According to history, the Spaniards introduced continental Europe with potatoes in the seventies of the 16th century, and two or three years later he already occupied an honorable place on the market stalls. Ireland was able to evaluate potatoes only twenty years later.
Locals quickly saw through the value of the vegetable, the simplicity of its cultivation in the local soil, and in the middle of the XVII century, the potato became, in fact, the main product in Irish cuisine.
It so happened that because of the epidemic of potato fungus and economic instability in 1845-1849, famine raged on the island. The main stream of immigrants hit the UK and America. Today, over 40 million people of Irish descent live in the USA.
US President John F. Kennedy and car magnate Henry Ford are descendants of immigrants who fled from Ireland during the Great Famine.
Potatoes are still a pillar of local cuisine.
Potato pancakes (boxty), sausages and bacon stewed with potatoes and onions (coddle), mashed potatoes with green onions, butter and milk (champ), mashed potatoes with cabbage — in the east of the country with the Savoy (colcannon), potato bread (potato bread) and the most popular fast food fish and chips (fish and chips, deep-fried fish and potatoes).
“It’s somewhat strange to watch Irish people take baked meat for lunch, and mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, french fries and potatoes in their uniforms — all in one dish” — said Alexander Kachur, IT manager, lived in Ireland for six years ..
In the last 10–15 years, the Irish gastronomic preferences have changed a lot. The Italian, Indian, Asian gastronomic traditions had a considerable influence on the modern cuisine of the country. In Ireland, there are many immigrants from China, India, and Pakistan, who have opened national restaurants and are now actively promoting their style of serving and cooking.
This can be judged, for example, by the use of seasonings and spices.
Today the most popular are ginger, juniper, garlic, chili pepper, spicy fresh herbs.
Despite the fact that Irish people have always appreciated milk and dairy products, there was practically no tradition of farm cheese making until the early 80s of the 20th century.
40 years ago in Ireland, industrial production of a single cheese was launched — cheddar.
Now the situation has changed significantly, and it was not least influenced by the fashion of French and Mediterranean cuisine. Now Ireland is full of small farms, which, advertising their goods, do not forget to mention the salty winds of the Atlantic, the rain on the mountain slopes, the abundant green of the hills and the grace of wild grasses growing in rocky areas. Perhaps they are right, because Irish cheese is something special, it deserves to be tasted.
For example, hard (45%) cheese Kulea (coolea), which makes the family of Dutch immigrants in Cork in southern Ireland. This Gouda cheese has its own unique character — nutty flavor and fruity aftertaste. Or cheese ardraan (ardrahan) with scrubbed peel.
It has a distinct earthy flavor and a sharp, almost meaty taste. Worth mentioning and blue cough (cashel blue) — farm blue cheese, which is produced by descendants of buttermakers and millers, expelled from England in the XVII century. He was the first Irish cheese with blue mold.
Young Blue cough — tight, with a spicy note of tarragon and white wine.
With maturity, it becomes soft and much more spicy.
It is no secret that Irish Pub, or, in the local manner, pub, is a way of life.
It is even considered that a pub is the only type of business that cannot be burned out here.
“When I first arrived in Ireland, my first acquaintance with the management took place in the pub,” recalls Alexander. — It was a Friday evening, and almost all the staff gathered in the pub.
This is one of the local traditions — on Friday they go to the pub with work colleagues, and spend the weekend with family and friends.
Concept pub culture — this is not only a drink without snacks and long, intimate conversations. Live music is played in good pubs in the evenings, and groups of local residents often perform as musicians — most often for free.
I knew a top manager who played the violin in one of the pubs of his town.
There are a lot of such groups.
Search the web for group records Dubliners, to get an idea of the atmosphere in good pubs. «
What do people drink in local pubs? Beer and whiskey.
And stouts they even drink at oyster festivals. Besides Guinness there are other beers in Ireland — for example Beamish.
This is the only stout that is brewed exclusively here. Beamish has a mild flavor with distinctive notes of chocolate and malt.
Good and very specific variety Smithwick’s — strong red ale with a big frothy hat, without excessive bitterness.
The local whiskey no less bright national character.
For Irish whiskey is characterized by triple distillation, non-use of peat in the production and a unique blend, when the whiskey is mixed in different years, but from the same manufacturer.
Toasts in Ireland are not very accepted, but if you want to pass for your own and make a pleasant Irishman, then drink health. slainte or say Bas! This is a shortened version of a longer toast: «Happiness, health and death in Ireland.»
They say that this wish appeared just at the time of the Great Potato Hunger and they were addressed by immigrants, wishing them to return home someday.
March 17 in Ireland (and all over the world) is celebrated St.Patrick ‘s Day — the main Irish national holiday. The name of St. Patrick in Ireland is connected with many legends.
One of them tells that he is using clover-trefoil (shamrock) explained the Irish concept of the Holy Trinity.
Since then, the green shamrock and the green in general have become symbols of Ireland, and on St. Patrick’s Day, the Irlans attach bunches of clover to their clothes and headdresses. Traditionally, on St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish arrange colorful carnival processions with brass bands. On this day, it is customary to cook dishes of Irish national cuisine, as well as a variety of «clover pastries» (Shamrock Cake) in the form of a trefoil, covered, for example, with a green glaze.
And all these dishes are washed down with whiskey and beer, including green — painted in Irish color with the help of food coloring.
June 16, the Irish, especially the inhabitants of Dublin, celebrate Bloom’s Day — Bloomsday. It was on June 16, 1904 that the Dublin odyssey of Leopold Bloom fell — the hero of the novel “Ulysses” by the Irish writer James Joyce. The tradition of having fun on this day began in 1954, when a group of local writers set out on the first “expedition” in Dublin, intending to visit all Bloom places.
Unfortunately, they failed. Having passed several pubs in a row, the cheerful company “quickly got on” and finished its journey ahead of time. But a start was made.
Now the owners of the pubs are arranging special Bloom programs — right down to the open-air feasts — in the style of a traditional Irish breakfast consisting of meat sausages, ham, toast, beans and puddings. In celebration of Bloomsday there is also an official literary festival, which begins a few days before the significant date.
In Dublin, there are poems, prose is read, literary awards are given, discussions and debates are held.
So take on the road a little book of Joy’s novel and hold on to one of the main landmarks — the pub Davy byrne’s pub, and you will not be lost in this celebration of life and literature.