Treat yourself or a loved one this Christmas: food gifts from Monaghan’s artisan producers are the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Original food and drinks gifts made in Monaghan include hand-made chocolates and award-winning craft beer.
Brehon Brewhouse’s gift pack of their famous barrel aged stouts (€20) includes Crann Beatha, a whiskey cask aged stout. Also available from the Inniskeen microbrewery are 5l mini kegs (€34), so you can you can enjoy the taste of beer on-tap in the comfort of your own home, and branded glasses. Order direct from the Brehon Brewhouse for collection or delivery. Gift packs are also available from selected supermarkets and off licenses throughout the county.
If you want to nab a bottle of Old Carrick Mill’s limited-edition honey dew gin (€40 for 70cl), you had better hurry, as only 600 bottles have been produced. Infused with honey from the hives on site at the artisan distillery set in a 200-year-old flour mill on the outskirts of Carrickmacross, the gin is best enjoyed with premium tonic or ginger ale, with a large wedge of orange. Again, you can pick up a bottle in selected local stores or, alternatively, order from the Celtic Whiskey Shop for delivery nationwide. New from the artisan distiller is May Lóag whiskey, available as triple distilled, single malt and small bath peated whiskey. Sláinte!
Trish Murphy-Thom has won numerous awards for her chocolates, hand made in her small, speciality shop in the beautiful village of Glaslough in north Monaghan. Gifts such as honeycomb shards and hot chocolate bombs are perfect as stocking fillers or as a festive ‘thank you’ for a special teacher. Prices starting from €2.50 for hot chocolate sticks and up to €85 for the XXL Hamper, which features a huge selection, including award-winning home-made caramels and white chocolate shards. The shop is open for extended hours during December: 2-5pm Thursday, 10am-5pm Friday and Sat/Sun 11am-5pm. Alternatively, shop online at glasloughchocolate.net
Based just outside Monaghan Town, Pollocks’ Pickles & Preserves is a family-run affair, with Meredith and Glenys Pollock producing an array of delicious preserves and chutneys based upon recipes passed down through the generations. Sets are presented in dinky jute gift bags and include festive favourites, such as their delicious Christmas Jam. From €5 for a single jar gift to triple bags and hampers for €15.
Also, check out chef Val O’Kelly’s Subh Fraoc Bán homemade artisan jams and relishes cooked in small batches to retain the essence of their natural ingredients. The Ulster Black Wholegrain Mustard and Three Fruit Marmalade are among our favourites. Available from Matilda’s in Carrickmacross and The Local in Monaghan Town, and at Monaghan Farmers Market, Fridays 10am-2pm.
Blasta Street Kitchen sauces and seasonings will add a pep to any meal, regardless of the season. Pick them up at Monaghan Farmers Market and in shops and delis throughout the county.
Last but not least, purchasing gift vouchers are a fantastic way to support your favourite restaurant in Monaghan, or gift Town Vouchers, which can be redeemed at many restaurants and cafes in Monaghan, Castleblayney and Carrickmacross.
If you are planning to have your Monaghan food gift delivered, be sure to order as far in advance as possible. Most businesses offer a minimum-contact ‘click and collect’ service, which is a great option for those who live locally.