Wholly influenced by landscape and sea, the food producers of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way use the waters, air, pastures and even the salt of their surrounds to create tastes unique to the west coast of Ireland. Meet some of the innovators who live and work in the vibrant food scene at the edge of the Atlantic.
Highly imaginative and creative artisan food producers are dotted throughout the west of Ireland. Taking their lead from the seasons and nature’s bounty, they create truly artisan products by combining tradition, experience, enthusiasm and originality.
Local fare changes seasonally, giving a diverse and rich array of flavours and tastes. Fresh fish is smoked with age-old traditions, cheeses are churned with traditional techniques, wild pickings are foraged and chocolatiers craft impressive creations in the form of unique bars. Catch a glimpse of some of the food experiences you can expect.
Tucked away on Grey’s Lane in the colourful town of Dingle, you’ll find cheesemaker Maja Binder. Originally trained in Switzerland, Maja has been making her award-winning cheeses on the Dingle Peninsula for almost 20 years. Made in spring and autumn from locally-sourced milk, her cheeses are stone-pressed and matured in a 200-year-old storehouse. Each day, the rind is brushed with whey, as flavours develop within a truly individual environment.
A small home-based operation, Alison at Clonakilty Chocolate likes to keep things simple. Her small team in west Cork uses Fairtrade Ghanaian cocoa beans with natural sweeteners and dairy alternatives to create artisan truffles and rich slabs of chocolate. Her Wild West chocolate, made with a pinch of Irish salt and Achill seaweed, is truly a taste of the Wild Atlantic Way. Join in a workshop to learn the process from roasting to tempering.
Image via Shells Café
Inside its cheery blue facade, you'll find the owners Jane and Myles Lamberth experimenting with new recipes and serving up their wildly popular breakfast salads. After travelling the world, the couple opened their seaside haven in Strandhill, a beach known for its amazing surf. Here locals and visitors are happy to queue for dishes like Persian couscous with grilled chicken, slow-cooked beef briskets and rainbow trout with barley risotto.
At Lisdoonvarna, Peter and Birgitta Curtin operate one of the great European smokehouses. Here you'll find superb smoked salmon from Clare Island in County Mayo, alongside locally-caught mackerel and trout. Skill and patience are essential to do justice to this quality ingredient - and this duo aren’t short of either! Fish is smoked on-site using unique marinades and infused woods, resulting in a sublime and unforgettable culinary experience.
Explore more foodie gems along the Wild Atlantic Way here, time your visit to coincide with one of the many great food festivals, or join a food trail like this one in west Cork. If you’re enjoying our Shaped by the Sea series, continue on to Sounds and Sights.