Christmas in Killarney, Part 2

Fire Juggler, Killarney This morning in Dingle, we had the Radio Kerry mobile broadcast unit in town to highlight Dingle’s Christmas shopping options.

Good as this was, it was amazing to go to Killarney this afternoon to visit our shop and see Christmas in Killarney in operation. That town operates on a totally different level, and it’s very impressive.

Santa's Grotto KillarneyNot only are there numerous events including markets, dancing competitions and a skating rink, but I came across a fire juggler (photo above) and other entertainments. They know how to throw a party.

In the national park, the committee had set up a Santa’s grotto, with a twist. Kids could go in and visit Santa, but instead of receiving gifts from the man in red, they BROUGHT gifts for children less well off than themselves. There was a huge line of people waiting their turn to deliver presents – quite a heart-warming spectacle.

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Digital Media Awards Shortlist

Digital Media Awards I received a phone call yesterday to advise me that Ice Cream Ireland has been shortlisted for the 2008 Digital Media Awards in the blogging category. It seems like the ice cream man will need to procure a tux for the event in Dublin (Feb, 2008). I’d be much more comfortable in an old jumper!

The other blogs shortlisted (and congratulations to them!) are:

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Christmas Spiced Sugar for Coffee

Christmas Latte Following on from the Winter Hot Chocolate, here’s an idea for the holidays – you can create spiced sugar to serve with coffee to your guests and loved ones for the entire holidays.

This was Sean’s idea, and he was going for a variation on a gingerbread taste to create a Christmas Latte (photo above) for our shops. The dark brown sugar makes it really tasty. Of course, as I have said, it could work in any coffee, or could even simply be added to warm milk for those off caffeine.

I am going to suggest all ground spices (as opposed to fresh) so that it will still taste good on New Year’s if you make it in the next week!

Spiced Brown Sugar for Coffee


  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 500 g dark brown sugar

What to do:

  1. Simply combine the spices and the sugar and mix very well.
  2. Add to coffee according to taste.

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Winter Hot Chocolate

Hot Cocoa My brother and I sometimes argue about hot chocolate. He likes his made with cocoa, and I like mine with melted chocolate. Cocoa is chocolate with most of the cocoa butter squeezed out, so it’s a powder. Hot chocolates made with unsweetened cocoa are light with a lot of kick (I’ve already given a recipe for Sean’s favourite – our Extreme Cocoa). Hot chocolates made with melted chocolate, are rich and silky (think hot chocolates in Paris and see this recipe).

I started wondering what happened if you joined “light with a lot of kick” (cocoa) with “rich and silky” (melted chocolate). So I made it, and both of us are happy. The recipe is below, and I’ve added a bit of cinnamon for Christmas cheer.

Murphys Hot Melted Chocolate with Cocoa Kick


  • 100 g dark (70%) chocolate
  • 40 g pure, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 140 g sugar
  • 800 ml milk
  • 1/2 teasp cinnamon
  • Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
  • Orange zest for garnish (optional)

What to do:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
  2. Mix together the cocoa, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan.
  3. Add the milk in small parts, stirring all the time, until it is smooth.
  4. Heat to a low simmer, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the warmed cocoa milk to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing all the time.
  6. It will clump at first, but keep adding in small parts until you have a smooth emulsion.
  7. Warm to drinking temperature (55C).
  8. Garnish with grated chocolate, whipped cream, and orange zest and enjoy!

Six servings.

Note: If you don’t like cinnamon, leave it away!

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Christmas in Killarney

Christmas in Killarney I spent today in Killarney, where “Christmas in Killarney” is in full swing. I really have to hand it to the South Kerry town – everyone pulls together on such events and the community spirit is immense.

They blocked off Main Street and had food markets and other traders (on again tomorrow and in two weeks time), and there was quite a buzz, in spite of the gales. The festival committee had also set up a charity kitchen/service area, and that’s where I was – giving away ice cream and hot chocolates for charity. And before you say anything – yes, people do eat ice cream in such cold conditions!

A day well spent, and I think I have a new dark hot chocolate (might appeal to Markham), and it certainly was a hit with the crowds, but more on that later…

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A Gift of Great Food

Wondering how, in rural Ireland, you might get your hands on balsamic vinegar from Osteria Francescana in Modena or some verjus? I found out via Caroline that Anne of has launched an Irish Gourmet food store, which you will find here.

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Manuscript Away!

Book I’ve sent the manuscript with the text for the cookbook off to Mercier! Very exciting. I did include a credit to the bloggers who participated with the Ice Cream Party. Now I just have to finish compiling the photos…

(The above cover, by the way, is just my mock-up, not an actual!)

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Sunday Times Mention

We got a nice little mention in the Style section of today’s Sunday Times. There is a sidebar of chef’s party picks, and Kevin Thornton suggested a 1988 Chateau d’Yqeum, a Sauternes (dessert wine), with our Honeycomb ice cream and a tart tatin. Yum!

I guess I know what I’m going to try for dessert very soon, although I would have to start saving to buy that particular bottle of wine!