- On June 20, 2019
- In Food Culture
Is Cork the Food Capital of Ireland?
Is Cork the Food Capital of Ireland
Planning on visiting Ireland at some stage and are interested in food- who isn’t! Well if you are a foodie you must visit Cork – home of Irelands Artisan foods. On a recent visit to Ireland King Willem- Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands visited Cork. They took a boat down the river on the second largest natural harbour in the world, visited Cobh and Camden Fort Meagher in Crosshaven. At Camden, the best of Cork artisan produce was on display and organised by TasteCork. This author was delighted to be one of the co-ordinators of the food event.
What Foods is Cork Famous For
Cork is a county with a large coastline and plentiful clean water in the rivers, rich green grass producing milk, meats, fish and drinks produce. Cork is famous for Butter, Cheese, Spiced Beef, Whiskey and beer. The best place to see these products is in the English Market or at the best local restaurants.
Milk and Dairy Produce
Fresh pasteurised milk is available all over Cork city and county with milk made into Cheese, yoghurt, baby milk powder, and butter. There are small farmers making award-winning cheese such as Gubbeen, Milleens, Hegarty’s Cheddar, and Durrus Cheese. Toonsbridge Dairy make Cheese from goats, sheep and cows milk with Mozzarella, Scamorza, Caciocavallo, Halloumi and many more kinds of cheese as well as cultured butter. Butter is exported from Ireland by Ornua who are based in Mitchelstown in the heart of the ‘Golden Vale’ dairying area. The butter comes from the Co-operative creameries all over Co Cork – Dairygold, North-Cork Co-Operative, Bandon, Carberry – and is sold overseas under the one brand name since the 1960s. Small producers like Glenilen make butter on their own dairy farm.
The meats are important to the food industry in Ireland with Beef cattle, lamb, pork and venison produce available. Cork is famous for its Spiced Beef, which is served all year round in Cork restaurants. The traditional meal of Cork was tripe, drisheen and crubeens – all on sale in the English Market in Cork. Pork produce such as sausages and pudding are made all over the county with Clonakilty Black Pudding sold all over the country. McCarthys of Kanturk produces puddings and meat sold in the best restaurants in Ireland.
Vegetables & Fruit
There are many small vegetable growers in Cork but potatoes are the best-known crop. Ballycotton and Kilcrohane produce the first or early potatoes and there is a great demand for them each year. Potatoes of various types are available with Irish people preferring dry, flowery, smiling (bursting out of skins) potatoes. Salad vegetables are grown by small producers all over the county with carrots grown in the sandy soil on the coast near Clonakilty. Fruit crops such as strawberries are grown in Union Hall, West Cork. Some of the fruit crops are turned into jams and chutneys which are served with the local meats and cheese.
Cork has been famous for its drinks industry for over 300 years, with whiskey being exported from Cork harbour throughout the British Empire from the 1750s, along with butter and salted meats. Today Midleton is the centre of whiskey distilling with Jameson operating the largest distillery in Ireland. Their distillery tour is very popular. West Cork Distillers produce fine whiskey in Skibbereen. Gin brands include Blackwater Gin, Bertha’s Revenge Gin, Clonakilty Gin, and Beara Gin. Artisan producers of Cider and brandy are Longueville House who have 20 acres of cider orchards, best toured in May or September. Cork is also famous for its Murphy’s and Beamish stouts which rival Dublin’s Guinness and are preferred by the locals. There are many artisan beer producers with Blacks in Kinsale, Clonakilty and the West Cork Brewery. You are never far from a local Cork drink.
The Festival Co-ordinator
The Food Festivals
Cork is a big county in Ireland with three different food festivals and many smaller food events throughout the year. In May the OldButterRoads.ie holds a festival to celebrate the foods of North Cork, which is famous for its dairy produce. East Cork has FeastCork.ie in each year at the starts 1-8th September in 2019 and is from focused around the market town of Middleton. The largest food festival in Cork is ATasteofWestCork.com take place from 6 -15th September 2019 with a wide variety of events in towns, villages and businesses all over West Cork. So come to Cork, eat in our restaurants, taste the local foods and why not take a tour or walking tour with the activity days. Cork is definitely the food capital of Ireland.