An interesting contrast came to light last week when a new survey of Ireland’s favorite brands was announced. In contrast to the top global Irish brands, which are almost all alcohol brands, the favorite brands in Ireland are all food brands, rather than alcohol — so much for the stereotypes that the Irish are only interested in drink.
Although there are some world-famous brands (like Heinz) on the list, most are found only in Ireland!
Here’s a rundown of some of Ireland’s favorite foods — that everyone should try on their trip to Ireland — and a few helpful links to help you find them internationally. (After all, once you’ve tasted heaven, nothing else will do.)
The #1 favorite brand with Irish consumers, Brennan’s batch loaf is what most of us start our days with, but it can be something that’s sometimes difficult to find overseas.
Jacob’s Cream Crackers are either the most-boring thing in the world, or nectar, depending on who you ask. I’m actually quite partial to a few cream crackers slathered in jam. As the name suggests, they’re moister and more buttery than American crackers, and some people fill their suitcases with them when they leave after a couple of weeks vacation. Naturally, Jacobs also make a large variety of sweet biscuits (cookies), the most-famous of which are Jaffa Cakes.
The main competitor to Heinz, some people swear by Batchelors Beans, others can’t tell the difference.
Most Irish share a very sweet tooth, and a mug of tea must alway be paired with a few biscuits. Two of the top 10 favorite brands are known for their biscuits (cookies to Americans). McVities signature biscuits are Digestives and the divine Hob Nobs, my personal favorites. Back in the 1970s, a Penguin bar was considered a major treat.
Barry’s Tea & Lyons Tea
In the “olden days,” Barry’s tea (Gold Blend, Original/Green Blend, bulk) was mostly found in the south and west, and Lyons tea (regular size, bulk) was the dominant tea elsewhere, so your tea preference was an indication of where you grew up. But, these days both can be found everywhere, and it’s hard to read anything into a preference for one over the other. I grew up in a Lyons household, but over time I’ve come to see little difference between the two (both are head and shoulders above anything I can obtain in the US). Barry’s seems to be slightly easier to obtain outside Ireland, but both can be ordered online from a variety of retailers.
Though not an Irish company, some Cadbury’s products (like Dairy Milk chocolate bars) use a slightly different recipe in the Republic of Ireland than in the UK. This means that if you nip across the border to Northern Ireland and buy a bar, then compare it to one bought in the Republic, you’ll notice a subtle difference. Which is better? Well, that probably depends on which you tried first. My kids insist both are miles better than any chocolate in the US.
While it’s true that people in Ireland and the UK generally call what the rest of world regards as potato chips by the generic name “crisps,” most people in Ireland actually refer to them by the most popular brand name: Taytos. “Get us a packet of Taytos, will ya?” Drier and thinner than most chips abroad, Taytos are so popular that the company operates an amusement park, and the company logo, an anthropomorphized crisp known as Mr. Tayto, has published it’s own biography.
Such fanaticism must be tasted to be believed.
Tags: Irish food
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