A culinary journey through Ireland
For years, the reputation of Irish cooking was anything but epicurean. Times have changed and, particularly in restaurants, Irish cuisine shows a certain spirit of invention. Irish stew is still there, but it might share the menu with duck with peaches, chicken with asparagus, mussels with every conceivable sauce and many other dishes with enticing flavors.
For lunch, you'll find plates of smoked fish, composed salads and a wide variety of sandwiches, sometimes that you make yourself.
A favorite "after pub" food, when your stomach starts to growl, is fish and chips, doused with vinegar and wrapped in paper.
Above all, don't neglect Guinness which, as the old ad said, "is good for you." Legend even holds that is made with pig's blood. But be assured, that's just a rumour - just like Guinness is breakfast food! You'll also find Guinness in numerous dishes, such as beef braised in Guinness.
A traditional Irish breakfast consists of 2 sausages, a slice of bacon, baked beans in tomato sauce (although not always), a grilled half tomato and an egg. There are variations: mushrooms, hashbrowns, white or black pudding, and sometimes even salmon. It all comes with toast, and is said to be the best remedy for the excess of the night before. It's also a great bargain. At its best, it will set you up for the day... but delicate stomachs might want to abstain!
Dinner is traditionally served early (7 p.m.). After 8:30, you might have trouble finding a restaurant open.
Traditional Irish bread.
Boxty is a traditional potato dish, celebrated in the rhyme.
Champ is a simple warming dish which is cheap, easy to produce and very filling.
This is a very popular dish, especially in Dublin, and has been so for many years. A stew of bacon and sausage.
To the Irish, ham is a cured leg of pork.
Coffee and Hot Whiskey.
the traditional lamb and potato stew.
These are also known as Scotch Pancakes, especially in the north.
Porter is a type of dark Irish beer, not now as widely available as it once was.
Also known as potato cake or potato bread, this is very much a northern dish.
Lemon and Vanilla Curd Cake
Curds were once an important part of the Irish diet.
The Irish pub is an age-old institution that has made few concessions to the modern age. Orders are made and paid for at the bar. At noon, pub lunches, consisting of cooked dishes and sandwiches, are available.
What to drink? It is said that Ireland is a country where one abstains from everything, except drink. Irish whiskey (spelled with an e) is more delicate, fruity and balanced than whisky. The best among the well-known affordable whiskeys are Blackbush and Jamieson 12 year old. Like whisky, whiskey is made from malt and aged in oak casks. Irish coffee is simply coffee with Irish whiskey and whipped cream.
When it comes to beer, the specialty is stout, which includes Guinness, that robust black barley brew.
There is a liqueur made with four spirits and four aromatic herbs called Irish Mist. Others might prefer Bailey's Irish Cream, also made with whiskey. A new product is Sheridan's, similar in flavor to Bailey's, but black like Guinness. Poteen is a rough homemade spirit, distilled clandestinely in Ireland.
Finally don't forget Bulmer's, Ireland's best-known cider.
Bayley's irish cream
Hints & Tips