Great gift ideas for food lovers

This is always a favourite subject of mine! Hampers are always a good idea when gifting a food enthusiast but not one of these ready-made ones you can find anywhere.

Head over to Bradley’s for a Cork produce hamper or even a craft beer one – Michael and his team will advise you on the best options and can create a bespoke selection for you.

Bakestone in Fota Retail Park also have great options with the best of Cork food – think Mella’s Fudge, Valentia Island Vermouth, Badger & Dodo Coffee, Ballyhoura Apple Juice and Rebel Chilli. The hampers come in different sizes.

Urru Culinary Store in Bandon is always worth a visit at the best of times but especially at Christmas when Ruth and Nicola create their delicious hampers – this year’s theme is Happy Memories. Local produce, sustainable packaging and a great smile – what more do we need this year?

On the cookbook side, we have so much to choose from. First off, Blasta Books have succeeded with their fundraising campaign and are now publishing cookbooks like ‘Taco’ (by Dublin-based Lily Ramirez-Foran) and ‘Hot Fat’ (by Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon, aka The Gastro Gays). Both are available for €15 online on

Rachel Allen has written a book on ‘Soup Broth Bread’ – I’m feeling warmer already and Rory O’Connell’s ‘The Joy of Food’ is on my wish list.

Donal Skehan’s ‘Everyday Cook’ and Clodagh McKenna’s ‘In Minutes’ are back on Irish shores but I have my eye firmly on ‘The Official Guinness Cookbook’ by Caroline Hennessey. Known for a quirky, yet informative writing style, Caroline is the co-author on ‘Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider’.

A must for anyone who loves his/her stout, her latest book with over 70 recipes featuring (you might have guessed it) Guinness. From traditional dishes of Irish stew and porter cake to more adventurous recipes like the creamy mint cocktail and chocolate potato cake.

You can never go wrong with a cookbook by national treasure Neven Maguire. His latest cookbook is ‘Learn how to Cook’ with easy four-step recipes that will get anyone into the kitchen.

It’s a tough choice with these amazing Irish food writers – and whichever you choose, try buying it from your local bookshop.

And if all the above isn’t to your liking – why not gift a food experience instead? Choose from a tour at Kinsale Mead (or even an online tasting of their delicious meads) – you will learn how the mead is made using traditional methods and take a bottle (or two) home with you.

Blackwater Gin offers a membership to their Gin Club – every couple of weeks you will receive a tasting pack with two of their latest flavoured editions and recipe cards.

In case you prefer whiskey to mead or gin, Bradley’s have you covered with their Hip Flask Service. Buy a flask and fill it with different whiskey every time you visit Bradley’s. This is a fantastic way of trying different whiskeys without having to buy the full bottle. Offerings change regularly and Michael can advise you on tasting notes for each of the whiskeys on offer. Please note that only the Bradley Hip Flask is being used in this offer.

There are so many ideas out there for food lovers this Christmas – make it Irish!