Ranked at number three in the Irish food podcast charts, Spice Bags podcast is welcoming in the New Year with a mission to connect immigrants and people of multiple heritage through sharing their food stories, memories and cultural anecdotes from home or their lives here in Ireland.
Spice Bags co-hosts Blanca Valencia, Mei Chin and Dee Laffan (who joined in Season 2) explore their mutual passion for international food and the people who create it in fortnightly episodes. They talk about how diverse cuisines are shaping modern Irish palates; they do deep-dives into context and history of certain foods; and, most importantly, they interview some of the incredible individuals who are responsible for bringing their cultures to our plates. So far, they have touched upon Mexico, Milan, India, Hong Kong and Thailand, and are now hungry to hit the road for more!
Currently a third of the way through Season 2, guests thus far this season have included Nanphun Srakhunthod and Una Lancaster — the exciting young heirs to the oldest Thai restaurant family in Ireland, Baan Thai — and, for their Christmas Special, the lady who literally wrote the book on Christmas cooking, Darina Allen from Ballymaloe Cookery School. Deep-dive episodes have seen the ladies dish up their thoughts and personal stories on staple ingredients from the Irish larder, tea and soup.
But things are only getting warmed up, as the remainder of the Season 2 lineup includes guests like Turkish chef Ahmet Dede from Dede restaurant in Baltimore, Cork, and topics such as the current global craze for Venezuelan food and why they believe it is poised to hit Ireland soon. And lest we forget, Chinese New Year is around the corner, so expect some dumpling talk with a very special guest!
As their audience grows, listeners have been getting in touch and the women have been thrilled to connect with some of their listeners – hailing from South America to Romania and Ethiopia – who have shared some of their food traditions. “This is a new aspect of Spice Bags that perhaps tantalises us most,” said Mei Chin, co-host and award-winning food writer.
“Our hope is to grow a network of voices that includes home cooks, line cooks, small business owners, newly arrived immigrants, children who have grown up in blended Irish households, and everyone in between and beyond. We are doing a call-out to anyone who might have a recipe or a story they would like to share.”
That latest episode of Spice Bags “Tapas vs. Pinxtos” is available on Wednesday, 13th January, and features Basque chef Gorka Arietta from Sua Basque Fusion, and Anna Cabrera and Vanessa Murphy from Las Tapas de Lola.
The Spice Bags new website is now live at spicebags.ie where you can find full details, all episodes and a blog with recipes, interviews and more. People can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or through their Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.