Fab Food Trails: a foodie must-do in Dublin
For my boyfriend's birthday (and as a present for myself), I booked a food tour of Dublin with Fab Food Trails. Before confirming, I made sure with the organising team that it would be an interesting activity for a born and bred Dubliner, and they said yes. I just had to trust them.
So, last Saturday, we made our way to the sunny city centre to meet the tour guide and the visitors of the day. There was another Irish couple from Sligo, and the rest were visiting tourists. None of us knew exactly what the tour entailed, as the description is quite vague, which is for the better in my opinion. Our worry was that we would be brought to the most obvious places, i.e. Fallon & Byrne, a whisky tasting, a bakery... Some of these places were mentioned and we only visited one, but that didn't bother us one bit as it was the landmark cheesemonger Sheridan's, that I am a huge fan of. Their counter in my local Dunnes is my happy place - I am French, nothing surprising there.
Far from stating the obvious, our guide, a lovely lady from Ranelagh - your typical South Dublin lady, who seemed to know literally everyone in the streets of Dublin - went through the history of Irish food. She explained that although there is no real Irish cuisine - all stews, soda breads, barmbracks and Guinness pies set aside - Ireland is a land of great agriculture and therefore, a land of great produce and dedicated producers.
The Irish cuisine per se is far from the likes of Italian, French or Asian cuisines, but I couldn't have agreed more with her on the produce matter: I never had a bad meal in Ireland. This is something I wish I could say about France, where you can probably find the best food on earth but also get served with some truly pathetic meals. I remember the first few times I visited Ireland, I was stunned by the quality of the food I found there. To be fair, Ireland also has an awful lot of fast food and deli counters at every corner. But especially when I travelled the country, I found that the one and only pub in a small town always offered a delicious homemade soup and brown bread and butter on the menu. Nothing fancy or pretentious, just some fresh fish with steamed vegetables and roast potatoes for example. Now, as every other hipsterised city on the globe, Dublin sees another trendy cafe or restaurant open its doors almost every week, and the place is turning into a foodie heaven, for my very own joy.
I do not want to spoil the tour as not knowing where we were going was a big part of the fun, but I can say that I will be back in almost all the places we visited, which included heavenly oysters, a scrumptious bagel and one of the best hot chocolates I have ever tasted. I can't wait to have visitors to have an excuse to do it again. The price of 55 euros per person may seem like a lot, but the experience is worth every penny overall. If it wasn't already the case, this tour only made fall further in love with the city that I can proudly call my own.