Joanne Hepburn

Joanne HepburnHepburn & Co

Marshmallow maker and founder of artisan Irish confectionary brand Hepburn & Co., Joanne Hepburn, shares her Christmas food love story.

"Nobody will argue with me when I say I was born two things: an animal lover and a foodie. For as long as anyone can remember I was pretty much obsessed with both! As a small child, I played hooky from school to grow vegetables in the garden with my childhood best friend, my grandfather. In early summer, when the first broad beans arrived on our table, I often remember how he indulged my irrational hatred of them by looking the other way when I carefully removed the little seeds he had dropped in our very straight lines and shoved them in my pockets before hastily covering the holes – I do wonder if his somewhat animated head-scratching when they failed to grow was for my benefit – I like to think it was."

"I began riding at an early age and haven’t stopped since. I spent my teens in a haze of ponies and hot chocolate with my best friend, and I feel lucky to look back and remember these days as the stuff Enid Blyton books are made of – pure, unadulterated fun. And now, I have the thrill of teaching her daughter, my goddaughter to ride. With luc,k she’ll find her perfect partner in crime, too.

Of course, it was my mother, the most imaginative cook, who taught my sister and I to cook from an early age. My brother, no doubt advised quite rightly by my father early on that a house full of fiercely competitive women was all a man needed to keep himself well fed, did not get involved, but proved to be an excellent taster.

Our favourite time of year was Christmas. I think it must have been my sister who came upon Darina Allen’s Simply Christmas and introduced us to the wonderful world of edible gifts. Surely, there is no better kind? We made Christmas trees, huge, over-decorated creations which never lasted until Christmas morning; we made truffles of varying shapes and sizes, with the most potent of fillings to insure grandparents snoozed on Christmas Day.

And we made fudge: heavy, red, festive tins of it, which we are now making in the Hepburn & Co kitchen. You can but imagine the scrutiny this family recipe underwent to pass muster!

Read more Three Recipes from Darina Allen's latest cookbook Simply Delicious

So as we hurtle full steam ahead towards the festive season, it’s nice to think that families might slow down, step off the merry-go-round and hop in to the kitchen as we did as children and cook together. Nothing fancy, mind you, just something fun. With plenty of bowls and spoons for licking.


My two passions in life are animals and food so it’s somewhat inevitable that beautiful, inspirational photographs of both compete for my attention on Insta in equal measures! Here are a few of my favourites...


2. @burtown_house

3. @paulnicklen

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"Hope is empowerment, hope is a solution, hope is a game changer” - quote by @CristinaMittermeier. Yesterday, Cristina hosted a panel at @TheOhanaFest where our team discussed future collaborative campaigns around #PlasticAlchemy. Our team was excited to see how the audience reacted to our vision of hope for ocean conservation. Today, our @Sea_Legacy team will be hosting a 3D printing presentation on recycled plastic products. We will be showing Live demonstrations of the #PlasticAlchemy process at our booth and through our Instagram Stories over the weekend. I am also hosting my panel discussion today at 4 pm in the Storytellers Area at The Cove. If you are here at the festival, please join us for some ocean conversation! #TurningTheTide with @theohanafest

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Follow Joanne and all of Hepburn & Co's delicious marshmallow adventures on Instagram.