Words: Aoife McElwain
We use Christmastime as a chance to gorge ourselves silly. One of our favourite ways to do this is to sit in front of the fire with a giant cheeseboard between the telly and ourselves. Here’s our to build a perfect Irish cheeseboard in 5 delicious steps.
1) Pick up a fancy new cheeseboard at Makers & Brothers & Others’ pop-up shop at Fumbally Exchange on Dame Lane. Second-generation stonemason Eric Byrne creates stunning cheeseboards from indigenous Irish stone coming in at around €135 per piece. Or head to the website of Carlow-made Bunbary Boards (www.bunbaryboards.com) and get one of their stunningly unique boards from under €50.
2) Head to Sheridan’s Cheesemongers on South Anne St. to stock up on some of your favourite Irish cheeses. We are obsessed with the stinky, semi-soft Cow’s milk of Ardrahan and wouldn’t have a cheeseboard without it. We also love to see a bit of Gubbeen, Durrus, Bellingham blue and Hegarty’s cheddar.
3) Pick your crackers and chutney. We’re really into Ditty’s smoked oatcakes or Sheridan’s brown bread crackers both of which can be picked up at Sheridan’s Cheesemongers or any good food shop. We’re pretty crazy about Big Red Kitchen’s Apple Jelly (bigredkitchen.ie), which is available in Fallon & Byrne.
4) Decide what you’re going to drink. Wine is the go to choice (and our go to choice for wine is The Corkscrew on Chatham St.) but don’t underestimate the pairing potential of Irish craft beer when it comes to your cheeseboard. 8 Degrees Brewing Metalman’s Pale Ale works especially well with semi-soft cheeses like Adrahan, while a blue cheese loves a stronger flavoured beer like Dark Arts Trouble Brewing and particularly sharp cheddars work well with a cider such as Stonewall. Have a look at www.eightdegrees.ie for further details on farmhouse cheese and craft beer pairing.
5) Let the gorging begin.
Foodie Books for Christmas…
It has been a ripe year for Irish cookbooks with mouth-watering publications from Lilly Higgins, Donal Skehan and beautiful books from bloggers like Rosanne Hewitt-Cromwell and Nessa Robbins.
If you’re looking for an Irish cookbook to add to your food-loving loved ones pile under the tree this Christmas, we would recommend the following:
The Irish Book of Beef by Pat Whelan
This Tipperary butcher’s second book highlights the diversity of Irish beef – and really gets our taste-buds going in the meantime. www.jameswhelanbutchers.com
Chapter One: An Irish Food Story by Ross Lewis
These taste buds fine Irish dining have created a stunning book that highlights some of the best of Irish produce and some of the best dishes you can produce with it. www.chapteronerestaurant.com
Like Mam Used To Bake by Rosanne Hewitt-Cromwell:
This blogger is pretty much obsessed with Christmas and has a tale or two to tell about Christmas puddings and what to do in a Christmas cooking emergency. Pick up her book at www.likemamusedtobake.com
Looking for last minute foodie gifts? Try…
Salt & Pepper Bots (€15)
Available at Designist on George’s Street, these little guys will make you want to season your food all the time. shop.designist.ie
Enamels from Rua Dublin (from €2.95)
This little treasure trove on Capel Street stocks beautiful homewares without the steep price tag. We love their enamel range and especially their red and white camping mugs. www.ruaboutique.ie
Keogh’s Christmas Crisps
Any crisp enthusiast would love to find a packet of Keogh’s Roast Turkey and Secret Stuffing crisps into their stocking. Pick up a few bags for the holiday season in specially selected shops.
A Taste of the Season
Nothing says Christmas to us more than wrapping our gloved hands around a cup of David Llewellyn’s hot spiced apple cider available every Saturday in Temple Bar food market. Find out more about David Llewellyn in our soundbite section.