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The Best Irish Food Finds of 2012

2012 was a great year for Irish Food! People all over the country have been taking what was originally a hobby or pastime and have been creating new small food businesses with some wonderful results. These new food producers are evident at the many farmers markets, country markets and food festivals all over Ireland, north and south of the border.

Existing small food companies, with assistance from their County Enterprise Boards, have been expanding their business, employing people and gaining more recognition for their products at a growing number of Irish Food Awards ceremonies.

Restaurants are changing their attitude and are getting away from the one-stop-shop attitude of commercial purchasing. They have been getting hands-on with local growers and producers, often making a financial input to the development of a local new food business. This is generating a pride within the restaurateurs as they finally become aware of the fact that they too are a vital part in the chain of events that can help to grow and nurture new local food businesses.

Chefs all over the Ireland are driving this new food awakening by insisting that the food they now serve from their kitchen reflects the local produce of their own region as much as possible. This is helping to create a more honest food culture among Irish people, as the market-stall produce again becomes a part of our weekly shopping.

Established and well-travelled Irish food champions such as Darina Allen, John & Sally McKenna, Georgina Campbell, Peter Ward, Good Food IrelandThe Sheridan family, and others, have been enormously important in creating today's awareness about the passionate producers in our midst. A new generation of Irish chef's, restaurateurs, food writers and the ever-growing Irish food blogging community have learned much from these original food gurus. Their continued dedication to promoting Irish food is, in turn, encouraging a new generation of food producers to get back to basics.

Bordbia, the Irish Food Board, has been instrumental in helping Irish food producers get their product to market and especially to the export market. Irish Food has undergone a phenomenal growth in exports over the last year and our reputation abroad, for our quality food, is second to none. This is something we all should be proud off, especially in the current financial climate.

This can be a great time to start a food business. If you have passion and belief in what you are doing and in the produce you are making,  as the old saying goes: "People will taste the effort you put into it!"

My Twitter request for great "food finds of 2012" went out on the 28th December 2012 with 3 further retweets over the following few days:

I didn't give the request a push on Facebook this year as I believe I've got enough varied replies from across the Irish Food network via Twitter. From all the replies I have put together a fairly well balanced representation of some of the wonderful foods that people have discovered, for the first time, during 2012. Some of the foods are from producers who are already established or growing brand names. Some others are just getting started on their way. 

Do please note that these are not my choices. They have been sent in by Irish Food lovers around the country who have discovered a new flavour or food and loved it. 

Congrats to all who are included in the list. Again this year, one name came up more often in your replies than any other. We'll save that one till last! 

So here with full contact details, in alphabetical order and as voted by Irish Twitter Foodies, are...

The Best Irish Food Finds of 2012

Food Product       Producer               Contact Details

  • Annascaul Black Pudding

Annascaul Black Pudding Co., Annascaul, Co Kerry,

Tel: 066 9157127 - Thomas Ashe

  • Arun Bakery Artisan Bread

Arun Bakery, SPADE Centre, Nth King Street, Dublin 7

086 244 3193 - Vlad Rainis

  • Atlantic Spirulina  Sea-Veg seasoning

Quality Sea Veg. Co., Burtonport, Co. Donegal

+353 (0)74 – 9542159 - Manus McGonagle

  • Bellingham Blue Cheese

Glydefarm Produce, Mansfieldstown,
Castlebellingham, Co Louth

Tel: 042 937 2343 - 087 277 8538 – Peter Thomas

  • Boyne Valley Blue Cheese

Boyne Valley Blue, Mullagha Farm, Slane, Co Meath

Michael Finnegan

  • Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil

Broighter Gold, Limavady
BT49 9DY, Northern Ireland

Tel: 07912076607

  • Burkes Farm Ice Cream

Burkes Farm, Tara, Navan, County Meath

046-9025232 or 087-9532656
Bernie and John Burke

  • Carraig na Breac Smoked Duck

Carraig na Breac Smokehouse, Drumshanbo Co Leitrim

087 240 4289 - Peter and Niamh Curry

  • Cathy’s Spelt Bread Mixes

Cathy’s Spelt for Health, Riverside Business Centre, Tinahely, Co.Wicklow

Tel: 00353 (0) 402 28912  - Cathy Whitty

  • Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bread 

Cloughjordan Wood-fired Bakery, Cloughjordan Eco-Village, Co. Tipperary

Tel: 085-182 2777 Joe Fitzmaurice

  • Corleggy Cheese

Corleggy Cheese, Belturbet, Co Cavan

Tel: 049 9522930 Silke Cropp

  • Curraghchase Free-Range Pork

Rigneys Farm, Curraghchase, Kilcornan, Co.Limerick

Joe and Caroline Rigney

  • DeBrun Crab Claws

DeBrun Iasc Teo., Ballinaboula,  Dingle, Co. Kerry

Ted and Hannah Mae Browne
Tel: 066 9151933

  • Donegal Rapeseed Oil

Donegal Rapeseed Oil Co., Raphoe, Co Donegal

00353 (0)74 9145386 – Thomas Hughes

  • Highbank Orchard Syrup

Highbank Organic Orchard
Farmley, Cuffesgrange
Co Kilkenny

Tel: +353 56 7729918 - Rod Calder-Potts

  • Imokilly Regato Cheese

Dairygold Food Ingredients Ltd., Mogeely, Co Cork

Tel: 021 –4667220

  • Irish Waygu Beef

James Whelan & Sons Butchers, Clonmel
Co. Tipperary & Avoca Foodmarket, Monkstown
Co Dublin

Clonmel: 052 6182477
Dublin: 01 6638924
Pat Whelan

  • Kilree Cheese

Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese Co., Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny

Tel: +353 (0)56 7728446 - Helen Finnegan

  • Lannléire Honey

Lannléire Honey, Trean, Dunleer, Co. Louth

Eoghan MacGiolla Coda - Tel: 041 6861884

  • Lavistown Cheese

Knockdrinna Farnhouse Cheese Co., Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny

Tel: +353 (0)56 7728446 – Helen Finnegan

  • Longueville House Cider

Longueville House, Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)22 47156  - William O’Callaghan

  • Moran’s Basil Pesto

Moran’s Homestore, Ballinagh,Co.Cavan

Phone: 049-4367556  Kieron & Claire Moran

  • Old Farm Free-Range Pork

Oldfarm, Redwood, Lorrha, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Tel: 086 8100 125 – Margaret & Alfie O'Farrell

  • Rhubarb & Elderflower Jam

Inishowen Home Baking, Drumaville, Malin, Co Donegal

Tel: 086 0840633 - Janine Strong

  • Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream

Suzanna at Zwartbles Ireland

  • Slow Food Co Artisan Bread

Slow Food Co., Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal

Kemal Scarpello - +353(0)749156777

  • St Tola Goats Cheese Ash Log

St Tola Cheese, Inagh, Co Clare

Tel: +353 (0)65 68 36633 - Siobhan Ní Ghairbhith

  • Tastefully Yours Beetroot & Orange Chutney

Tastefully Yours - Dunhill, Co Waterford

Norbert Thul and Audrea Hassett - (051) 396 590

  • The Whole Hoggs Free Range Pork

The Whole Hoggs, Slane, Co Meath

Peter & Susan Whelan - Tel: 086 2708809

  • Toons Bridge Buffalo Mozzarella

Toons Bridge Dairy. Old Creamery, Macroom, Cork

Tel: 026 41471 - Jenny-Rose Clarke

  • Wicklow Gold Nettle & Chive Cheese

Wicklow Gold Farmhouse Cheese, Curranstown, Arklow, Co Wicklow

Tel: 0402 91713 - John and Bernie Hempenstall

And the most mentioned "#BestIrishFood " of 2012 is...
Trout Caviar from Ger & Mags Kirwan

Trout Caviar from Ger & Mags Kirwan

Launched at the start of March 2012, Goatsbridge Trout Caviar has taken the Irish food scene by storm. Caviar is processed, salted fish roe or eggs and is regarded as a luxury food delicacy and ancient gourmet treat. There are several types with the best-known form of caviar coming from a fish called a 'Sturgeon'. But trout caviar has grown in global popularity in recent years.

“Trout caviar is good enough to eat off the spoon. It has large, golden-orange beads and a subtle flavour with a nice ‘pop’ when you bite into it," says Mags Kirwan of Goatsbridge "and have been very heartened by the response from the restaurant and food sector here so far.”

Trout Caviar by Ger & Mags Kirwan from Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Kilkenny

For more details on Goatsbridge Trout Caviar see

Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Tel: +353 (0)86 818 8340 
You can follow them @goatsbridge on Twitter

Thanks to everyone who sent in their special food finds of the year. 
Happy New Year to all.

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