Whether you are munching on crackers and cheese whilst sipping the vino, rushing to the latest donut shop to check out their version of red velvet or browsing through Instagram for nibble options for your girls night in, food plays a big part in our lives. For some ladies, they will see themselves as gastro queens and love nothing more than a food centred evening with their friends. Ireland has seriously upped its game in recent years when it comes to cuisine and are ready to embrace everything from seaweed to kale to avocado smash and sweet potato fries. OK so some of these are a little tired at this stage but just saying that these would not have featured on many menus over 5 years ago! We are wholeheartedly embracing the foodie trend. Here are our top ten ideas for gastronomic getaways and foodie fun with friends.
1. Bottomless brunch
Let’s face it, brunch is better when it’s paired with mimosas (or expresso martinis!). A NYC trend that has crossed the Atlantic sees a number of Dublin eateries, such as Cleaver East in Temple Bar, offering delicious food and endless top-ups for just €15 per person. Whether your heading out for a birthday celebration or kick starting a hen party, you will never go wrong with bottomless brunch.
2. Sweet like chocolate
Even if you’re not a chocolate lover (we have heard this is possible) learning the art of chocolate making is fascinating and interesting for all. For those of you who do love chocolate, you’ll get to indulge your sweet tooth while learning the tricks of the chocolatier trade. Clonakilty Chocolate is just one Irish artisan producer that offers private chocolate-tasting parties for groups. Options even include an introduction to chocolate tasting and pairing with drinks!
3. Icing on the cake
OK, so we know donuts have overtaken cupcakes in the trend meter but perfecting your cupcake making craft is always a good idea. Whether it’s for a work bake off or entertaining children it’s always good to flaunt your secret icing skills. Simple and sweet, cupcakes are always a good idea. Learn how to make your own with a cupcake decorating class. Primrose Lane Bakery in the pretty town of Carlingford will teach you all you need to know.
4. Food and fashion
One of the best ways to get to know a city is by hanging out with someone who knows the darkest street secrets. Fab Food Trails cover Dublin and Cork and show you around along with keeping your tastebuds enlightened. Meet the makers and sample the best of what Dublin or Cork has to offer while enjoying a leisurely stroll learning about the culture and history of the city. They also offer a guided shopping tour of Dublin where you’ll take in both emerging and established boutiques and stumble upon some hidden gems, with some nice nibbles along the way. Food and fashion are our two favourite things so it sounds pretty amazing to us.
5. Food fest
Celebrate your special occasion and your love of food all at once at one of Ireland’s renowned food festivals. Some of the most exciting food of 2016 was found at festivals like Body & Soul, The Big Grill, Taste of Dublin , Féile na Mara in Achill Island and at street food market spaces like Bodytonic’s Eatyard in Dublin. They’re popping up everywhere. You’ll find something for all tastes, from barbeques to oysters to veggies. Bring some blankets, chill out on the grass and let’s hope it doesn’t rain!
6. Personal chef
Want to enjoy fine dining without the hassle of heading into a crowded restaurant on a Saturday night? No problem, just arrange for a private chef to call to your home or self-catering accommodation. Sit back and enjoy.
7. To Market, to market
There is no better way to spend a weekend morning than enjoying the sights and smells of the farmer’s market. From Cork’s legendary English Market, to the Milk Market in Limerick, all of Ireland’s cities and plenty of smaller towns are home to thriving food markets. It’s a great activity for a group who are visiting a city or on a weekend away.
8. Cookery class
Have fun while learning impressive new recipes for your next dinner party with a class at one of the country’s top cookery schools. Some even offer luxury accommodation onsite for the perfect foodie getaway. Ballyknocken Cookery School, Cloughjordan House and Inchiquin House are some of our favourites.
9. Pizza party
You had me at pizza. Keep it delicious and trendy with a pizza making party. Get a group together and head to your nearest Milano’s for some fun and games while enjoying some tasty nibbles and learning how to make the perfect pizza. The restaurant will provide a private space with appetisers and drinks.
10. Turning Japanese
Make your own sushi rolls and learn how to source the best fish for your home creations with a sushi workshop at Raw in the Radisson Galway, or Cooks Academy in Dublin. You’ll never settle for bland shop-bought sushi again!