Memorable food of 2011: Eight Degrees Beer, Inishfood, Irish flavours

Cam and Scott of Eight Degrees Brewing at the Franciscan Well Easter Beerfest 2011

My first time pulling a pint of Eight Degrees beer - the lads were suitably impressed

2011? Phew! A crazy, crazy year. Still, after a relatively calm January, I’ve finally had a chance to gather together my favourite food memories of the last 12 months.


Eight Degrees Beer: the first sip of our Howling Gale Ale at the Franciscan Well Easter Beer Fest – declared ready just the previous night – was the cumulation of years of planning, dreaming and home brewing. The Husband and the Aussie hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since.

From cracking open the first keg of Sunburnt Irish Red at the Irish Cloud Festival beer and food matching event, “testing” Knockmealdown Porter to develop a Chocolate Brownie recipe and checking out A Winter’s Ale with Farmette during the Irish Country Living photoshoot, it’s been a rollercoaster ride. Looking forward to seeing what the lads have planned for 2012!


Harrys Restaurant, Bridgend, Inishowen, Co. Donegal

We'd like to think there'll be sunshine in May

Inishfood: it’s not often that you drive six hours for dinner. But it was worth it. And the Taste of Inishowen feast that we enjoyed at Harrys Restaurant in Co Donegal was only one of the high points of a most memorable weekend that celebrated not only the food of the peninsula but wonderful coffee, cheese, raw milk and black pudding.

I’m sure the indomitable Donal, who organised and facilitated the whole thing at Harrys, might have thought otherwise as he waved us off after the weekend but, as it turns out, it was too good to be a once-off event.

We’re all heading back up there in May to celebrate Irish food with workshops, talks and lots of convivial eating. Book your accommodation for 18 – 20 May, follow Inishfood on Twitter to find out what Donal has got planned and keep an eye on for more details. It’s going to be bigger and even better than 2011.


Highbank Orchard Syrup and natural yoghurt

Snack time - disappearing fast!

Irish flavours: 2011 was undoubtedly the year of Ed Hick’s Bacon Jam. Salty, sweet, bacon-y and all-round addictive, I first came across it at Bloom and have picked up a jar where ever I’ve seen it since.  It’s so good that I’ve also been playing around with my own homemade version – it’s never going to top Ed’s top secret blend but at least it’s a good stopgap until the next Dublin trip.

At the cottage we’re also loving: crumbly, crunchy Irish Atlantic Sea Salt – buying Irish is a pleasure when the standard is this high; the sweetest Toonsbridge Irish buffalo mozzarella from Macroom; Keogh’s hand cooked crisps, complete with Spud Nav – apparently the Lady Claire potatoes in my bag of crisps came from Sheepshill near Blanchardstown; and Little Missy would undoubtedly vote for Highbank Orchard Syrup that she loves drizzled on yoghurt for a mid-afternoon snack.


The right food at the right time: steaming hot tea and limp buttery toast in CUMH half an hour after the arrival of the Small Girl. White processed bread has never tasted so good.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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6 Responses

  1. Karen says:

    They’ve changed the menu since the Ernville was the maternity for Cork so – my mother still talks about the beautiful brown scone she got with her tea after my baby brother was born (September 1985).

    Lovely choices Caroline – aiming to get to Inishfood 2013, all going well Leanbh and I will be just home from hospital to follow #inishfood2012 on Twitter

    • Caroline Caroline says:

      Myself and one of my brothers were also born in the Ernville. Must ask Mum what she got afterwards! I was just happy that our delicious plastic toast came with real butter. None of that spreadable s*it at CUMH.

      Hope all goes well for you in May. At least you can keep an eye on what’s happening online. We’ll be tweeting from Inishfood with a vengeance!

  2. Kristin says:

    I remember someone telling me that the tea and toast they give you after you give birth is the best food in the world, and they were right. That should have been up at no. 1, surely! 2011 was a good year for eating, roll on 2012.

    • Caroline Caroline says:

      Between lunches at L’Ecrivain, Pichet and Bord Bia, affogato at Murphy’s Ice Cream and snacks at the Pepper Pot, a lot of good eating in 2011 was done with you!

  3. stasty says:

    Lovely round up of 2011 in food. Intrigued by the Highbank Orchard syrup. If the kids love it, it’s a good sign :)Dying to try it.

    • Caroline Caroline says:

      I’d definitely recommend it – and not just for kids! Great over porridge, used to baste pork, as a base for an apple bellini with prosecco. My problem is getting the bottle away from Little Missy.

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