Food is the glue of cultures and community. Recipes passed from one generation to the next bring people together. They remind us of who we are and where our roots lead. Certain dishes will always remind us of specific people and events in our lives. When we think of France, we think of baguettes and cheese. When Japan comes to mind, so does sushi. Guinness stout is instantly linked with Ireland anywhere in the world; that’s why their line of Irish gifts is so popular. It is about identity and memory as much as it is about the taste.
Irish weddings and holidays are where we find some of the biggest reminders that Ireland does indeed have its own culinary traditions. And those traditions are much richer and more diverse than corned beef and cabbage. If you are looking for a way to put a distinct stamp on your wedding and give your guests a reception they won’t forget, consider some traditional Irish wedding foods.
The cake is one of the lesser known Irish wedding traditions. Instead of the light, fluffy wedding cakes know in the USA, Irish wedding cakes are heavier and full of dried fruits and chopped peel. They are finished with a stiff fondant icing. Whiskey or brandy are often in the list of ingredients. People remember wedding cakes more than any other part of the meal, so a traditional Irish wedding cake is sure to make your wedding stand out. Bonus – a layer of Irish wedding cake will freeze a lot better than a standard white wedding cake if you want to save it for your first anniversary.
The starters or appetizers are heavily influenced by the time of year as well as the theme. In cold weather, a potato leek soup would be the perfect choice for an Irish-themed wedding. In warmer weather, or if you want something less likely to spill onto ties and dresses, a hearty brown bread topped with salmon is a light, delicious and very Irish bite. Salmon also harkens back to the ancient legend of the Salmon of Knowledge.
Yes, the bar is where guests will expect to find plenty of evidence of your Irish roots! This little island is indeed famous for delightful beverages ranging from the humble pint of plain stout to the richly sweet Bailey’s cream liqueur, all of which are popular Irish gifts. Whether your wedding reception is a formal, sit-down dinner or a casual barbeque, serving some of the emerald isle’s signature drinks – including tea for the non-drinkers – will definitely give the event an Irish feel.
You can include Irish trad music and Celtic decorations to give your wedding an Irish feel. And of course, Irish wedding rings are gorgeous and meaningful. Adding some Irish touches to the menu will really be the icing on the cake – pun intended!
If you’re looking for Irish gifts to give as wedding favors, you can provide people with their own traditional Irish pint glasses or Irish coffee mugs to bring home. That’s a fun option that also gives them something practical that won’t become clutter or trash down the road.