If you have been following us on Instagram, you will have noticed that I was recently Europe (though, it feels like a lifetime ago). Each country I travelled to opened up a new window of food opportunities to explore. Now, if I were to ever win the lottery, I would eat my way around the world in an absolute heartbeat! This trip cemented the idea, and lets hope one day I can actually make it a reality!
One of the most surprising foodie finds on my trip was Ireland. For those who know me, know I lived there for a year many moons ago, and I was quite familiar with the few traditional meals they have; potato, colcannon, potato, irish stew, potato, boxty pancakes, potato, soda bread, and more potato. Seriously, the Irish love their potatoes so much that I had it 5 ways on a plate one night as part of a Sunday roast!
Before I depart for any trip (even if its only a weekend away), I do my standard food research, and it was no different for Ireland. We were planning a few days in Cork, and one of the suggested ideas was to drive a further 30 minutes south to a small town called Kinsale. What a delight it was!
Kinsale is a historic port and fishing town, about 25km south of Cork. It is a beautiful, quaint town, and looked like a postcard with all brightly coloured buildings. Kinsale is known as the ‘foodie’ capital of Ireland, because of the beautiful fresh seafood that comes into port daily.
So what do you think we did? We went to a pub of course!
When travelling in Ireland, most of the food comes from a pub. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will find different styles of pubs, but rarely will you find restaurants or cafes like you would here in Australia (more so in the big cities). I always look forward to eating at a pub for a hearty, comforting and enjoyable experience!
So, for lunch on our day trip to Kinsale, we went to the Blue Haven Hotel, which claimed to have the best seafood chowder in Ireland! I may or may not have already eaten four bowls of seafood chowder in four days…so from my expert knowledge, I agree, this chowder was tops! My friends also had excellent meals; a chicken and mushroom pie (to die for!), scotch eggs with crispy potato skins, and a wonderfully fresh toastie.
If I haven’t sold you on Kinsale already, you absolutely must go for the chocolate. Koko Kinsale handmade Irish chocolates are decadent and, sorry I have to say, to die for! We only stopped in to get the driver a coffee before we drove home, and we all bought a few chocolates for the road! There was such an extensive selection of chocolates and truffles, and I would love to tell you all about the flavours, but as soon as I tasted their salted caramel chocolate I soon forgot all the others. I do not say this often, but golly that was some of the best chocolate I’ve tasted. So much so, my sister and I went back into the shop to purchase more because the two salted caramels we purchased weren’t enough! If only his chocolates could be shipped to Australia!
I so loved my little journey to Kinsale, it has definitely gone into the bank of memories, and added to the list of hidden gems!
Where have you been and fallen in love with the food? Where is your hidden gem?