Buy Irish Christmas 2021: 24 Irish food businesses

As part of our series on how to ‘buy Irish’ online for Christmas 2021, here are 24 Irish food businesses to check out for festive gift ideas.

For the larger part of two years Irish businesses have had to run the gauntlet of Brexit and Covid-19 lockdowns and this led to a growing desire among the Irish public to buy locally online as well as offline.

This led to many businesses who weren’t already online embracing e-commerce as a way to increase their reach and stay open.

In this series we will be looking at Irish fooddrinksfashion, beauty, sportstoys and health that can be bought online as well as offline for Christmas 2021.

With an estimated 70pc of online shopping purchases made overseas, it is vital we support Irish SMEs.

A new report commissioned by Sligo-based digital company Dmac Media, examined the Christmas shopping habits of 1,000 Irish consumers. It revealed that an average of 58pc of Irish adults are planning on gift shopping with Irish retailers this year.

Around 39pc of all adults anticipate spending 70 to 100pc of their Christmas gift shopping with Irish retailers.

Aine’s Handmade Chocolate

Aine Chocolate website.

Cavan-based Aine’s Chocolates does an amazing range of bars, truffles, sauces and gift hampers as well as chocolates for pretty much every occasion. This year it won a Silver and a Bronze at the Blas na hEireann Awards for its Valencia orange dark chocolate and its 70pc dark chocolate bars respectively.

Ballymakenny Farm

Ballymakenny Farm Shop online.

Louth-based Ballymakenny Farm’s wonderful Violetta potatoes have been on the best menus of the best chefs in Ireland and the business has a variety of heirloom/specialty spuds for purchase on its online store including bundles of spuds and broccoli as well as gift cards.

Bó Rua Farm

family leaning against a gate on an Irish farm.

Bó Rua Farm in County Cork produces a range of award-winning cheese on the family farm using milk from its herd of Montbeliarde and Friesian cows. Named in honour of the rust-coloured Montbeliardes (Bó Rua is Irish for ‘Red Cow’), the cheese is made from March to October when the cows are out on pasture. Its online shop sells a nice range of cheeses, crackers and chutneys. It won a Bronze this year at the Blas for its smoked farmhouse cheddar cheese.

Bretzel Bakery

Bretzel bakery online.

Famous for its sourdough breads, especially its Pain de Maison Boule which won awards at the Blas last year, Bretzel Bakery offers a handy click and collect service for its wide range of breads and pastries.

Burren Balsamics

Screenshot of Burren balsamics website.

Winner of two Blas awards this year – a Gold for its Blackberry & Thyme Pearls vinegar and a Silver for its Irish Peat-smoked white condiment of Modena – Burren Balsamics stemmed from a desire to create an array of flavours which could be used as part of any recipe, to produce not just a luxury dressing.

The Burren Butcher

Screenshot of Burren butcher website.

Based in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, the Burren Butcher achieved a Gold for its artisan 6oz steak burger. The company sells its beef, lamb and burger products online.

Burren Smokehouse

Burren Smokehouse site.

Not only can you create your own Christmas gift hamper, the Burren Smokehouse’s website has so many delicious choices based on wild salmon to choose from. The Clare-based business, just 15 minutes from the Cliffs of Moher, is definitely worth checking out this season.

Little Cheesecake Shop

Little Cheesecake Shop online.

The Little Cheesecake Shop based in Kiltimagh, Mayo, is a producer of individual artisan cheesecakes in a variety of sizes and flavours. It has a variety of Christmas specials including its Cheesecake Christmas Pudding Bombes and limited edition seasonal flavours of mini and large cheesecakes and brownies. 

Gleeson Butchers Butcher Boxes

Screenshot of Gleesons butchers website.

With 70 years butchery experience, Gleeson Butchers are masters at their craft and their Butcher Boxes are prime examples of their quality, choice and value. Gleeson Butchers’ Butcher Boxes combine the expertise of visiting your trusted local butcher with simple cooking instructions and mouth-watering food. With prices starting at €35, The Butcher Box takes all of the hassle out of hosting this festive season.  Gleeson Butchers have expanded and now have five stores across Dublin and Meath, in Artane, Balbriggan, Blanchardstown, Navan and Roselawn in Castleknock.  Click & Collect is available from each store and deliveries are only made on Fridays in an effort to reduce food miles  

Gourmet Tart Co.

screenshot of gourmet tart co website.

Gourmet Tart Co. has been offering warm gestures in the form of delicious treats for 20 years. The family business offers nationwide delivery for just €5, meaning that families across the entire country can enjoy their offering. All contents of the hampers are locally sourced with the food offerings freshly made by Gourmet Tart Co.  Founded in 2001, Gourmet Tart Co. has grown from a humble market stall into an established local producer with six shops throughout Galway City. When someone buys a Gourmet Tart Company hamper, they directly support 70 local Irish jobs and it is more important than ever to shop local and support Irish businesses. Gourmet Tart Co. has created beautiful hand-made food hampers just in time for Christmas including including the Wine Lovers Hamper €70.

Flavour Safari

Jars of cooking sauces.

Michael Onalimi set up The Jungle Food Company in Mountmellick, Co Laois, in 2015 to create his range of Flavour Safari Sauces that can be served hot as a sauce for pasta or cold as a salsa dip. They are also gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. The products include spicy tomato sauce, mild tomato and herb sauce, spicy olive and tomato sauce and pesto sauce. A key break for Onalimi was to join the Super Valu Food Academy which has helped grow visibility of his brand across Irish stores. As well as growing locally in Ireland, Onalimi has his eyes on the UK market next and has taken part in the BBC Good Food Show in Belfast, Birmingham and London.

Grá Chocolates

Gra Chocolates online.

Working painstakingly in small batches by hand, Galway-based Grá Chocolates makes mouth-wateringly delicious chocolates sticking to its principals of sourcing locally and sustainably. For a seasonal treat check out its Grá chocolate baubles which are available online to pre-order. This year the business won Gold at the Blas for its Grá Chocolate Box.

Higgins Butchers

Higgins butchers online.

We have it on good authority to check out Higgins Butchers’ smoked beef burger for which last year won Gold at the Blas in the burger style category and especially its porterhouse steak steeped in whiskey. The Sutton, Dublin, company delivers nationwide, including Northern Ireland.

James Whelan Butchers

James Whelan butchers website.

Winning Gold at last year’s Blas for its butterfly leg of lamb, James Whelan Butchers in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, continued the tradition by winning a Gold this year for its Mamma’s Meatballs, a Silver for its chicken liver pate and another Gold for its slow, braised ribs.  The business is renowned for the quality of its meats, notably its focus on Hereford and Aberdeen angus beef, employing dry-age methods. The company, now into its fifth generation of farming, butchering and retailing, has been an outlier for online shopping for many years and as well as online sales and delivery offers gift certificates.

Multyfarnham Cookery School

Woman chef cooking in kitchen.

Perfect for that foodie in your life! As well as offering gift cards for a range of cookery classes as well as classes on how to set up a food business, Multyfarnham also sells its own Sri Lankan curry powders online. Founded by Kamalika Ranasingha, Mullingar-based Multyfarnham Cookery School caters for culinary tourists, team-building activities and one-to-one classes.

Oriel Sea Salt

Oriel sea salt website.

Oriel Sea Salt picked up a Silver at the Blas last year for its Guinness Smoked Sea Salt and a Bronze for its Roe & Co Whiskey Smoked Sea Salt. As well as salt for cooking, it also sell various health products based on magnesium and other marine extracts.

Rebel Chilli

Rebel Chilli website.

Cork’s Rebel Chilli picked up a Gold at the Blas this year and last year for its Korean BBQ Marinade. As well as selling a range of delicious sauces and relishes online, the site is also a haven for some really tasty recipes.

Ridgeway Wagyu

Ridgeway Wagyu website.

Famed for its melt-in-your-mouth delicious Wagyu beef, Ridgeway Farm in Wicklow picked up a gold at the Blas last tear for its Wagyu fillet. It says it is the only farm in Ireland producing olive-fed Wagyu renowned for an intense marbled appearance which results in a tender and juicy meat with a distinctive, delicious flavour. It offers a free delivery service in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare.

Skeaghanore West Cork Farm

Skeaghanore farm website.

Winning Gold in the cured meat category for its hot oak smoked duck breast this year and last year at Blas, Skeaghanore West Cork Farm has a tradition of selling quality duck since they started in 1994 with 30 ducks. Living closes to Roaring Water Bay, they claim the salt air effect adds a lovely flavour to its Pekin duck breed.

The Scullery

The Scullery website.

Based in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, The Scullery picked up Gold at last year’s Blas nah Eireann Irish Food Awards for its Guinness Sticky Onion Marmalade. The business makes a range of sauces and relishes that are healthy and are free from additives and preservatives. Check out its Christmas range as well as its gift vouchers and store credit.

St Tola

St Tola website.

St Tola, makers of a variety of artisanal goats cheeses, was among many businesses that embraced online once the Covid-19 crisis struck, offering a range of St Tola Cheeses and three different selection boxes; the latest of which is a Clare Brunch Box, offering a great selection of goods from around the Banner County. Its cheeseboards and cranberry logs are also now available. The business picked up a Silver in the goats cheese category at the 2021 Blas na hEireann Awards.

Tom Durcan Meats

Tom Durcan website.

Operating out of the English Market in Cork since 1990, Tom Durcan Meats also operates an online shop to buy meat boxes, steaks, joints, you name it. The company picked up Gold at the Blas last year for its sliced cooked spiced beef and this year (2021) achieved a  Bronze for its dressings, a Gold for its traditional spiced beef abd a Bronze for its chimichurri dressing.

Velvet Cloud

Velvet Cloud website screenshot.

Michael and Aisling Flanagan have been producing a range of creamy, digestion-friendly sheep’s milk products on their farm in Co Mayo where the family have been farming for generations. Milk from their flock of dairy ewes, grazing on grass and clover pastures, is used to make the handmade yoghurts and cheese products. 

Wild Irish Seaweeds

screenshot of Wild Irish Seafoods website.

Wild Irish Seaweeds Ltd based in Ennis has been harvesting wild organic seaweed from the west of Ireland for more than 100 years through four generations of seaweed harvesters. The business sells a range of food products including seasoning, as well as skincare products and gift packs, including wellness and skincare gift boxes.

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

Recommended