Written by Jan of Family Bites.
In all the years I worked in catering, coordinating menus and planning parties, I was never once asked to create an Irish-inspired fête. There were the Scottish celebrations in honor of Robbie Burns Day, the English tea parties that commemorated the marriage of Prince William and Kate, and the almost weekly Italian/French/Mexican-inspired menus designed for lively weekend gatherings. Sadly, the Irish never got their “fare” share from our tiny commercial kitchen.
I’m on a mission to change that this March, and have grand plans to host an Irish-themed Sunday dinner later in the month. My husband’s grandparents were born in Ireland, as were my own great-grandparents, and I’ve been increasingly interested in learning more about the booming food culture of the Emerald Isle, specifically the regions that were home to our ancestors.
While we all know that potatoes are a staple in the Irish kitchen, I’m not sure it’s common knowledge that the country exports their prized dairy all over the world. The top-quality grass-fed milk produced by thousands of the nations farmers is pure liquid gold, and artisans are bringing the ancient methods of cheese and yogurt making to modern day Ireland.
Or how about the fact that the Connemara fields, in the Connacht region of the county, raise some of the most sought-after lamb in all of Europe? Nestled close to the waters of the Atlantic, the ocean spray enhances the growth of the wild grasses the lambs eat, infusing their meat with a naturally salty flavour.
Those food facts alone make the Irish worth celebrating, don’t you think?