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All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

The genius of Cheesemaking, Part 1: 25 years of CAIS

25 Years of Cais: Speech at Cashel, November 2008

It is such a privilige to be asked to say something to mark 25 years of CAIS.
For almost 20 years of those 25 years, my wife and I have been writing about cheesemakers, writing about those who have succeeded, and who today enjoy what we might call luxury brand status, but also writing about others who endeavouerd but who, for a host of reasons, have not survived:


The Genius of Cheesemaking, part 2

There are many delicious questions to be answered when it comes to the Xmas dinner table.
This year, will we get the smoked salmon from the Burren Smokehouse, or the Connemara Smokehouse? The turkey from Gary Crocker’s farm in Wicklow? The pud from Nash 19 in Cork, or from Country Choice in Nenagh?
But maybe the toughest question is: what cheeses do we want on the Xmas cheeseboard this year?

Eating Polish in Dublin

Caroline Byrne unearths a Polish gem with true home-style cooking in Dublin.

Gospoda Polska Polish restaurant
15 Capel Street,
Dublin 1
T: 01 8749394

On my first visit to this quaint little Polish restaurant on Capel Street, I knew that this was going to become one of favourite restaurants in Dublin full stop.

Our Playlist

Music review

Well, you didn't ask. But, had you asked, we would have said: well, this is our playlist at this present moment...

Dusty in Memphis, Dusty Springfield (Philips)

d'Amore, Garth Knox (ECM)

Playground, Manu Katche (ECM)

Masters of Tradition, Various artists (RTE Lyric fm)

Lorraine at Emmanuel, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Avie)

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Foo Fighters (RCA)

Legend, Townes van Zandt (Charly)

Gubbeen White Pudding

Tom Ferguson

Friday morning, Bantry market, and Sebastian at the Gubbeen stall has something new – these guys always have something new! But here are some Gubbeen savoury puddings, both a black and a white pudding. So, we ask for a piece of white pud, which is shaped in the small horse-shoe shapes we love, but which are becoming less common these days.

La Calza del Cuoco


We are enjoying a rather neat food lover's Xmas present from Carluccio's in Dublin.
La Calza del Cuoco is a beige stocking with a red and white stripe that contains a packet of pasta cut in Xmas tree shapes, a jar of tomato sauce with black olives, and a wooden spoon: lovely. And lots more pretty gift ideas where that came from also.

Char grilling at Avoca

Matt Murphy

Avoca's Fern House Café in Kilmacanogue, County Wicklow, is now opening for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Matt Murphy and Giorgio Ramano are heading up the kitchen, so you can expect the cooking to have solid Avoca senders with washes of Italian accents.

The X-factor


There are many things that make Christmas christmassey.
The things that put the X in Xmas
The kids's school plays.
The smell of cloves in a hot whiskey.
Making the tree with the children.
Driving home from school after the last day of the school year.
And the Terroirs window, in Donnybrook.
Just look at it. Doesn't it give you a warm glow.
And that's even before you get inside.

The Law of Diversity

The Law of Diversity

From the moment we switch on the radio first thing in the morning, we are enduring a diet of non-stop economics. More accurately, and more importantly for our mental health, we are enduring a diet of non-stop economic woe, which has been building up steam not just for the last twelve months when Northern Rock put the fear of God into Irish savers, but for the last three years, ever since the first fissure lines began to appear in the US sub-prime debacle.

Bucking the Recession in Fermoy

Excuse me, all you happy Friday lunchtime eaters in Fermoy's Juniper restaurant, but there is a recession going on.
As we speak, Citigroup is going down the tubes. Ireland's banks are worth less than a kid's LEGO set. The credit crunch is now more painful than an Elizabethan torture on the rack.
And you don't care, do you? You have found the secret of Bucking the Recession: give me good food at good prices, and let the recession go hang.


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