A Burren Taster Menu

We touched upon the food in A Day at the Burren, but it’s such a delicious topic that I’ve decided to serve it up as a blog all of its own. Often referred to as “the Fertile Rock”, the karst landscape of the Burren is a bountiful source of Irish flavour.

The Burren Food Trail is designed to guide you through the vast selection of local restaurants and suppliers, so you can get more than just a taste of the remarkable cuisine on offer. There are even five different “routes” mapped out to help you pinpoint any particular gastronomy that piques your appetite. Although, you can of course just pick and choose as you please, and be guided by the delicious signature dish available at each establishment.

The trail is so much more than just a list of recommendations, with each and every participant sharing a genuine passion for locally sourced produce - committing to building a sustainable future for the region.

The adventurous nature of the area lends itself to new experiences, so your culinary tour is sure to feed not just your body – but your mind and soul as well. So, without further ado, here’s my list of recommendations to feast upon when you visit the Burren.

 

Burren Smokehouse

First of all – you absolutely cannot miss a chance to experience the Burren Smokehouse, which offers up a uniquely educational eating experience just 15 minutes from the Cliffs of Moher.

 

The tasting room reveals the tricks of the trade when it comes to smoked salmon, as well as the important role the famed fish plays in the cycles of Irish mythology. The oaky scent wafting through air is sure to get you salivating, so it’s just as well that there’s a tasting session to follow all that learning.

You can purchase mouth-watering hampers straight from the smokehouse itself featuring a delectable selection of cured fish and complementary accompaniments.  

 

When we say this food is fit for a queen we’re not exaggerating – the Irish Organic Smoked Salmon was served up as a starter to Queen Elizabeth II for the 2011 State Dinner at Dublin Castle.

 

Ballyvaughan Farmer’s Market

While we’re snacking, if you’re in the mood to try a bit of everything then you have to get yourself down to a classic Burren food market, and the Ballyvaughan Farmer’s Market is in full swing on a Saturday.

 

Picture Credit - irishtimes.com

Sample everything from jam to sausages that have been locally sourced from the Burren’s distinctive landscape – and that’s just the breakfast foods! There’s an invitingly lively atmosphere as sellers and shoppers alike come together in their shared appreciation of Irish cuisine.

Whether you’re looking to dig into a hot platter, or chill out with a spread of cold meats and cheeses – there’s a snack (or five) for every occasion. The best part is that of course you can buy to takeaway – preserving a little taste of the Burren for when you get home.

 

Wild Kitchen

 

Whether you’re hungry for food or knowledge - Wild Kitchen in Lahinch is sure to satiate your appetite.

Immerse yourself in the field to fork ethos of the Burren Food Trail, as you forage the fertile landscape for tasty discoveries. Wild Kitchen offers a carefully curated range of walks which allows you to eat, cook, and taste the wonders of the landscape. Visitors can snack on edible flowers as they traverse the rocky surfaces or pick up tips on how to incorporate the 14 (!) different species of seaweed into their kitchen, as Atlantic Ocean laps at their feet.

Picture Credit - properfood.ie

After your eyes have been opened to a whole new perspective of culinary delights, you’ll be treated to a freshly foraged picnic lunch or cooking demo – giving you a real taste of the wild outdoors!

Wild Honey Inn

 

For a more refined dining experience, you can take your pick from a selection of upmarket restaurants that are dotted along the trail, including Ireland’s only Michelin Starred Pub, which shines brightly from Lisdoonvarna.

Wild Honey Inn is a beautifully 19th century establishment, which serves up sumptuously seasonal dishes amidst a warm country atmosphere, with an award-winning wine list tucked in on the side.

Their “Wild food from land and sea” is beautifully styled on your plate, featuring prime produce depending on the Burren’s current harvest – promising fresh flavours to entice your palette each time you open the menu.

 

Linnane's Lobster Bar

 

While you’ve got that Michelin guidebook open, it’s definitely worth taking a glance at Linnane's Lobster Bar which has definitely earned its spot in the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs list.

Savour the distinct tastes and textures of a fresh seafood platter in the summer, as you watch the boats pass each other in the pier – loaded with the next haul of fresh fish to be served up in the New Quay eatery. If you’ve stopped by in the colder months of the year, an equally enjoyable experience can be had tucked up next to the roaring fire inside, with a warming chowder and the occasional trad session.

 

If you want to stretch your legs after lunch, one of the Burren’s nine sites of geological importance is just a short walk away – meaning you can cram in a bit of culture for dessert. The limestone pavements and engrained fossils of ‘The Flaggy Shore’ even inspired Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘Postscript’.

 

Fitz’ Bar

 

Looking to switch up your Guinness? Fitz’ Bar at the Hotel Doolin serves up it’s very own pint of deliciously smooth red ale, known as Dooliner. The proprietors insist that the brew is hangover resistant, which is good news as you’ll need a few of them to wash down the legendary signature dish of the establishment; a tower of mouth-watering seafood known as the Trawler.

There’s always plenty going on in the background, with the lively pub being home to countless trad sessions, writer’s weekends and even craft beer festivals.

 

The casual setting and varied menu is great for kids and adults alike, and with a commitment to source 90% of their ingredients from a 90 mile radius – you know you’re in for a taste of local life!  

Hazel Mountain Chocolate

 

Picture Credits - Burren.ie

 

Surely it’s time to finish up with something sweet? Hazel Mountain is romantically nestled in the Burren Mountains, and is the only bean to bar chocolate factory in Ireland.

You can take a guided tour through the mouth-watering process and watch the humble cacoa take the form of creatively simple award-winning treats. Once you’re there you definitely have to try a cup of the hot chocolate – a potion so richly delicious that even Nigella Lawson herself is said to have uttered an audible gasp upon tasting it.

If you’re looking to get adventurous, I recommend a silky bar of dark chocolate and seaweed for an authentic flavour of the Burren, although you can always stick to sea salt and toasted almond – which is equally delicious.

If you were to go to the Burren tomorrow which of the choices above would you head to first? Let us know in the comments below!

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