Flavours of the Southwest

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We begin our food tour in the historic medieval town of Youghal, before winding through counties Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. Along the way, you’ll meet the producers, sample their flavours and see the passion and dedication of Ireland’s artisan food community for yourself.

In Search of Tastes in East Cork
Travelling with the ocean by your side, discover the distinct flavours and exciting producers that have made East Cork a top destination for food.

Seaside Delights in Youghal
Youghal’s enviable position where the River Blackwater meets the sea on Ireland’s south coast has lent it an intriguing history. This is a place that has attracted the attention of everyone from the Vikings to the Victorians, who came here in the 19th century to enjoy the quiet of the surrounding beaches. Today, Youghal is a lively seaside town and a gateway to Ireland’s Ancient East. Take a guided walking tour to discover the historic fables and intriguing facts surrounding Youghal before discovering the town’s foodie side. Like the sound of seared scallops, grilled black sole, rock oysters or seafood chowder? Head to Aherne’s Seafood Restaurant where you’ll find a bounty of ocean delights, but make sure to leave room for something sweet – afternoon tea at the Walter Raleigh Hotel is a treasure-trove of tasty delights with petite sandwiches, mini fruit scones and delicate cakes.

Take a break at the Cliff House Hotel in nearby Waterford. It clings to the edge of a ridge overlooking Ardmore Bay, and its Michelin-starred restaurant is a favourite go-to for foodies

Ireland’s Cooking Royalty
Craft and cookery go hand in hand in the village of Shanagarry, which is as famous for its pottery by Stephen Pearce as it is for its renowned cookery school. It’s here that you’ll find the world-famous Ballymaloe, which attracts budding chefs from all over the planet to its hallowed kitchens! You can opt for a short weekend course in everything from “Afternoon Tea and Cakes” to “Summer Foraging”. But if you prefer to consume rather than create, head over to Ballymaloe House, one of Ireland’s best country houses. Here, surrounded by stunning gardens and using the very best homegrown produce, three-course lunches and five-course dinners are served to the delight of guests, many of whom make a weekend stay of it.

Detour to the tiny village of Ballycotton to watch the local fishermen offload their catch, and if you have time, you could take the boat trip to Ballycotton Island Lighthouse. It’s worth it for the view alone.

Incredible Local Flavours
Midleton is your next stop – this small east Cork town has got a big foodie pedigree. Every Saturday, some of the island’s top food producers gather for the farmers’ market – a perfect place to get the inside scoop on Irish food’s next big thing. Meet some of the artisan producers, scoop up some cheese and enjoy the community atmosphere at this unique event. Great restaurants including the acclaimed Sage and the long-standing Farmgate have made Midleton a food destination in its own right, but the town also has a big whiskey heritage and is home to Jameson Irish Whiskey. Drop into the Jameson Experience and take the guided tour of the Old Midleton Distillery or go for the Behind the Scenes Tour with visits to the Micro Distillery, Cooperage and Distiller’s Cottage.

Enjoy the ambience of afternoon tea at Castlemartyr Resort – it’s a special treat.

Cork City Is Full of Culinary Delights
Next stop, the English Market in the heart of Cork city. This Victorian gem has been faithfully serving food to the people of Cork for over a century and is a go-to for great cheeses, charcuteries and award-winning patés and terrines. Pay a visit to Frank Hederman for some of the most sublime smoked fish around, before heading upstairs to the Farmgate Café for a gourmet lunch. You’ll get a great sense of Cork’s esteemed food culture at the intriguing Cork Butter Museum, which traces the industry’s history back to its very early days. And if you’re looking for somewhere for dinner, you’ve come to the right place – match craft beers with culinary creativity at Elbow Lane, feast on some of Europe’s finest vegetarian food at Café Paradiso or try the seafood delights of the Fish Bar at Electric. An ideal way to end a foodie day? Try a craft beer or stout at the excellent Franciscan Well Brewpub.

Sample the Cork Tasting Trail from Fabulous Food Trails – it’s a great way to meet the people who are fuelling Cork’s lively food scene.

A Foodie Hero in a Town Called Kanturk
Nestled between two hills, and the rivers Allow and Dallow, the town of Kanturk is surrounded by the type of countryside that has made West Cork such an exceptional producer of cheese. But in Kanturk, the local delicacy is Cork’s other famous food hero – black pudding. At McCarthy’s traditional butchers in town, Jack McCarthy has created a black pudding that is so exceptional it has won the prestigious old medal from the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding.

Perfect Produce in Tipperary
The rich and fertile landscape of County Tipperary ensures that the goods it produces are of the finest quality – and it’s certainly reflected in the mouth-watering food on offer.

It’s Not Such a Long Way to Tipperary
Heading in to the Golden Vale of Tipperary, you’ll find the landscapes stretch out in vast undulating hills of green. Of course, no trip to Tipperary would be complete without mentioning the world-famous Cashel Blue cheese. The Grubb family have been making it at their farm since 1984, and it’s now available everywhere from New Zealand to New York. In its home town of Cashel, though keep an eye out for this blue cows’ milk cheese on menus and cheese boards at eateries like Chez Hans, which serves up great modern flavors in a converted Victorian Gothic church.

For over 30 years, Peter and Mary Ward have been promoting the pleasures of good, wholesome cooking at Country Choice delicatessen and café in Nenagh. A must-visit while in the area…

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