We all know of the land of milk and honey that is generally associated with stories from the bible. Little do people know that while Moses was a great leader and preacher, he was terrible at directions and mistakenly confused Israel with Ireland!
That said many poets and storytellers have also described Ireland as a land overflowing with agricultural riches and references to milk and honey date back to earliest times with whole sections of the ancient Brehon Laws devoted to the art of bee keeping. Fast forward to the present day and you will find that visitors are oftentimes surprised by the quality and variety of food available in Ireland. Somewhere in the intervening centuries, Irish people as a race became dependent on the humble spud and despite how things have changed, a surprising number of first time visitors to our shores still subconsciously expect us to be eating potatoes and cabbage as a staple.
But slowly the word is seeping out that a nugget for food lovers to savour (pardon the pun) is only slowly being discovered. That nugget is unofficially known as the ‘Gourmet Riviera’ and stretches from roughly from the village of Ardmore in the south-east of Ireland to the Sheep’s Head Peninsula in the south-west of Ireland. Along this band of coast lies a panoply of food emporiums catering to every taste and budget all of which share one common thread – a love of food and bringing the best sources available to the table. Chic hotels such as the Cliff House Hotel, the old world charms and values of the classic ‘Great House’ restaurants such as Ballymaloe House, the tantalising flavours of the Ivory Tower, the stunning choice of fish in Fishy Fishy to a veritable explosion of vegetables in Ireland’s top vegetarian restaurant in Cafe Paradiso to the excellent Bridgestone Guide listed Good Things Cafe in West Cork all offer an amazing abundance of world class produce and flavours. The list goes on, with a nicer, better, more atmospheric venue waiting to be discovered around literally every bend in the road. And if Cork City claims to be Ireland’s Gourmet Capital (which it can and is), well then Kinsale can equally claim to be the jewel in the crown.
Yet you don’t have to be a fashionista of food to explore and appreciate these culinary delights. Anyone who appreciates a good meal accompanied by their refreshment of choice and pleasant banter in comfortable surroundings will find what they are looking for, here along this stunning stretch of Irish coastline. Rolling and undulating hillsides pockmarked by eons of waves shaping and sculpting the coast have created a rich nutritious land where food is king.
If only Moses had a sat nav!
Visit the inaugural Eat Cork event which is taking place from the 23rd to the 26th of September in Cork City Centre