A Taste of the Emerald Isle at Selfridges

by Catherine Jones - Monday September 3, 2018 9:09 am

Selfridges’ food hall is bringing a taste of the Emerald Isle to London this September, featuring over 50 Irish brands. Catherine Jones rounds up the best of the bunch…

Creamy butter, flavoursome Irish stew, full-bodied Guinness and superior spuds…when it comes to knock out cuisine, Ireland is at the top of its game. In celebration of this Selfridges’ food hall is selling a new range of Irish artisanal ingredients in partnership with Bord Bia (the Irish food board).

The foodie mecca is featuring over 50 Irish brands, with caviar from Kilkenny, DIY bread kits from Dublin, Quinoa Crunch from Cork and more. Here are our top six picks.

1.    McCambridge’s Bread Tin Bakery Kit: Sourdough Bread – From £3.79

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Nothing beats the smell of fresh bread in the morning - except knowing that it took you mere minutes to bake it! McCambridge bread kits, made in Rathcoole, County Dublin, take the faff out of baking. It’s mess-free – you don’t even need a mixing bowl.

The kit comes with a sealable sandwich bag filled with dry ingredients (wheat flour, wheat germ, raising agents and salt) and a baking tray that you need to lightly oil. You pour in milk (whole milk, buttermilk, coconut or soya), massage it through the bag to mix, pour it into the tray and 40 minutes later you’re left with freshly-baked crusty, crumbly bread.

It was moist, not too dense, with the characteristic tang of sourdough and was just as good as one from a local baker. A great buy if you’re having guests to stay at the weekend.

2.    Guinness cheeseFrom £4.99

Ireland is famous for its creamy cheese and rich meal-in-a-glass Guinness so it was only a matter of time before the two were combined. The world’s first Guinness cheddar cheese is being sold exclusively at Selfridges, and it’s a corker.

Under the black wax rind, it’s marbled and has a malty, marmite-y taste. As 10% of it is Guinness, we’ll forgive the fact that the cheddar is actually from Somerset. We paired this with our home-baked sourdough but it would also be a novel addition to any cheeseboard.

3.    Homespun Quinoa Crunch - £5.99

mcith_new-quinoa-crunch-packages-1.jpgIs this the most middle-class breakfast you will ever eat? This award-winning quinoa crunch, hand-baked in County Cork, is packed with puffs of quinoa, slivers of coconut, and other virtuous goodies such as cashews, sunflower seeds, oats, buckwheat, linseed and chia seeds.

The quinoa puffs have a pleasing texture, crunching like puffed rice but with a chew at the end, and the cereal is sweetened naturally with honey and coconut oil (the strongest flavour).

You can’t really taste the cinnamon and vanilla elements, but the goji berries provide a burst of sweetness. They add a pop of colour and provide an extra chewy texture.

This cereal looks beautiful in the bowl – a riot of texture – and it was filling (I needed a smaller portion of cereal compared with my normal muesli).

This breakfast champ has won gold at the Free From Awards, and it’s gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, with no additives.

4.    Pandora Bell Honey Nougat with Almonds and Pistachios – From £5.99

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I was a kid the last time I ate nougat. It was the whoosh-of-sugar, get-stuck-in-your-teeth kind with a couple of token nuts and a glace cherry welded in it.

Well, Pandora Bell Honey Nougat with Almonds and Pistachios, made in County Limerick, is what nougat should be like.

It’s won awards (Taste, 2016) and is beautifully packaged in a box with a William-Morris type swirly design. Coated in thin rice paper, it tastes of honey, with the lingering flavour of vanilla.

As soft as fudge, it is studded with pistachios and almonds that provide crunch and saltiness that cut through the sweetness. It left me starry-eyed. This sumptuous sweet treat is the perfect indulgence and would make a beautiful gift.

5.    Boutique Bake Super Seed Flapjack Mix – Product range from £6.99

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Catherine Buggy, founder of Boutique Bake, began her business of creating gourmet baking mixes from her cottage in Donnybrook, Dublin.

We tried her super seed flapjack mix, which was packed with linseed, sunflower, poppy, pumpkin and chia seeds. The recipe was easy to follow – simply add melted butter and golden syrup to the dry mix, smooth into a tray and bake.

t’s nice to see the kit cater for the health-conscious, recommending coconut oil and honey as alternative ingredients to syrup and butter. The mix of seeds elevates this from an ordinary flapjack but if, like me, you prefer texture I’d advise adding sour cherries and raisins.

With a focus on healthy eats, other products in the range include a protein pancake mix, almond and cacao brownie mix, cacao protein bites mix and oat and seed energy bars mix.

6.    The Lismore Food Company Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Thins – From £6.99

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Never judge a book by its cover – unless it’s Lismore Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Thins. These decadent chocolates taste just as elegant as their navy, teal and gold-embossed box.

The Lismore Food Company was created by three artisans, and is based in County Waterford. These discs of crisp apple, enrobed in rich dark chocolate, are dangerously moreish. They are pricey but the portion per box is generous.

Taste the Emerald Isle is currently happening at Selfridges’ food hall. To find out more about Selfridges’ Taste of the Emerald Isle dining events, held on 10th, 11th and 17th September, visit www.selfridges.com/

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