Think Global, Think Local

Archive - all the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.
  • Calf Island Mutton

Restaurants sourcing specialist foods from their own doorstep are in a win-win situation with their local artisans, and true provenance is becoming the way in which you establish a USP that no other restaurant can copy or emulate.

One of the great things about writing the 600 plus pages of the Food Guide is discovering just how many Irish foods remain local foods, things that you will only find in a particular town, county or region. We have used a logo – Only in County Clare, for instance, or Only in Ulster – to mark out these foods throughout the book.

• Ultimate Provenance
So, do you know about the foods that are on your doorstep, and only on your doorstep? For restaurateurs, in particular, this is vitally important because one of the undercurrents of the book is a growing trend for only serving foods sourced within a particular radius from the restaurant, and of describing them as such on the menu. This is Ultimate Provenance, doorstep foods, cooked and eaten in situ.

• Middle Calf Island
Taken to its apex, it might mean that you find a way to source something like the animals shown in these splendid photographs by Kevin O’Farrell, of Heir Island. These sheep are reared on Middle Calf Island in the middle of Roaringwater Bay, West Cork, and here they are being rounded up, marked and transported back to the mainland, an ancient practice.

• Think Global, Think Local
You can’t actually buy this lamb commercially, but with pigs being reared on islands in the Fermanagh Lakelands, and with Connemara Hill lamb winning PGI status, and with local pork and poultry production on the increase, getting precise, meaningful provenance on your menu has never been easier. So, let your influences be global, but let your foods be local.