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Christmas

The best Irish artisan food shops to support this Christmas

This Christmas it's easy - shop local.

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There has never been a time where shopping local is this important. 

Over the past few decades, Ireland’s wealth of producers, makers, and growers have been the foundation on which Ireland’s food industry has blossomed. These artisans have become household names, regular fixtures on menus across the country, and staples in our kitchens.

And this Christmas, they need our support more than ever. 

Many of us found their festive shopping plans cut short when Ireland went into Level Five lockdown a few weeks ago. As stressful as it was to have over forty shopping days taken away almost overnight, Irish bricks and mortar stores were hit hard. Relying heavily on footfall traffic, local businesses have suffered the most during the pandemic and as a result, they need our help. This year, consider supporting homegrown entrepreneurs while also picking up Christmas gifts from one of the many independent Irish artisan food shops below. 

Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for the foodie in your life or you want to stock your fridge with the finest of produce this Christmas, we guarantee there's an independent Irish store who would be so thrilled to help you find your perfect gift.

Rua Café and Delicatessen, Mayo

The town of Castlebar has been on the food trail for many years but the Rua Café and Delicatessen has established it as one of the very best in the west. Whether you're looking for a stocking filler, edible gifts or some delicious treats for your table this Christmas, a trip to Rua Café and Delicatessen is a must. Explore the wide range of artisan foods, cookery accessories, books, gadgets and gizmos. But if it's hunger from all that retail therapy or you're wanting to stock up on fresh festive goods, a deli cabinet provides ample choice for salads, sandwiches, pates and terrines to go. Beautifully laid out, there's also a range of freshly baked bread - they bake twice daily - scones and muffins. What's more, Rua Café and Delicatessen are also specialising in luxurious Christmas hampers found in the café space upstairs at Spencer St.

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Eleven Deli, Wicklow

Having hit the ground running with their takeaway menu, Eleven Deli has now kitted out their much-loved Greystones deli so they can swing open those front doors once again.  Located on Church Road, Greystones, Eleven Deli specialises in gourmet sandwiches, artisan cheeses, cooked and cured meats. Buying from local suppliers and supporting Irish food is what Eleven Deli is all about. Stocked in the store are some of our personal favourite products and artisan foods, Sheridan's cheeses and a carefully picked wine selection - all great for small stocking filler gifts or as part of a hamper which can be made to order by Eleven Deli. 

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Toonsbridge Dairy, Dublin 2

Cork-based cheesemakers Toonsbridge has just opened a shop on Dublin’s South Great George’s Street. If you’re in the area, you can pick up some of its cheeses made in the dairy in Cork, including ricotta, halloumi and mozzarella. There's also a range of Mediterranean products such as olives, extra virgin olive oils, cured meats, dried fruits and balsamic vinegar. The online store also does pick up and delivery in Cork and Dublin and you can have purchases couriered anywhere in Ireland.

Ardkeen Quality Food Store, Waterford

Ardkeen Quality Food Store is an independent food retailer based on the Dunmore Road in Waterford City on the South East coast of Ireland. Locally owned and managed, the business was founded by Robert and Pamela Jephson in 1967 as a small grocery store with petrol pumps out the front. Now run by their three sons, Colin, Kevin & Gerald, the business has grown in popularity and scale over the years. As an independent supermarket, they have the flexibility to buy the best fresh produce and local foods from artisan food producers that they know and trust. A truly great shop, crammed with all the best of Irish ingredients from small producers, but also an efficient and comprehensive online delivery service that makes the range available across the country. 

Decent Drinks Club, Dublin 8

Making your own cocktails sounds like fun in theory: you learn a new skill, you can control how much alcohol actually goes in and you get to shake all the ingredients together. But, in reality, making your own cocktails can be rather bothersome. We mean, do you have pickled rhubarb liquor, vanilla butter, raspberry tea and dried strawberry to hand? Instead, why not let someone else, do all the heavy-lifting and deliver a cocktail to your door? Well, that's exactly where the Decent Drinks Club comes in. From the creative minds behind Dublin's Lucky's and The Circular, Decent Drinks Club offers take-out and collection and a whole host of alcoholic beverages from craft beers to fine wines and, of course, delicious freshly made cocktails. They also deliver within 5km of their HQ at The Circular in Dublin 8. Simply place your order at decentdrinksclub.com before 2 pm for same-day delivery. 

FX Buckley Victualler & Grocer, Dublin 2

Located beside the original FX Buckley steakhouse on Pembroke Street in Dublin city centre, FX Buckley Victualler & Grocer opened earlier this year after all the country virtually shut down. The bespoke grocer sells great Irish produce like Sean Ring organic chickens, The Foods of Athenry products and more, as well as FX Buckley steaks and meat. Ahead of the festive period, the grocer is offering beautiful hampers packed with delicious treats and snacks. Presented in woven wicker baskets, the team at FX Buckley Victualler & Grocer have curated each hamper to make sure that everyone gets to enjoy a delicious treat this year. Prices start from €90 and there is a delivery service available, so call 01-568 8087 or email [email protected] for more info. The grocer on Pembroke Street is open daily, excluding Sundays, from 10 am.

Country Choice, Tipperary 

Founded by Peter and Mary Ward in 1982, Country Choice has been sourcing local foods and promoting the work of the best of Irish artisan producers ever since.  From the main store in Nenagh, their daughters, Eliza and Evie, help out and also run their own businesses: Country Choice on Tour, which travels around to festivals serving tasty organic burgers and steak, and NutShed, a raw vegan treats specialist based in in The Milk Market, Limerick, where an offshoot of Country Store can also be found. 

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Sheridan's, Multiple Locations nationwide

Anyone with an interest in cheese will be familiar with the distinctive Sheridan's green and white packaging, as Sheridan's supply their cheese to a number of retail outlets. But if you want the full experience, visit one of their shops. The one in the beautifully converted Virginia Road Station in Pottlereagh near Kells in Co Meath is the biggest, where you'll find the full range along with other Irish artisan produce. 

Did we miss an Irish Artisan Food Shop you love? Get in touch on our social channels with your suggestions on who we should feature.

READ MORE: There's a new cheese toastie and wine bar opening in Dublin this week