“The first company to introduce that wonderful dairy caramel sauce, dulce de leche, into Ireland in 1998, Ballyshiel Artisan Foods is still no closer to revealing the secret recipe, which has taken years to perfect. “It’s a closely guarded family recipe,” says Tommy Corrigan who owns and runs the business with his wife Karina from the ‘green fields’ of Ferbane, County Offaly. Karina’s love of dulce de leche goes back as far as primary school when, one day a week, pupils were treated to pancakes with dulce de leche sauce. “Students used to jump back in the window to get a second helping.”
Over the years the couple have developed their range to include dulce de leche, chocolate sauces, macaroon bars, drinking chocolate, truffles, pralines and an exclusive whiskey range for the Tullamore D.E.W. Old Bonded Warehouse that includes dark chocolate bars, dulce de leche and truffles. as artisans, they take great care in the taste, quality and tradition of their products, following traditional methods and ensuring all produce is free from gluten, palm oil and hydrogenated oil, and suitable for vegetarians.
“We’re always busy developing new and exciting products and love tailor-making to a customer’s requirement.” Chris de Burgh and Prince Albert of Monaco are included on their customer database, among many other sweet-toothed lovers. “They make really wonderful gifts for any occasion,” notes Tommy, “Easter eggs, Christmas baskets, wedding favours, corporate gifts – nothing is off limits.”