Ireland's greatest mythological hero and distilled by the global award winning Cooley distillery in County Louth, produces an incredibly smooth Irish whiskey. With a pleasant floral sweet oak aroma, and a complex fresh sweet vanilla taste, you are left with soft oak and lingering sweet malt finish as the elegance of the taste softens.
Matured for a minimum of four years in American bourbon oak casks, the result is this exceptionally smooth Irish whiskey which is full of character, full of integrity, and fully inspired by the legend that is Cú Chulainn. Esteemed by whiskey drinkers, this Irish whiskey can also be enjoyed as an aperitif, alongside a meal, or as an after dinner drink due to its smooth elegant finish.
Breda Maher and her husband Jim began making cheese in 1986 on their beautiful farm in Thurles, County Tipperary. All the milk used comes from the Maher's own herd of 200 pedigree Friesians which the family have built up over generations. Daru, which is a semi-hard, pasteurized cow's milk cheese, is known for its robust and earthy hints of celery and mushrooms. Gleann Oir is also a semi-hard cheese with a distinctive chalky texture.
Gleann Oir is made with goat's milk and has a very different taste and appearance to cheeses developed from cow's milk. Both cheeses are a welcome presence on cheese boards and a great complementing ingredient in a variety of recipes. You can find a range of Irish cheeses in Dean & Deluca and Murray's Cheese which also provides mail order to many states outside New York. for more information visit www.irishfarmstead cheese.com.
Flahavan's Oatmeal is Ireland's leading oatmeal brand, established in 1785. The sixth generation, family-owned company is Ireland's oldest privately owned business and truly is the porridge that Ireland has grown up with. This delicious oatmeal is now available in the U.S. and can be purchased in most major U.S. retailers. Available in three varieties, Steel Cut, Quick Cook Steal Cut and Rolled
Oats there is an oat for everyone. Learn more about the Flavahan's family and their historical mill in County Waterford by connecting with us on Twitter @Flahavans_USA and our Facebook Page @Flahavans-USA.
Lily O' Brien's
Lily O'Brien's Chocolates started life as the brainchild of Mary Ann O'Brien who, having recovered from a debilitating illness in the early 1990s, discovered her true passion for all things chocolate.
Embarking on a journey of discovery, Mary Ann honed her chocolate-making skills working with world class chefs and chocolatiers in both South Africa and Europe before starting her own mini enterprise from her County Kildare kitchen in 1992. She did so with little more than two saucepans, a wooden spoon and her then toddler, Lily who acted as production manager.
Mary Ann began to create high quality chocolate recipes for friends and family. Not satisfied with the scale of her enterprise she soon expanded in the hope of positioning excellent Irish chocolate on the world map. Naming the company after her daughter Lily seemed like the most natural thing to do at the time and since then Lily O'Brien's chocolates has established itself as one of Ireland's best-loved chocolatiers.
Lily O'Brien's has now started to sell its unique range of chocolates in New York City. In March 2009, they opened their flagship Irish Chocolate Café and Retail Store in the heart of Manhattan's beautiful Bryant Park district.
You can join the growing number of wonderful Lily's fans by dropping into the Lily O'Brien café and enjoying one of their famous milk or dark hot chocolate drinks made from their secret recipe. Lily O' Brien's are confident it will be one of the greatest treats you will give yourself this winter in New York City. You can also visit their website to download a complimentary hot drink invitation at lilyscafenyc.com.
O'Hara's Craft Beer
Seamus and Kay O'Hara began making O'Hara's range of craft beers in 1996, in Bagenalstown, County Carlow. Their business began as a quest to make flavorsome brews as there was little choice offered by the large beer companies that dominated the market. O'Hara's were one of the first craft beers to kick off the micro-brewing revolution in Ireland.
O'Hara's range includes a full bodied stout and a traditional Irish red ale and can be enjoyed in a host of bars across New York City. The range is also available in selected retailers in a number of U.S. states.
Seamus O'Hara, the brewery's founder, is passionate about quality.
"We have gone back to basics and brew our beers as they used to be brewed with natural ingredients and no artificial additives. We believe this leads to a superior quality product with robust body, taste, flavor and aroma," he says.
You can check O'Hara's out at www.oharasirishstouts andales, or on Twitter at oharasbeers.
Susan Weldon is U.S. Marketing Advisor for Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.