Authentic Ireland: Food Tours and Herb Scones. Learn how to make delicious savory, herb scones with a fresh chive cream and smoked salmon. This is the perfect recipe for brunch and should be shared with friends!
Back in January, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Ireland with Tourism Ireland, Bake From Scratch magazine and Williams Sonoma. We were there for 8 days and had so many incredible experiences. It’s always been a dream of mine to visit Ireland. I had always heard how incredible and beautiful it was and I knew I would have the time of my life!
Upon my arrival in Dublin, we hit the ground running! Our first adventure was a bakery tour! What better way to get acquainted with Dublin and baked pastries?! It was the most delicious way to start our adventure!
Joanne Peat, owner of The Bakehouse
With every stop, we were able to meet the bakery owners and taste some of their most popular menu items. It was so amazing to learn about their stories, their backgrounds, how they got started and to see and taste the fruits of their labor.
Caryna Camerino, owner of Camerino Bakery
One of my favorite stops along the tour was Bread41, where, along with an incredible lunch, we got to spend time in the kitchen with owner and founder Eoin Cluskey. He showed us how to roll croissants, shape their signature bread and let us experience their bakery firsthand. I was familiar with Bread41 prior to our trip and I was so happy we got to stop in and spend some time there. Bread41 specializes in long fermented sourdough breads, which are made using traditional methods and just a few simple ingredients; flour, salt, water and of course, time. All of their breads are handmade over two days using organic flour and other wholesome ingredients including nuts, seeds, grains and dried fruit.
Each day in Ireland was filled with so many great adventures. We traveled to a new hotel or castle almost every day and, it just got better and better. We stayed at the following places: Powerscourt Hotel, Castlemartyr Resort, The Trident, Adare Manor, Ashford Castle and Clontarf Castle. Every stay was magical and beautiful.
Because it’s not even feasible for me to write about everything we did, let’s focus on the amazing food tours we participated in and a baking class at Ballymaloe Cookery School.
Food Tours in Ireland
I’m a huge foodie so I love checking out the food scene when I’m traveling and Food Tours are a great way to taste your way through a region or city. Traversing Ireland’s geographic regions, we tasted our way through Ireland’s Ancient East and Wild Atlantic Way with food tours in both Cork and Galway.
William from Fab Food Trails led our food tour in Cork city and our first stop was a restaurant called Rocketman. Rocketman has humble roots and got their start at the local Farmer’s Market. Everything they make is locally and sustainably sourced and their cuisine focuses on layering incredible flavors. We tried their delicious lab meh and misch with flat bread which was not only delicious, but also healthy. From there, we moved to the historic Imperial Hotel, which is the oldest operating hotel in Cork. There we had Barry’s Tea (which started in Cork!) and some delicious scones served with whipped cream.
Enjoying tea in Ireland is steeped in tradition and I loved all of the variations we saw in tea service on this trip. Scones are a standard in most places with tea. Personally, I enjoyed them most with incredible Irish butter and jam. Ireland has world renowned butter that is worth the visit alone.
The English Market
Our last stop was The English Market, which felt a lot like Pike Place Market in Seattle and Reading Terminal Market here in Philadelphia. Filled with a variety of merchants, the English Market has been around since 1788. It’s one of the oldest covered markets (and one of the best) in Europe and is a significant food destination in Cork. We sampled spiced beef, wine, and smoked salmon and oysters from K O’Connell Fishmongers. Seafood has become a huge part of the culinary landscape of Ireland and is really shaping the way that chefs and restauranteurs craft their menus.
The English Market was where I was inspired to create my Irish Cheese board that I will be demoing on March 8 at the Columbus Circle Williams Sonoma in NYC (come see me demo!). Chock full of vendors that sell incredible local cheese, accoutrements and meats, it fueled my desire to bring you all a cheese board that really brings to life the Emerald Isle.
Galway City Food Tour
Let me just say, I was absolutely blown away by the food in Ireland – it is steeped in tradition while also making a name for itself as a top culinary destination. Our Galway city food tour itinerary was put together by Connemara Pub Tours and our first stop was at Tartare Cafe. Tartare Café serves artisan coffee, freshly baked pastries, sourdough sandwiches, salads and their signature dishes of oysters and beef tartare. We had the great honor of meeting Chef and owner JP McMahon (recently featured in Food + Wine), one of Ireland’s most celebrated chefs. JP McMahon is a chef, restaurateur and author. He is culinary director of the EatGalway Restaurant Group, which is comprised of Aniar, (a Michelin Starred restaurant located in Galway’s West End), Cava Bodega, and Eat Gastropub. He also runs the Aniar Boutique Cookery School.
I loved his philosophy on food and cooking. Food at his restaurants is product driven; they look to nature to be inspired. We tasted the cheddar scones, the oysters, the tartare and a few other dishes. Everything was incredible. If you are ever in Galway, I highly recommend a stop in to Tartare.
Galway City Food Tour
I also highly recommend a stop in to Murphy’s Ice cream! The brown bread ice cream was so good and their Dingle sea salt is the most popular. I loved it!
Throughout our entire trip, I loved that we traveled to so many places where food has helped put them on the map for the modern traveler: County Wicklow, Cork, Kinsale, Galway, Kylemore Abbey and so much more. The best part of the trip, aside from the food, was meeting the many amazing people who are changing the food landscape and learning their story. The people of Ireland were so kind, welcoming and passionate about everything they do. Every vendor, restaurant owner, merchant and baker had the same passion and love for what they were doing.
Ballymaloe Cookery School
Chances are, you may not have heard of Darina Allen, but she has become one of Ireland’s most beloved cooks, educators, authors and food champion since she started the Ballymaloe Cookery School back in 1983. We had the great honor of meeting Darina Allen and spending time baking in the Ballymaloe Cookery School kitchen. They taught us how to make Irish soda bread and scones, both of which are very traditional Irish recipes. The time spent here in the kitchen is what inspired my scone recipe below and you won’t want to miss reading about the special technique they taught us to keep the scones light and fluffy.
Along with me on this incredible journey were four amazingly talented bloggers: Zoe, Allie, Kylie and Kayla. Be sure to follow the whole group to see more of our amazing trip and learn how you can plan your own adventure to Ireland. Speaking of…
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Herb Scones with Chive Cream and Smoked Salmon
This recipe is inspired by the food tours we attended while in Ireland and the incredible, once in a lifetime, baking class at Ballymaloe Cookery School. While at Ballymaloe, we learned how to make their sweet white scones recipe. My recipe uses the technique I learned from Ballymaloe and is inspired by the cheese scones we tried from JP McMahon while in Galway and the smoked salmon we tasted from KO Connell Fishmongers while on the Food Tour with Fab Food Trails in Cork. I hope you enjoy!
Herb Scones with Chive Cream and Smoked Salmon
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) baking powder
- 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) cold unsalted butter cubed
- 6 large (300 grams) eggs split
- 1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 240 grams) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (16 grams) plus 1 to 1½ tablespoons (2 to3 grams) finely diced fresh chives (seeNotes), divided
- 1 cup (240 grams) all-natural Greek yogurt
- 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) fresh lemon juice
- smoked salmon to serve
- Garnish: olive oil(see Notes), fresh dill
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add cold butter, and using your fingers, rub into flour mixture until butter is pea-size. Make a well in center of flour mixture.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 4 eggs (200 grams, ½ cup (120 grams) milk, and ½ cup (16 grams) chives; add to flour mixture. Using your hand like a claw, mix together just until combined. Add up to remaining ½ cup (120 grams) milk, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) at a time, if needed. (Dough should be wet and sticky.)
- In another small bowl, whisk remaining 2 eggs (100 grams). Brush tops of scones with egg wash.
- Bake until golden brown, 14 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- In another small bowl, whisk together yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, and remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons(2 to 3 grams) chives. Serve scones with chive cream and salmon. Garnish with oil and dill, if desired. Scones are best served the same day.