Since Wednesday 2nd December, the National Craft Fair has been running in the RDS, finishing up this evening, Sunday, 6th December. I was there on both Thursday and Saturday, so I got to have a really good look at all the wonderful craft stands as well as spending a large amount of time wandering around the Food Emporium, sampling it's many delights. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see any of the cooking demonstrations as I was in serious Christmas shopping mode, and having caught a couple of them last year I was disappointed I missed them. Here are just a few of my favourite stalls;
Harry's Olde Sweet Shop - This is a new business recently set up by Helan Reddin and Nikki Lawless. As you can see from the picture, they have a large range of old fashioned sweets such as bullseyes, sour apples, kola cubes and so on. Their bullseyes were some of the best I've tasted. They are also able to provide jars of sweets for special occasions, such as weddings and birthdays, with customised labels. They have no permanent base yet but can be contacted by phone: Helen - 086 3841300 or Nikki - 086 3892872.
Natasha's Living Foods - I first encountered this company in my local independent supermarket. They specialise in making delicious, healthy foods. They have excellent chocolates, as well as a range of crackers made from sprouted grains. This year I spotted a new addition of "Cheezy" Kale snacks. This is quite possibly the tastiest way I've ever eaten kale, they were yummy and very moreish. They also had their usual selection of hummus, cakes and confectionaries. If you come across them I would highly recommend giving their goods a try.
Italian Fields - These guys are my bargain of the fair. They were selling Italian goodie bags that contained a bottle of wine, a large lump of organic parmesan, a chunk of prosciutto, a slab of pancetta and a foot long salami, all for €59. The salami is delicious and the parmesan is one of the best I have ever tasted. I am really looking forward to making some tasty treats out of these ingredients in the not too distant future. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to find out where, if anywhere, these guys can be found during the year. If anyone has any information on this can you please let me know!
Good Food Ireland had a whole section in the food hall, which was showcasing a whole range of different companies. There was an amazing Christmas pudding, several different cheesemongers, the Burren Smokehouse and many others. I sampled my way around most of the stands in that section and ended up purchasing a soft goat's cheese from Knockdrinna for both myself and my mum, as it was similar in texture and taste to Fleur Marie (or Flower Marie) which is a sheep cheese and one of our favourites.
The last couple honourable mentions I want to make, are for the Toastabags company, from whom I finally purchased their product in order to make tasty toasties in my flat and the Aran Gourmet Foods company, who make a seriously good smoked salmon (look out next year for the peat smoked!). It's just a pity that you can't get it in Dublin the rest of the year.
Did any of you visit the National Craft Fair? Did you try anything unusual or try something spectacular? Did you manage to catch one of the demonstrations and was it any good? Please let me know, that way I can keep an eye out for them next year.