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Forget the Oscars, this is one awards show we know we'd REALLY be able to enjoy.

For the last 22 years, the Irish Food Writers' Guild has celebrated the very best of Irish food and native suppliers with their annual awards. This year's event took place at Dublin's Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, where chefs put together a very special menu for attendees based on the produce of the five main winners.

Unsurprisingly, the whole thing was a slice of foodie paradise from start to finish.

First up was a salad of Silver Darlings Irish herring, potato, green leek purée and toasted buckwheat:

Followed by a main of grilled Irish Hereford sirloin, Brandy Bay Oyster cream and White Gypsy Russian Imperial Stout:

After all that meat, palattes were refreshed with a Mossfield Organic Farm milk pudding and Wild Irish Foragers spring nettle syrup:

And to finish, Riot Rye Bakehouse Borodinsky sourdough ice-cream with chocolate ganache and malt bread tuile (plus a snifter of Highbank Orchards Organic Irish Orchard Liqueur):


If you're not drooling over your keyboard right now then you might as well live on Big Macs for the rest of your life and call it a day.


The countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway, and we're getting all hot and sweaty just thinking about the amount of Christmas shopping we have left to do.

With stormy weather to battle, crowded buses to navigate, and endless queues to face, we're considering forgoing shopping outdoors entirely.

If online shopping is sounding mighty tempting right about now, your first destination should be Hampers & Co, an Irish website offering everything from wine and chocolate Pamper Hampers to gifts with a difference for your dad.

To make the situation even sweeter, you can now get a 15% discount from Hampers & Co for a limited time, by using the code XMAS015 at the checkout. Boom!

Of course, not everyone in our gift-giving circle is quite so quick-thinking, and we've definitely received a few clangers over the years. Here are just a few of the gifts we've all put on that *fake smile* for…

1. The 'I bought this at 5pm on Christmas Eve' gift
There are two extremes here – the €10 Penneys PJs or the desperately expensive gold watch that was totally panic-bought.


2. The 'This is really for me, not you' gift
'Cos you've ALWAYS wanted an XBox, right?


3. The 'I saw this and thought of you' gift
Which of course begs the question, 'Why did a Weight Watchers cookery book make you think of me?'


4. The 'IOU one present' gift
This better come wrapped up with one huge apology.


5. The 'But you love handmade things!' gift
Sock puppets, our FAVE.


6. The 'All that was open was the 24-hour garage' gift
A selection box, windscreen washer fluid and a copy of today's newspaper – yay!


7. The 'Mary in HR said she loves this jewellery brand so I thought you would too' gift
Ah, Mary in HR, the gift-buying oracle.


8. The 'I'm giving something back this year' gift
Much as we love the fact that you're charitable, we really had our hearts set on a fancy new mascara. Sigh.

Avoid falling foul to one of the above this year, and get your Christmas shopping sorted with Hampers & Co. No more fake smiles!

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