Thursday, June 25, 2009

We're doing our Independence Day and Canada Day range of hampers to celebrate the 4th of July and 1st of July respectively. We are aware of a few gatherings across Ireland for the celebrations. In Belfast there is an Independence Day Party at the US Consulate, whilst in Groomsport there is the Eagle Wing festival.

The following is taken from There are some great pictures on tyhe site of last years parade with the big American cars and the strange sight of so many star spangled banners flying in a small coastal village.

The Eagle Wing

The Eagle Wing Festival celebrates our links with America during the 4th of July celebrations. In 1636 an emigration ship called Eagle Wing sailed out of Groomsport taking 140 Presbyterians in search of a new life in the New World.

Although they did not reach their destination and were forced to return home after two months at sea, the Eagle Wing was the spark that lit the flame of emigration to the New World. Since then several million people have left these shores, taking with them their culture and traditions. We have become familiar with American Culture, but in Groomsport there is special reason to celebrate it.

The Festival aims to foster good Community Relations between neighbours, whether they live next door or 3,000 miles away in America. The event includes open-air concerts, a carnival parade, talks and workshops and much more.

The 2009 party starts at 7pm in Groomsport.

Canada Day or Dominion Day is on Wednesday 1st July. Obviously with a much smaller population, there are fewer of their citizens in the UK and Ireland. Get togethers to celebrate the Day appear to be at house parties or bars.

Happy Independence Day and Canada Day to all our cousins and relatives in the States and Canada.

The Irish Gourmet

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Northern Ireland Hamper

We've been asked by a number of people to put together a Northern Ireland Hamper. Obviously as the top Gourmet Hamper company in Northern Ireland they approached Irish Gourmet.

To be honest we are finding it quite difficult to assemble a hamper made of exclusively Northern Irish products. The main difficulty we are experiencing is in the chocolate department. The reason for this is that we buy most of our chocolate from the Irish Republic.

We have found chocolate to be one of those difficult products to judge. For instance when does a gourmet product stop being a gourmet product and become a retail product.
Naturally we want to showcase Irish and Northern Irish products, but if those products are too expensive without having a clear quality advantage, then it is difficult to sanction their inclusion solely on regional bias.

We'd like to hear from companies in Ulster which produce chocolates and lollipops. In the past we have encountered certain Irish companies produce such high quality and imaginative products that their products simply demand inclusion in our hampers. The companies which spring to mind are Wicklow Fine Foods and Skelligs Chocolates.

Both these companies packaging is not great, but the product quality is astounding. We keep on using them because customers who recieve them often write to us expresssing their surprise that such a high quality product was included in their hamper.

The problem is when too much money is spent on packaging and the product moves out of a particular price bracket. In the Irish Gourmet's opinion companies must consider packaging to be an advertising cost and not a product cost for at least the first 2 years as the main advantage to pretty packaging is its ability to position a product in anticipation of future sales.

The other difficult thing to source is Irish wine. We've had the obvious suggestions such as Irish owned vineyards in France or Australia. But we have never gone down that route. In our opinion everybody knows that the Irish and British can't make decent wine at a competitive price, so we use New World Wine from places like Margaret River or the Adelaide Hills. Places which we know make great wine and we don't need to pay a taste testing panel of wine experts to confirm it. Are we making some seriously wrong assumptions?

We'd love to hear from any chocolate producers or wine producers in the UK, Ireland and especially Northern Ireland who can dispel our opinions and hope that somebody reading this can prove that we are clearly mistaken in our beliefs.

The Irish Gourmet

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Balmoral Show May 2009

Irish Gourmet Hampers were presented to two members of the Northern Ireland Assembly at the recent Balmoral Show held in Belfast. Pictured below is Michelle Shirlow of NI Good Food presenting a Taste of Northern Ireland to Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Fein (MP, MLA) who is the Minister for Agriculture & Rural Development in Northern Ireland.

Also receiving a Hamper was Arlene Foster MLA of the Democratic Unionist Party, who is the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

We hope that both minister enjoy their hampers which include award winning products made in Ulster. If you wish to read more about NIgoodfood at the Balmoral Show, please visit

Friday, June 12, 2009

Update on New Irish Gourmet

Hello, we recently found the password for this little blog and decided to resurrect it. Exciting things are happening with this little company as the brand is due to be revamped over the next few months.

Irish Gourmet was set up to compliment our very first web-site which was Basketsgalore. Originally the site was meant to be the create-your-own food hamper division. Thus when people wanted to change our hampers and baskets on Basketsgalore, we would direct them towards Irish Gourmet and they would select their own items.

The concept proved successful and the website grew enormously in popularity.

Over the past 2 years it became increasingly difficult to maintain such a complex website. So many products needed to be updated with regards to imagery and pricing. The Euro/Sterling exchange was in a state of constant fluctuation and the group's priorities lay elsewhere.

However, the site has continued to gradually grow in popularity over the past 2 years, it now fills a niche in the market catering for a mostly domestic clientelle. Existing customers keep returning to us and new ones join our client list through word of mouth recommendation.

We're keen to modernise the experience and offer ever increasing value, so we'll be launching a new version of IrishGourmet shortly and look forwrad to hearing what our customers think.