I’m a self confessed foodie (sorry!) and when I’m abroad I have to be dragged out of the local supermarkets. I love nothing more than gawking at all the local produce, everything from the different tinned vegetables to the spirits’ aisle. When I’m at home one of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is to stroll around Dublin’s best gourmet shops, picking up a few bits and bobs and building my dinner around my loot.
God I love Mexican food and thankfully the Mexican food on offer in Dublin restaurants is improving rapidly. I still love cooking up a Mexican feast at home though, especially if I have guests. First stop will be Picado, a Mexican shop on Richmond street. I’ll pick up a jar of mole sauce (that shit has over 50 ingredients, I ain’t making it from scratch) and some real corn tortillas and then all I need is the tequila.
Everybody loves Italian, right? Little Italy is a great spot for good quality pasta, freshly cut Italian salamis and chocolate spread that’s a step up from nutella. The entrance is at the side of the building so don’t be put off if it looks like it’s closed at first. Once you get in the staff are super friendly.
Shows like The Great British Bake Off and Cake Boss have brought home baking back in fashion. If you’ve been bitten by the baking bug then Decobake is the place for you. An entire roomful of edible paints, cake moulds, pretty little cake toppers and other cake paraphernalia will keep you busy for hours.
The catering equipment shop on Pearse street supplies chefs and restaurants but it is also open to the public. It’s got all the cheffy kitchen gadgets like sous vides and mini sauce bottles or you can fall victim to the latest trends with slate plates or blow torches. It’s also great for gifts for foodie types, like proper chefs’ knives or cocktail shakers. Personally I need to have my credit card confiscated when I step foot in here.
As well as making a Mexican feast from scratch, another of my favourite ways to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon is making my own sushi. It’s not only delicious but it is a great value way to enjoy this often pricey delicacy. The key is to pick up the best quality, freshest fish you can afford and my go-to spot is Connollys fish in Rathmines. As well as some fresh tuna or salmon you can pick up whole fresh fish, homemade tartar and samphire. Next I head to Drury street to pick up the rest of the ingredients….
Any of Dublin’s Asian shops will have nori sheets, sushi rice and wasabi, but my pick is the Asia Market on Drury street which still seems to have pretty competitive pricing. It’s a must-stop on the Dublin foodie trail. As well as the ingredients for sushi you can pick up curry pastes, cheap bottles of soy sauce and all sorts of specialty Asian foods you might need for specific dishes, or you can just hang out and look at the weird and wonderful products on display.
I don’t think any foodie trip around Dublin would be complete without mentioning Fallon & Byrne. Fallon & Byrne ain’t cheap, but if you need it they will probably have it. Despite the narrow and busy aisles it’s a great place to pick up the last few items on your shopping list, or to pick up a couple of treats.
Ennis butchers in Rialto is the kind of place where you can ask for a beef cheek or a pigs trotter without getting so much as a raised eyebrow, they’re more likely to ask you for your recipe. They don’t always have the less popular cuts in stock, but they’ll get them in for you with a couple of days’ notice.
Finally, it’s time to get serious about cheese. My favourite Sunday evening meal (if you could call it that) is the mighty combo of cheese and crackers with a glass (or bottle) of fear-busting red wine. The staff at Sheridans can help you pick out something a little bit special.
And lastly, for a nice bottle of wine. My choice is Baggot street wines for its beautiful selection and friendly staff. I’ll pick up the best red wine I can afford after my day of splurging, or failing that they have an excellent range of craft beers.