I still remember the first time I had Hick’s sausages. I had just moved to Ireland and my husband and I were walking around Dublin one Saturday. We’d passed Magill’s deli on Clarendon Street and had walked a few paces past the open door before we literally stopped in our tracks when the smoky, meaty smell coming from the shop hit us. We promptly backtracked, popping inside to discover an Aladdin’s cave of food, including Hick’s sausages.
I never would have imagined that 10 years later, I’d be staying at the same B&B as Ed Hick himself up in Inishowen in County Donegal, chatting over breakfast, having watched him make fresh black pudding the day before at Inishfood (I also never would have imagined that I’d see a big yellow bucket of fresh blood being turned into black pudding).
Ed Hick’s homemade bacon vodka at Inishfood
At Inishfood, Ed brought a bottle of his homemade bacon vodka to share, which caused a stir (not least because we were knocking back shots of it at 10 in the morning). But that was nothing compared to the buzz he’s created with his bacon jam, or what food writer Corinna Hardgrave called “Ireland’s answer to foie gras”.
Ed Hick, the man behind the jam
It’s safe to say that Ed’s bacon jam was the smash hit success of Bloom. I snapped up my first jar at the Sheridans food fair and lost no time buying a second jar at Bloom before stocks ran out by Saturday afternoon. Just a couple weeks after launching it, it’s already developed something of a cult following, with people going on Twitter to bemoan their already empty jars.
Where the magic happens — the Hicks headquarters in Dún Laoghaire (photo courtesy of Hicks)
The bacon jam has it all — salt (from the bacon), sweet (onion, maple and sugar), sour (vinegar), bitter (coffee) and umami (slow-cooked meat), not to mention the hit on fat receptors from the bacon fat. This little jar packs a punch.
And now for the best part — Ed has a jar of bacon jam up for grabs as a giveaway! For a chance to get your hands on it, just leave a comment telling me how you would use it. Spread on toast and served with eggs? Dolloped on top of scallops? Eaten straight up with a spoon? The giveaway is open to residents of Ireland and the contest will close on Thursday, June 16 at 6:00 p.m. (update: congrats to Darren Bradley, winner of the bacon jam!)
In the meantime, you can find Ed and his range of sausages, and, of course, bacon jam, at the Temple Bar Farmers’ Market in Dublin on Saturdays from 10 a.m. till 4:00 p.m at the Essex Street West location. Bring your empty jar this Saturday (but get there early!) and Ed will even give you a free refill — good news for all the newly created bacon jam fans already hankering for more.