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Hi Bold Bakers!
For my Summer Holidays this year I decided to take an extra long trip to Europe to see my family and get in some much needed R&R. For those of you who have watched my videos you will know that I am very much Irish, born and bred. In my new series, Gemma Eats…I’m excited to share a travel food guide of my culinary adventures.
WATCH MY TRAVEL FOOD SHOW
I am from a small town called Wexford (Irish: Contae Loch Garman) which is a county located in the south-east of the Republic of Ireland, in the province of Leinster. Wexford is located at the mouth of the River Slaney. I usually tell people it is below Dublin in the corner of the country.
From my experience talking to people from all over the world, I feel like one misconception about Ireland in general is that we might be a bit behind the times in our culinary ways. One of the reasons I wanted to feature Wexford on Gemma Eats is because that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m here to dispel this rumor and shine a light on what amazing culinary experiences you can have in my country.
You might think that in a country where it rains 13 months out of the year it can’t have an upside but it does. Rain gives us the lush, green landscapes we are famously known for. Endless fields of green grass means our live stock gets to graze happily outside everyday on fresh grass. Happy, roaming and well-fed animals yield amazing tasting meats and dairy like milk and cheese.
In Ireland we are incredibly fortunate to have some of the best produce in the world on our doorstep. Our dairy, like Kerrygold Butter is second to none and is so well known it is sold all over the world. I buy it in the U.S. and use it whenever I can in my baking. It is the same price as local Californian butter so it’s a no brainer to me.
Also, being on an Island we are surrounded by an ocean that yields us amazing fresh fish, shellfish and of course world famous Dublin Bay Prawns. Fun fact, “Scampi” can only technically be called scampi if it is made with Dublin Bay Prawns. I was fortunate to have a mum that cooked fish and seafood for us every week, and cooked it perfectly which is the secret I think.
There are a few traditional dishes and baked goods that I have to eat while I’m home as they are just not the same outside of Ireland and one of those is a Traditional Irish Scone. Now you can’t swing a cat in Ireland without hitting a place that serves scones, it’s where you choose to go is the trick. I ventured to Rosslare Strand, which is a small village and seaside resort 15 minutes outside Wexford Town, bound for Kelly’s Deli. Kelly’s Deli is just a stones throw from its sister establishment, Kelly’s Hotel .
Just a little back backstory on Kelly’s Hotel. Families from all over Ireland spend their Summers here year after year. Being from Wexford, my family celebrated many special occasions including my Holy Communion when I was 7 years old. On this latest trip, My dad, husband and I had an incredible meal in their La Marine Bistro but I’ll save that story for another time.
Now like me, my husband, Kevin, loves a good scone, and although the Irish eat them on a daily basis in Ireland with a cup of tea. They are something that I try to save for special occasions as I’m not 25 anymore and I gotta make sure the calories are worth it. But Kelly’s scones are the reason why I’m here. Not only are they as big as your hand but they’re a dark golden brown which is the way I like them. Considering it was a special occasion we didn’t just butter our scone, but piled on the jam and freshly whipped cream because life is too short not to.
Everything Kelly’s Deli serves is baked nearby. You’ll find fresh loaves of Irish Soda Bread, breakfast danish, flakey croissants and other goodies made from scratch.
We spent a lot of time in Rosslare as kids so it is always nice to go back. Considering I was in the area and feeling a bit nostalgic, I wanted to take Kevin to a restaurant we visited regularly as a family…
The Lobster Pot in Carne is a part of the fabric that makes Ireland so special. Every Irish Pub has a unique character that makes each one unlike any other. For years, visitors from far and wide along with locals like my family have gone out of their way to make a trip to The Lobster Pot. Anne Hearne, and her husband, Ciarin, have owned The Lobster Pot for 33 years and it’s still an institution.
After a look around for old times sake I got straight down to business and just started listing off dishes I had been craving. That’s the beauty about revisiting these places as a grownup, I can order as much as I like….
No matter where I am in the world when I see Seafood Chowder on the menu, I’m getting it!!!
Also, local Crab Claws in garlic butter are something I can never say no to. They are just like the ones my Mum used to make for us when we would go on Summer Holidays to Rosslare.
But I came to the The Lobster Pot with one thing in mind, Crab Mornay!
When we were young my whole family of 7 would head to the Lobster Pot and sit in the same large booth that could hold such a big family. I actually checked and the booth is still standing. As far as I can remember the majority of us ordered crab mornay every time we went there. Carne is close to a few fishing villages where they would get local, fresh fish and seafood to serve their guests. During the Summer months in Ireland the days are bright and long and places like the Lobster Pot are full to the brim of locals and travelers looking for good food and the craic!
The world has become so filled with fast food chains and large restaurants but it’s still nice to see a family run place…especially one that has been around so long.
Even though my seafood lunch was epic, I was still on the hunt for more great Eats to show you and I knew just the thing…
Now I know a convenience store doesn’t seem like the kind of place a food lover should be but don’t let looks deceive you. Petrol stations and markets all over Ireland sell something that the mention of the words transports you bang to your childhood, and that’s a 99!
What is a 99? It’s a soft serve ice cream with a Cadbury Flake in it. Now you might be thinking, “what’s the big deal about that?” It’s not about the ice cream, it’s food memories. It’s beach vacations, family fun and Summer holidays. No childhood would be complete on the Emerald Isle without experiencing a 99 on a sunny…ok, more likely a rainy Summer’s day.
Ireland isn’t always thought of as a food destination but whether it’s freshly baked goods, seafood or even a simple dessert, you’ll find some of the best food you’ve ever had.
Coming up Next Week on Gemma Eats…
I enjoy a traditional Irish Breakfast…
Find out what a Folacht Fia is…
And see me brave the elements to enjoy the best fish and chips.
Watch The Recipe Video!
Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.