“The milk, cream, and butter in Ireland regularly set me dreaming,” writes Corby Kummer in The Atlantic, who also swoons over our farmhouse cheeses and brown bread. And who can blame him? “For sheer quality of ingredients,” he says, “it’s hard to eat better in Europe than in Ireland.”
Photo courtesy of Sheridans Cheesemongers
The 5,000 people who descended on the Sheridans Cheesemongers warehouse in County Meath on Sunday no doubt would have agreed with Corby. There was plenty of cheese on offer at the second annual Sheridans Irish Food Fair, not to mention David Tiernan’s raw milk, which has developed something of a cult following, and, yes, brown bread. Corby would have been in his element.
Other world-class Irish products were also for sale, like Jack McCarthy’s black pudding, smoked salmon from the Burren Smokehouse, balsamic apple cider vinegar from David Llewellyn and traditional boxty from The Boxty Bakers to name just a few. There were also free workshops on making boxty, Irish wild foods, making fresh black pudding, raw milk, Dexter beef and cooking Irish lamb. To make it family friendly, the kids were kept happy with free face painting and bouncy castles and promises of ice cream from Burkes Farm or cupcakes from The Flying Baby Cake Company. Throw in some sunshine and live trad music, and you’ve got a great day out.
Glebe Brethan (left), Boyne Blue (right) and Smoked Carrigaline (front)
The only problem with a food fair like Sheridans’ is that no matter how much cash you bring, there’s so much to tempt you that it’s never enough. Our own haul included five cheeses (Bellingham Blue, Boyne Blue, a smoked Carrigaline, Glebe Brethan and Knockdrinna), some of Jack McCarthy’s legendary black pudding, smoothies from Kilbeg Dairy, bratwurst from Ed Hick and a lovely bottle of wine. We also couldn’t resist the 3 for €6 offer at Aine’s Chocolates and picked up some lime, toffee butterscotch and coconut bars, which I promptly hid from the kids as soon as we got home (they’re still working their way through their Easter eggs, so I don’t feel guilty about hoarding the good stuff).
But my prize buy of the day, the one I specifically got to the fair early for because I was afraid they might run out, was Ed Hick’s bacon jam. I was raging when I discovered another fiver hidden in my wallet the next day — I could have bought one more jar!
If you missed the annual Sheridans Irish Food Fair, you can try to make it to their Harvest Festival on Sunday, September 4th, where everything will be produced from within a 50-mile radius. Or you can visit their warehouse on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when they hold a weekly farmers’ market. I certainly won’t be waiting until next year to make a return visit.