Experience the TASTE and MADE Christmas story

THE elves in the Christmas workshops of Kilkenny’s finest food producers and craftmakers have been very busy creating lots of delicious and creative goodies to help you fill your Santa shopping list this festive season!

THE elves in the Christmas workshops of Kilkenny’s finest food producers and craftmakers have been very busy creating lots of delicious and creative goodies to help you fill your Santa shopping list this festive season!

Talented artisan food producers and designers – members of the MADE in Kilkenny and Taste of Kilkenny trails - have every possible gift you will need to help you find that special present for a loved one, and to have something tasty on your table this Christmas.

Shoppers looking for a present that is delicious, handmade, and authentic will be able to choose a MADE in Kilkenny or Taste in Kilkenny gift from a number of outlets in the city and county over the next few weeks. The MADE in Kilkenny pop-up shop is open again this year on John Street and is a really special shopping experience, with unique presents crafted by local makers. And you will find the products of many Taste of Kilkenny food trail on sale in outlets in the city and county, including the Christmas Market on the Parade, and the Mount Juliet Christmas Village in Thomastown.

According to Eoin Hogan of Trail Kilkenny, we can really help support local by buying local as much as possible this Christmas. “Not only are you getting something that is unique and special and long lasting, but you will also help the local economy and help sustain jobs in these tough times. Kilkenny is lucky in that it has some of the most talented food producers and craft makers in the country and you can see experience this for yourself when you shop local this Christmas.”

Food and craft producers selling special gifts this Christmas include: Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Jerpoint near Thomastown, who are getting ready to harvest Trout caviar in time for Christmas. Call in to their brand new visitor centre which opens the second week of December.

- Knockdrinna Cheese in Stoneyford who have put together a superb Christmas cheese gift pack. Owner Helen Finnegan has been working with The Wine Centre in Kilkenny to come up with cheese and wine pairings to create a great gift. The cheese gift packs are available at Kilkenny Christmas Market, Mount Juliet Christmas Village, The Wine Centre and of course Knockdrinna Farmshop in Stoneyford. If you feel like putting together your own selection of cheese and other local products into your own bespoke hamper, visit the farm shop and they’ll help you make a selection.

-The Watergarden in Thomastown, which is run by the Camphill Community, is hosting a fabulous Advent Fair on Sunday December 9. With wonderful ideas and crafts for Christmas, it is a special day not to be missed.

-To discover an Aladdin’s cave of Christmas goodies, visit Siobhan in Glasraí & Goodies in Gowran and she’ll make up a delicious hamper for you.

-The Christmas Village at Mount Juliet will have over 40 stalls packed with artisan produce and crafts by wonderful local makers and including treats and gifts from Mount Juliet’s own kitchen – cakes, plum puddings, hampers and gingerbread men, all in the magical atmosphere of the Hunters Yard of the estate. Little ones will be mesmerised when they take a journey on Santa’s Train though the estate, stopping for storytelling with Mrs Claus and ending at Santa’s Grotto where Santa and his elves are waiting. It runs from December 8 – 23 inclusive and costs €15 per child. Pre-booking online is essential.

- Ceramicist Karen Morgan has produced delightful porcelain Christmas decorations, ranging in price from €5 to €20, and tempting hot chocolate mugs with Truffle Fairy’s handmade cocoa (€20). Karen’s beautiful porcelain nesting curling bowls make a gift (€120); all are available from her shop in Thomastown and the Truffle Fairy Café and Chocolate Shop is just around the corner.

- Rosemarie Durr’s pottery heart dishes are gift boxed and start from €10. Add a little twinkle to Christmas with Rosemary’s candle bowls filled with Moth to a Flame Christmas scented candles in gift box for €20. Rosemarie’s ceramicist husband Andrew Ludick has funky ceramic brooches in beautiful gift boxes for €20 or individually decorated pinch bowls in gift boxes. Small are €35, medium €70, and large €120. Visit them at their studio shop in the Estate Craft Yard in Castlecomer Discovery Park.

Why not really get into the festive spirit and enjoy coffee and mince pies while you browse for the perfect gift at the Jerpoint Glass Studio in Stoneyford.

-Frederieke Grace’s Spirit Jewellery is creating a gift from home for all those who can’t be home for Christmas. Her handmade designs feature the Kilkenny colours and include black and amber earrings (€45) and matching necklace (€70). She also has silver earrings from €50, rings for €120 and a solid silver action man on chain for €155. Baurnafea Ceramics have a range of candleholders and lanterns starting from €10. Both are available from the MADE pop up shop and if you can’t make the trip to Kilkenny, MADE in Kilkenny crafts will be available at the National Crafts & Design Fair in the RDS from December 5 to 9.