Holiday hampers – a taste of artisan Ireland

The halls are decked with holly and there’s no doubt it’s the season to be (extra) jolly as the 2016 holiday season excitement builds.

In Ireland, food is at the heart of the holiday season festivities – from cranberry tartlets and mince pies when entertaining guests who visit on the dark evenings of craic to a Christmas dinner that sees all the family sitting down together. We are also lucky here to be spoiled for choice when it comes to farm fresh produce and artisan food providers.

Here at Ireland Chauffeur Travel, the office team has already celebrated with dinner in local restaurant Chez Hans, under the shadow of the Rock of Cashel.

For our team of driver guides, this year we decided to pack something for the road. The inspiration came from one of my favorite simple foodie experiences in the past year – a picnic on Garrettstown beach in Co Cork. That day we packed a basket with local prawns (Galway), fresh bread from the English Market (Cork), Cashel Blue cheese (Tipperary) and a bottle of ginger kefir (Cork) and bubbles for the non-driver.

So, what could be a better “thank you” than our own custom-made picnic hamper? We decided the produce should all be local to our office base in Cashel so we sourced wicker baskets in Cork and then visited The Apple Farm in Cahir, Co Tipperary, for juice, plum jelly and fresh apples. Then we added Cashel Blue Cheese, TMT Artisan Irish Spicy Ketchup, Tom Durcan’s spiced beef carpaccio (English Market, Cork), the Tipperary Kitchen Holycross Chocolate Biscuit Cake, Chocolate Spread and O’Donnell’s crisps (Irish potato chips are an artisan experience in themselves), also from Tipp.

Our only non-Irish additions were the wine but next year, we are planning to source wine directly from our tours in Provence or Italy!

We enjoyed putting together the hampers so much (okay…and sampling the produce!) that we would like to offer you the opportunity to enjoy the produce too. If you would like to sample our Irish Picnic Hamper, please let us know before you travel to Ireland with us and we will put one together for you so you can sample artisan Ireland with our compliments.

Happy holidays to all,