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Wedding Gift Ideas For Food Obsessed Friends

We’ve all been there - you’ve got a wedding coming up and just can’t think of anything other than cold hard cash to get the happy couple. We’re here to help. We’ve scoured the island’s food tours, cookery classes, and culinary retreats for gift and gift voucher ideas so you don’t have to. So, with the post-pandemic wedding backlog bearing down on us all and more and more invites on the cards, here’s the ATF round-up of some of the best eating experiences for the food-obsessed couples in your life...

Aimsir, Kildare

We all love dinner and a show - here’s a rare experience where dinner *is* the show. Jordan Bailey and Majken Bech Bailey’s team of chefs and servers at Aimsir work with such coordinated grace you’d be forgiven for not speaking a word throughout this eighteen-course extravaganza, and just staring in awe instead. And that’s just the synchronised style they serve up each new plate with - the dishes themselves are colourful, creative works of food as high art.

Set in the stunning country estate at the Cliff at Lyons, with its lily pond and polytunnels where much of the ingredients for dinner are grown, this is about as close to fairytale escape as it gets in Ireland, and what a way to get a pair of newlyweds off on the right start. Be sure to plan well in advance as bookings get snapped up very quickly here - August overnight’s experiences and tables for July go live online on Wednesday 1st of June at 12:00.

From €680 for an overnight experience with dinner and breakfast; gift vouchers start at €100.

Cliff House Hotel, Waterford

It doesn’t get much more luxurious than the Cliff House Hotel. It's one of the shining stars of the south-east’s hospitality scene, with breath-taking sea view rooms and a Michelin-starred restaurant that’s just taken on a new lease of life with a young, female-led team. Roisin O’Connor has recently taken up the position of Executive Chef at House after stints in starred restaurants across France and London since she was just 17. Her eight-course seasonal tasting menu is anchored in the best local produce of Ardmore and surrounds - guests can expect plenty of fish from the clear blue sea overlooked by both rooms and restaurant.

Within easy access of some of the country’s best cycling via the Waterford Greenway and hiking via the Comeragh and Knockmealdown mountain ranges, this is also an ideal getaway for the adventurous. The one-night bed and breakfast package doesn’t include treatments in the on-site spa, The Well by the Sea, but you'll probably have to sync up with others for a gift this plush so get enough of you and you could add on some spa treatments too.

€785 for a sea view room, tasting menu, and breakfast for two; spa treatments from €50 per person; gift vouchers start at €100.

Aran Food Tours

The perfect choice for cheese-lovers, Aran Food Tours on Inis Mór are led by native islander Gabriel Faherty, whose Aran Goat Cheese plant is the cornerstone of this five-hour tour. The multi-award-winning dairy was established in 2011 and has gone on to develop a wide range of cheeses made from the milk of Gabriel’s 100-strong herd - McCambridge’s and Sheridan’s are just two of the Galway institutions he counts as customers.

The tour offers insights into the unique history of the Aran islands and the vital role seaweed has played in its culture and cottage industries, with a visit to artisan producer Bláth na Mara and tastings of their pesto, paté and aioli among other highlights. With the island’s top tourist hotspots of hilltop fort Dún Aonghasa, the Seven Churches site and the seal colony viewing point also included, this is an ideal all-in option for an Aran experience.

€70 per person; gift vouchers start at €20.

Causeway Coast Foodie Tours, Derry

As the site of Ireland’s earliest human settlement over 6,000 years ago, the island’s north-eastern coastline has a rich history of farming and fishing culture. Tying together the region’s past and its modern-day status as an accredited Slow Food destination, Wendy Gallagher’s Causeway Coast Foodie Tours offers a range of experiences with a major focus on sustainable farming and food production.

Setting out from Coleraine, the Coast and Country package is a six-hour affair featuring a three-course lunch and five stops with tastings of local produce like hot-smoked salmon, champ potato bread, craft beer and kelp pesto. Taking in family farms and artisan markets, the tour involves the opportunity to hear directly from producers about the local environment, its food chain, and their role as custodians of the area’s culinary heritage. Bespoke tours are also available with optional stops including a truffle-making course in Derry’s Chocolate Manor and a private tour and tasting in the Bushmills Distillery.

From £85 per person; gift vouchers start at £25.

Blackstairs Eco Trails, Carlow

Because nothing says romance quite like scrounging for chanterelles. An ideal gift for environmentally-conscious couples, this fungi-filled outing run by former Green Party TD Mary White and husband Robert builds on their forty years’ experience together revelling in and recording the biodiversity of the Blackstairs mountain range.

Starting off with coffee and an introduction to just some of Ireland’s estimated 4,000 species of wild mushroom, the Blackstairs Eco Trails tour takes off through the surrounding woodlands in search of interesting specimens before returning for a three-course lunch and an all-important guide to telling the deadly from the delicious - any of the latter found will be cooked up and eaten on-site. There’s also the option to enjoy the award-winning “shepherd’s hut” accommodation with clear skies above, so a day that started off digging through the dirt can finish up staring at the stars.

€95 per person; gift vouchers start at €40.

Kinsale Food Tours, Cork

Just half an hour’s drive outside Cork city, the gateway to West Cork is often considered to be one of the country’s food capitals, with its world-class seafood and wide range of restaurants. Since 2017, Suzanne Burns’ Kinsale Food Tours has combined her interests in marine zoology and tourism for a unique food perspective on the gorgeous coastal town.

Pairing tastes of local produce with an engaging oral history through Kinsale’s past, from Norman fort to fishing village, the two-and-a-half-hour tour takes in four stops and a range of dishes offering an overview of the best local ingredients. With the original town tour now only running midweek to avoid overcrowding, weekend options include foraging guides along the coast and cliffs, and a newly-launched picnic offering aboard a yacht.

€250 per town tour.

The Wicklow Escape, Wicklow

Pitched as a premium relaxation getaway, the mountainside Wicklow Escape resort is a former hiking hostel upgraded with all the luxuries of twenty-first century comfort. Gourmet dining is a major part of the pitch here, with a highly-seasonal menu built around ingredients grown or made within a three-mile radius - it’s no surprise to see Wicklow venison strongly featured. Head chef Mark Ahessy’s CV lists Chapter One and L’Ecrivain on it, and his curated menus across breakfast, lunch, and dinner clearly bear that quality experience.

Hot tubs and hammocks offer the opportunity to loaf luxuriously between meals, while the close proximity to mountain walks across Sugarloaf and Lugnaquilla bring the rewards of some of Ireland’s most stunning mountain views for those who can be motivated to move. The packages range from a one-night midweek stay to an all-in three-day experience including a picnic and guided walk on top of all meals and wine pairings.

From €334 per person for a one-night midweek stay; gift vouchers start at €50.

Vouchers For Restaurants Closer To Home

Because not everyone has the time, money, or energy to get away after the madness of planning a wedding, sometimes a night out nearer to home is what's needed. Luckily Dublin has a huge range of great restaurants with gift voucher options at flexible amounts. We can whole-heartedly recommend the classical quality (and prime seafood focus) of Mamó or Michael’s, buzzy hot tickets like Library Street and the relaunched Locks, or a special starry night out in Variety Jones, Bastible, or (when they're finally back online) Chapter One. Have there ever been so many good reasons to get down on one knee?

Library Street

Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen


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