Saturday, 2 March 2013

Finding, getting and delivering Irish food in Belgium


Here at 365things, I sometimes get a big goo on me for a bit of Irish food. I’ve done a quick search for mail order companies that deliver Irish goodies here to Belgium and the rest of Europe. Most of these are English companies, but they have some Irish products, or at least familiar ones, in their range. If you’re planning a St Patrick’s Day shindig, order early to make sure you get it in time. One big thing to remember: I have not ordered from all of these companies, so I cannot comment on how reliable they are, so caveat emptor.

You can find some Irish and British products in some of the larger supermarkets in Brussels and in the areas where a lot of us live, like Waterloo and Tervuren. You can also go to Stone Manor, who have shops in Waterloo and Everberg. They have some St Patrick’s Day dressing up goodies for the kids (or yourself).

If you’re not able to get to these shops or if there is something you particularly want but cannot find, check out www.justlikehome.ie, who deliver all over the world. They provide hampers, usually with Tayto crisps, Cadbury chocolates, Barry’s tea, Jacob’s biscuits or Ballymaloe relish. There are special hampers for St Patrick’s Day and Easter. Another site, www.youririshshop.com, only delivers to the UK.

These websites are more for British products: www.britsuperstore.com and www.britishcornershop.co.uk but they also deliver direct to your door.

If you want one specific product and not a week’s grocery shopping, you can buy directly from your favourite brands.

Starting off with savoury stuff, naturally, fresh products are not available on-line. If you happen to be reading this from the UK, or if you have friends or family living there and who are coming over to Belgium soon, you can get Clonakilty pudding, sausages and bacon delivered to them. I checked out Kerry foods (Denny’s, Galtee, Low Low…) and, as have a lot of fresh products, they don’t have an on-line shop. Try Jack O'Shea's butchers on Rue Franklin in Brussels for a great selection of fresh and preserved Irish food, from sausages to cheese to brown bread to sauces and chutneys, including Ballymaloe relish. 

For chocolate lovers, Cadbury’s also have an on-line shop that delivers, but only to the UK. However, Lily O’Brien’s (www.lilyobriens.ie) deliver their goodies to the rest of the world, for a price. Those purveyors of happiness (their words, not mine), Butlers, also deliver, also for a price (www.butlerschocolates.com). Tayto sell on-line and deliver to your door (www.taytocrisps.ie).

Barry’s tea have an on-line shop and they post the tea to you: www.barrysteashop.ie. I had a look at the Lyons (www.lyonstea.ie) but there is no on-line shop. I also searched for TK’s red lemonade on-line, and there is one place that sells this outside Ireland, but delivery is only to the UK: www.theirishshop.co.uk.

You could always try making your own brown bread – the recipe I use is here. I know opinion is divided, but I love coddle, so if you fancy giving this easy dish a go, you could try this recipe.

Is there any particular Irish food that you miss? Have you found it easier to find Irish products in the last few years, especially compared say with 10 years ago? What do you ask visitors to bring over to you when they come? Is there anything that you have to sample when you go to Ireland? For me, it’s a simple sandwich… there is something about how sandwiches are made in Ireland that nowhere else is able to replicate. I think it has something to do with the bread. Hubs always gets a proper triple-decker club sandwich with chips or crisps when we go to Ireland. Mmmm – I’m hungry now for a white bread sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce… with turkey, and maybe a bit of melted brie… and a little salad… with crisps on the side... 

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