Galway is a foodie’s paradise. From the Wild Atlantic Salmon in its rivers to the world-class oysters found off its shores, the rich, creamy cheeses to the wealth of incredible lamb and beef, there’s no shortage of delicious, mouthwatering food in Galway. With that in mind, here is a guide to some of the best in the area, including weekly and annual events and markets, as well as top-notch individual producers, so that next time you visit the area you’ll be all set for a foodie journey of epicurean proportions.
The best place to start on any tour of the best fresh, local food in Galway would be Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle. Executive Chef at Ashford Castle Philippe Farineau is a firm believer in sourcing ingredients locally, even foraging for ingredients like wild garlic and edible wildflowers right there on the Ashford Castle estate. In fact, most of the ingredients used in the estate restaurants are sourced from within 60km of the hotels.
The menus change daily, but you can expect such dishes as Connemara Lamb Liver at the Dungeon and Loin of Wild Venison on the menu in the George V Dining Room at Ashford Castle, as well as a comprehensive selection of Irish farmhouse cheeses. And over at The Lodge at Ashford Castle, acclaimed Head Chef Jonathan Keane has put locality and seasonality at the heart of his menus, using delicious ingredients like seafood from Galway Bay and home-grown vegetables from the Lodge’s very own polytunnels.
Offering everything from cheese and vegetables to soda bread, farmer’s markets are a great way to experience and taste locally produced food in Galway. And, as luck would have it, there are seven great farmer’s markets (Castlebar, Louisburgh, Ballyhaunis, Westport, Claremorris, Ballinrobe, and Charlestown) within an hour’s drive of Ashford Castle. Not to mention the weekly Galway Market found on Church Lane. Taking place at different times throughout the week, whenever you get a craving for delicious local food, just hop in the car and explore. Best to get there early in order to snap up the prime produce.
The Galway Food Festival is a wonderful annual celebration of local food in Galway. With markets, tastings, demonstrations, stalls, talks, and workshops to enjoy, as well as the involvement of many of the top local producers and restaurants, this is an incredible introduction to locally produced food in the area.
Killeen Farmhouse Cheese is making it quite a name for itself. With numerous awards, not to mention winning the title of “Supreme Champion” at the 2014 Irish Cheese Awards, these locally made cow and goat’s milk curd cheeses are a must-try. Available in several varieties, Killeen cheeses can be found in Galway City in Sheridan’s Cheesemonger (where you can pick up some handmade Irish crackers to go along with it) and McCambridge’s.
A previous winner of the “Best Use of Sustainable Fish Award” at the Good Food Ireland Awards, Connemara Smokehouse creates truly sensational smoked wild Irish fish, including salmon, tuna and mackerel. Visit them at Aillebrack Pier to stock up, or during the summer months, take a tour of their smokehouse to learn more about how they create their famous smoked fish.