Top 5 Irish Foods You Must Try

Source

Have you ever been to Ireland?

Ireland has a mystical quality like none other. Once you set foot on the endearing Emerald Isle it is hard not to feel enchanted and never want to leave. I have been to Ireland many times and even married an Irishman that I met on my first visit. On my first trip I not only fell in love with my husband, the landscape, the people and the culture but also the unique foods that are part of the everyday Irish fare.

While the Irish consider their unique scones, breads, teas and other culinary masterpieces to be the norm, I found these same foods to be quite a treat and upon my return tips home, these became the foods I missed and would begin to crave.

A markerIreland -
Ireland
[get directions]

Even if you never make your way to Ireland you can still enjoy some of the fare.

Here is my top 5 list of Irish foods to try.

In Europe, soda breads began to appear in the mid-19th century when bicarbonate of soda first became available for use as a rising agent.
In Europe, soda breads began to appear in the mid-19th century when bicarbonate of soda first became available for use as a rising agent.

1. Irish Soda Bread

If you have ever been to Ireland and have tasted Irish Soda Bread for yourself you will likely understand why I crave it. It is earthy, hearty, grainy and satisfying, and has a taste all its own. While most breads use yeast as a leavener, soda bread, as its name denotes, instead uses baking soda. This wonderful bread can be served with a topping of butter, cream cheese or served as a side to a rich stew. (see more about Irish Soda Bread)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A hot cup of tea is the perfect way to warm up on a wet chilly day.A even flavored quality tea.
A hot cup of tea is the perfect way to warm up on a wet chilly day.
A hot cup of tea is the perfect way to warm up on a wet chilly day. | Source
A even flavored quality tea.
A even flavored quality tea.

2. Irish Tea

Having grown up in the “states” I only knew of Tetley Tea and that it was primarily considered an alternative to coffee. Looking back, I came to realize just how little I knew. It wasn't until traveling to Ireland that I found that tea is practically a way of life. Dinner is even called 'Tea.' Boy was I surprised when a full meal was placed down in front of me at "Tea." There are tea breaks that take place at mid-morning and afternoon, and everyone it seems knows how to make a great cup. It took me a few weeks to decipher the words "want a cup of tea?" which sounded like “wana cupa tay”. With the Irish brogue and confusing word phrasing, it took me a great number of tries before I knew what was being said to me. But now that I do, I sometimes am the one offering the soothing hot “tay.” Tea in Ireland is not just a drink but a perfect excuse to take a break and chat with your co-workers, friends or family.


Guinness as a beer, is in  a class by itself. It has a smooth rich texture, a perfectly creamy head, and a complex flavor.
Guinness as a beer, is in a class by itself. It has a smooth rich texture, a perfectly creamy head, and a complex flavor. | Source

3. Pint of Guinness

I am not a drinker, not in any way shape or form, but when traveling and trying to take in the local culture I have been known to make many exceptions to my rules. I have tasted my fair share of the foamy black stuff, usually in half pints, and I do like it. I have even visited the Guinness museum in Dublin, which is truly worth the trip and a free pint is included with admission. Guinness is such a way of life in Ireland and believed to be beneficial to health. As surprising as it may seem to some, Guinness was even served to young children; parents believed its high iron content was good for the wee ones. I don't recommend this but think it is interesting and certainly points out how much more me know about health.

Hobnob is a biscuit made from rolled oats and jumbo oats, the recipe originated in Scotland.
Hobnob is a biscuit made from rolled oats and jumbo oats, the recipe originated in Scotland. | Source

Etymology

The name "Hob Nob" comes from an earlier phrase, to hob or nob, meaning "to drink together, taking turns toasting one another", probably from Middle English.

4. Chocolate Coated Hob Nob Biscuts

Here is another addiction that I have picked up on my numerous trips to Ireland. It has become the only cookie that I crave, that is scary considering that you can't get these cookies just anywhere. It is a perfect combination of a grainy and hearty cookie with coating of chocolate in a choice of dark or light. Most cookies served in Ireland are designed to go with a cup of tea and these are perfect tea and milk dunkers. I am very lucky in regards to these cookies that they are readily available in the international section of my local grocery store. Maybe you can find them too.


The word scone may derive from the Gaelic term "sgonn" meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful.
The word scone may derive from the Gaelic term "sgonn" meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful. | Source

5. Irish Scones

No matter what corner of the Emerald Isle I roamed, whether it was a small coastal village or an out of the way ring fort museum, I could always find the perfect pairing of a hot cup of tea and a fresh Irish scone. This combination was just enough to fill me up and keep me going until my next meal. These scones are rich and filled with a huge dose of Irish TLC. In 'the states' you can find Irish Scone mixes in most supermarkets but I have an incredible recipe that is so good that the scones are usually gone before you have finished your cup-o-tay. I have even tested out this recipe on my Irish in-laws with rave reviews.

A poem highlighting the differing pronunciations of the word "scone."

I asked the maid in dulcet tone

To order me a buttered scone

The silly girl has been and gone

And ordered me a buttered scone.

Author Unkown

Although my first visit to Ireland was many years ago, the experience lives on both in my love of the country, the people and in the experience of these unique foods and beverages. While you may never make the journey to this mystical country, I invite you to take this brief walk with me through the Irish culinary countryside.


Do you love to write? Would you like to earn some extra cash? HubPages allows you to write, earn cash and publish on your own schedule and it is free! Join HubPages today.

© 2012 Tracy Lynn Conway

More by this Author


Comments 17 comments

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Oh, how I miss Ireland! I have tried and love all the foods you mentioned above. Reading your hub makes me sad for a while and was happy remembering my years living in such a lovely and awesome country, Ireland. With those friendly people I met and worked with and the teas that I´ve enjoyed. Those were the happy years I´ll never forget in my life. Thank you for reminding me those happy moments. Thanks for sharing.


Anthony Binks profile image

Anthony Binks 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

A lot of us from Ireland would probably add Tayto cheese and onion crisps but your list is very good.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Thelma - It sounds like you and I had identical experiences in Ireland. While writing this article I also found myself wanting to go back for a visit and missing my time spent there. So nice to hear of your experience and fond memories. Thank you for your wonderful comment and here is an Irish blessing for you:

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.

May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.

May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue.

And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.”

Best, Tracy

Anthony - Yes, the Irish seems to have a great affection and wonderful array of crisps (chips). I haven't seem them stateside, the closest I have found is salt and vinegar chips which are an inferior substitute. Thanks for your suggestion!

Best, Tracy


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Wow! I love this Irish blessing of yours. Thank you very much Tracy. This is very beautiful;-) Take care.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Very interesting and nice to know the must try Irish foods. I think you have the link to your soda bread recipe hub. I'm checking it out.

Voted up & interesting. Shared.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Thelma - You are welcome! I am so glad you liked it, it was my pleasure to send it to you.

Rajan - I glad you liked this one and went on to visit the soda bread hub, thanks so much for the votes and for sharing.

Best, Tracy


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

I've never been to Ireland - I've always wantede to go. I've tried scones and found them delicious. I can imagine they are mush better when authentically made in Ireland.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I don't know that I've ever had any one of these (except for the Guinness because I don't drink.) Let me see if there's an Irish pub nearby where I can try some of these. Voting this Up and Interesting.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

Chocolate Coated Hob Nob Biscuits , the name alone has me intrigued. What a yummy list of Irish treats. Thanks for sharing with us.

Cheers~


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

KoffeeKlatch Gals - I hope that you do make it to Ireland one day. Authentic scones do taste better and the Irish surrounds add to the experience as well.

Alocsin - I hope you can locate a source for this beloved Irish fare. Thank you for your comment and votes!

K9keystrokes - The name "Hob Nob" is intriguing and seems to reflect the social nature of an Irish tea break. Glad you liked the list!

Best, Tracy


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Hob Nobs, Scones, Soda Bread, Guinness - I would be happy to devour/imbibe but I am allergic to tea so that is a no-no. However, i could just have another Guinness instead? Great hub - I have still not been to Ireland (disgraceful since I can fly there for about $45) but I hope to remedy that soon.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Jools99 - I love to imagine living in Europe and being able to easily travel to the neighboring countries rich in culture and history, unlike the U.S. which is more vanilla flavored. I am allergic to a number of things, so I can relate to the difficulty of a tea allergy. I hope you make it to Ireland and enjoy some of the unique fare.

Best, Tracy


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

amazing hub. I will definitely try some of the foods that you have suggested above. voted up.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 3 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Torrilynn - I hope you get a chance to try out these unique Irish Foods. I am glad you liked the hub and thank you for the comment and vote!

Best, Tracy


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 3 years ago from Upstate New York

What a lovely reminder of a region of the world I love. I have been to Ireland, but I lived in London for awhile. All of these products are readily available there as well. The McVities are one of my favorites and sooooo addictive. I can find them locally also, but at a steep price. I do break down once in a while. Good stuff.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. Ireland is indeed a beautiful country. This is a great hub and you made me very hungry. Have to try the soda bread. Great pics and video. Passing this on.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 3 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Donnah - You are right, a lot of the items mentioned here are also available in the U.K. but can be pricey here in the states. Another item that it also popular in the British Isles is "Wheatabix." Nice to hear that I am not alone in my love of foreign fare.

Gypsy Rose Lee - Ireland certainly is a beautiful country and the items that I listed in many ways reflect the unique earthy beauty that is "Ireland." I hope you get a chance to try the soda bread. Thank you for your compliments, votes and for sharing!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working