Our Spotlight section features Irish food businesses and individuals who focus on locally produced products.

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John Egan from Irish Taste Club

Irish Taste Club, founded by John Egan, exports boxes of artisan Irish foods internationally as a monthly subscription service.
Can’t make it to Ireland? Bring a taste of Ireland to your front door.

In his own words…

What are the advantages of producing artisan food in Ireland?
We have a growing band of artisan producers. It's a very exciting time in the Irish food scene, the level of innovation and creativity is really world class, many of our producers are winning multiple European and international awards for their creations. We give people in the US a chance to get involved in Ireland's food revolution, as Darina Allen put it. Unspoilt, unpolluted environments like Ireland are becoming rarer and rarer in the world. This gives us the advantage of having world class ingredients to match. Here in Ireland we know exactly what goes into our food because most of the time we grow all the ingredients here ourselves. 

Do you have any favorite memories about food as you were growing up? Was there anything always being prepared around the house?
We have a beef farm in in the west of Ireland in county Galway outside Ballinasloe, famous for its horse fair which is the oldest in Europe. We were surrounded by cooking and food growing from as early as I can remember. I distinctly recall my Grandmothers brown bread, she never used any measurements or instructions but it just seemed to taste amazing always. That's what we grew up on and we loved it!
John Egan and Danny Meyer
What's the history of your business?
We are a recent start up, our first subscription boxes went out in January and have been getting an overwhelming response so far. It all started for me when I graduated from finance in the University of Maynooth in county Kildare in 2011. Ireland was in the depths of the recession so there wasn't too many jobs at that time, so I decided to do something different, separate myself from the crowd and have a bit of adventure as well. I applied for a finance internship in Shanghai and was lucky enough to get it.

While there I managed to get a full-time roll in a boutique strategy consultancy in Beijing working for some influential business figures in that region and learned a lot from them.

I worked on many projects including ones in the food and beverage industry for large corporations. I learned a lot about market trends and began to get a different perspective on Ireland and what really makes us unique. I wanted to return to Ireland and learn more about the industry so I applied to Kerry Group to learn the ropes of the food industry and with the growing demand for high end Irish artisan produce abroad the Irish Taste Club was born.

Do you see the Irish food landscape having changed since the Celtic Tiger hit, and if so, how? Are the Irish expecting more from their food now?
Since the Celtic tiger more and more Europeans came to Ireland to work and began having an influence on our cuisine. This has definitely played a role in the change of Ireland's food and consumer trends.

But ironically if we fast forward from the Celtic tiger I think it was actually the recession that has played a key part. It has helped people take stock and realise what they are really passionate about and in many cases in Ireland that's food. People are going back to their roots, food production is what Ireland was really famous for.

Any interesting business plans in the works?
We are a start-up company so everything is new and exciting. We will be attending events throughout the year in the US so that will be interesting for sure. We just launched our recipe eBook that people can download for free on our site. It’s got some great recipes and exclusive interviews with the award winning makers behind our products.

Are there any points you'd like to drive home about your business?
Irish Taste Club is an Irish Artisan food monthly subscription service. We hand-pick the best products from Ireland's independent producers and deliver it to US customers every month. We give people in the US a unique chance get an Irish farmers’ market straight to their door and taste the best Ireland has to offer. For producers, we give them a chance to get market exposure and showcase their products to a new, potentially huge audience and in many cases we give them their first online sales and exports.

As a farmer's son from the west of Ireland, I'm really proud to be involved in something that will showcase the quality Ireland has to offer and make a real difference to the Irish economy along the way. 
Join our club at www.irishtasteclub.com

Irish Taste Club Basket

Taste of Ireland sample boxes

  • Maria Lucia Granola Cranberry
  • Keogh’s Shamrock and Sour Cream
  • Foods of Athenry Just Oats Flapjacks
  • Skelligs Citrus Truffles
  • SD Bells Tea – Belfast brew
  • Newgrange Gold Canola Oil with Chilli and Garlic.

  • O’Donnells Mature Cheese and Onion Flavour
  • Follain orange marmalade whiskey
  • Red Rooster Farmers Friend Coffee
  • Harnett’s raspberry vinegarette
  • Our Daily Bread Soda Bread mix
  • Atlantic Chilli and Garlic Sea Salt
  • Cocoa Bean - Rose and Pistachio Chocolate

  • Ditty’s Smoked Oatcakes
  • Follain Blackcurrant Jam
  • Boutique Bake Lemon Drizzle Cake
  • Cocoa Bean drinking chocolate
  • Clare Jam Apple Garlic and Ginger
  • Wild About Nettle Syrup
  • Foods of Athenry Gourmet Sodabread Toasts with Honeyed Almond and Rosemary

Irish Taste Club eBook

Download a copy of the Irish Taste Club eBook on their website, www.irishtasteclub.com for free.
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