To Buy

From Farm to Bottle, Irish Creme Liqueur and Other Irish Products

PHOTO: Kathy Tran

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. A day to wear green, drink green, and tell your friends that your 23 and Me profile proves your Irish ancestry, so this is your day, too.

There were lots of fun “Irish-y” events last weekend to celebrate the March 17th birthday of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, and I had planned to write about them. Until, that is, I received a press release from a company that represents a bar in town that offered $5 Irish Car Bombs.

Well, maybe I’m not as hip as I thought because I had never heard about the drink, but I had heard about the Irish Republican Army’s use of car bombs to scare and kill their enemies. In fact, I know someone who lost a relative in an Irish car bombing.

That cocktail wasn’t invented in Dallas, but it’s been stinking up St. Paddy’s Day celebrations since around 1979 when a bartender in Connecticut renamed it from “Grandfather” to the Irish Car Bomb.  I want to believe that anyone still referring to that drink as an ICB simply doesn’t know the history behind the name and means no harm. Naming a cocktail after a weapon that was used to kill and terrorize people for 30 years (not even that long ago, not that it matters) is offensive. No, this isn’t “cancel culture,” it’s recognizing ignorance and insensitivity and calling it out.  So, let’s come up with a better name for it, shall we?

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. This article will get more light-hearted, I promise.

I called my friend Rachel Gaffney, a well-known Irish culinary ambassador who lives in Dallas and has a successful business promoting Ireland in the United States and in her native country by introducing an American audience to products and people who represent Irish culture and by taking Americans on thoughtfully bespoke trips to Ireland. First, she agreed, the drink’s name is quite offensive, then we got to talking about Irish food products readily available in Dallas and I chose three of my favorites (and hers) to write about today so we can celebrate the goodness of Irish culture.

PHOTO: Kersten Rettig

Five Farms Single Batch Irish Cream Liqueur
This is farm-to-bottle bliss. Made in County Cork, Five Farms Irish Creme Liqueur is made with cream from five area family farms whose happy cows graze on vibrant green grass almost 300 days a year. The fresh cream is collected each Friday and within 48 hours it becomes this creamy, dreamy drink with distinct flavors of butterscotch and vanilla and a little punch of whiskey. It’s absolutely delicious and packaged so beautifully in a black glass milk bottle with a latch which is too pretty to recycle when you finish it up. You can find it at Total Wine and More.

Keough’s Potato Chips
I love potato chips and have reviewed at least 50 different kinds of chips on my KerstenEats Instagram page.  My favorite brand is Keough’s, not just for the quality of the chip, the size, potato flavor, and high-quality flavoring that comes in flavors such as Shamrock (green onion) and Truffle and Irish Butter, but because of the pride and care they have for the product.

Ireland’s Food and Drug Administration’s equivalent passed a law that all Irish food must comply with traceability rules.  Established in 2002 to create accountability and safety measures should an outbreak of food-borne illness occur, producers must keep records of the ingredients/products it receives from whom and where they’re sent after production. 

Keough’s, like other Irish food manufacturers, is required to document a food’s provenance, but they also share more personal information, such as the field from which these particular spuds came, the variety of potato and, even who cooked it.  They call it Spud Nav and it really is just brilliant. It’s a fun thing to look up every time you eat a bag of Keough’s, which for me, is regularly. You can buy these at World Market and try funky flavors such as Guinness and Flame Grilled Steak.

PHOTO: Cashel Blue Cheese

Cashel Blue Cheese
From Tipperary, a name so lyrical everything produced there sounds more appealing, Cashel Blue is the first ever Irish blue cheese. It debuted in 1984 and has been growing in popularity and distribution ever since. It’s very popular, so much so that I couldn’t get my hands on any to try, but Rachel assures me that if you like blue cheese, and I do, this is the best you’ll ever have. She recommends combining the blue cheese with a seedless red grape and an almond for a simply glorious bite. It is sold at Whole Foods, Central Market, and other select stores.

The saying “Erin go Bragh” means “Ireland til the end of time,” a rallying cry during the Irish Rebellion of 1789. By the looks of these photos, I want to go to Ireland to the end of time, so beautiful.

Erin go Bragh and enjoy your corned beef and cabbage or tacos or pizza or whatever you plan to eat for your St. Patrick’s Day feast.


What is the number one selling fresh seafood product at Central Market across the state?  Verlasso Salmon, the delicious farm-raised salmon from Chile. It outsells every other fresh seafood by a large margin and, if you’ve tasted it, you know why. Verlasso is mild in flavor, rich and buttery and has a perfect texture that makes grilling, baking, pan frying and even smoking very easy.  You can even eat Verlasso as sashimi; it’s that good.

So what makes Verlasso so good? It’s farmed in the fjords of Patagonia, southern Chile, where the Humboldt Current keeps the waters cool and clean. The area is pristine, far from environmental pollution, with cold, moving water rich in nutrients. Verlasso is a brand, not a breed, owned by AquaChile, which is selective in choosing its farming partners and invests in sustainable processes to cultivate the salmon.

Verlasso has been around for around a decade, which is pretty much when I first discovered it.  My notoriously picky daughter, 13 years-old at the time, wouldn’t eat much of anything so I picked up some Verlasso and roasted it with fresh thyme, lemon zest and olive oil.  Since then, I’ve prepared it for her about once a week and it was the second thing she requested to eat, after Whataburger, when she came home on college breaks.

The only retail outlet in Texas that sells Verlasso is Central Market, which is a perfect partner for a high quality product. I often write and post about my affection for Central Market, (remember this) because I think they sell the very best in each category they carry, and I appreciate the leadership and philanthropy of the owners, the Butts family.

If you’re not much of a cook but want to enjoy Verlasso, you can also find it on the menus of restaurants Parigi and Salum and many others.

Parigi Chef/Owner Janice Provost told me that “I chose to use Verlasso after seeing Abraham Salum using it. We share lots of ideas together,” she said. (Probably the reason they are two of my favorite restaurants.)

“We were getting Faroe Island [North Atlantic] salmon before March 17,” she continued. “Then, since COVID-19 shut things down, the product wasn’t as good. They had to freeze their supply to save it, and when we received it, it wasn’t up to our standards, so we switched to Verlasso.”

As an award-winning restaurant with a sophisticated clientele, clean food is important to Provost.  She added, “Like Faroe Island, Verlasso is also ocean farmed, not tank farmed, so it’s clean, no hormones, sustainable and we feel good about serving it. People love salmon so it is a regular on the menu.”

Want another reason to become a fan of Verlasso Salmon? When COVID-19 forced restaurant closures and many hospitality workers were laid off, Verlasso donated 2,500 pounds to Staff Meal Dallas, a program created by hospitality veterans including Alison Matis, who raved about the company:

“Verlasso Salmon has been a consistent and proven friend of the hospitality industry. By donating a literal ton of salmon to feed COVID-19-affected restaurant and hospitality workers, they ensured that hundreds of people in our community, and their families, would be nourished and sustained for months while out of work. Their ethical business practices carry through from their product to their practices in the community.”

Victoria Parr, Verlasso’s marketing director, estimated that their contribution provided 13,000 meals to those in need and were happy to support the hard-working foodservice workers who have represented the brand for years.

For more information on Verlasso Salmon including recipes and a fun story by Andrew Zimmern from Follow that Food, visit their website at