How Irish is Cheesecake for St. Patrick's Day?

Did you know that Saint Patrick wasn't Irish by birth? The most commonly recognized patron saint of Ireland was actually born in Roman occupied Britain. He was captured by Irish raiders and made a slave when he was sixteen.

Cheesecake was a very popular dish in Roman Britain, having been introduced to the Roman Empire with the conquest of Greece, where the dish originated. So the odds are pretty good that St. Patrick may have enjoyed cheesecake, just as people do today. It would have been a little different without the cream cheese that we commonly use, however. His "cheese cake" would have been made with a type of cheese similar to ricotta and flavored with honey.

In Ireland today, the most popular flavors for cheesecake are cherry, strawberry, passion fruit, raspberry and lemon. The dish is becoming increasingly popular in coffee shops and pubs. Other creative flavors such as coffee, chocolate and even tea are gaining favor.

For your St. Patrick's Day celebration, why not order a traditional favorite like cherry or strawberry, or a more modern choice like chocolate, and invite friends over for cake and Irish coffee, with a mix of traditional and contemporary Irish music playing in the background? For many people, this would be a welcome alternative to the rowdier pub visits and noisy parties.

If you prefer, you can make your own special dessert the way the Irish do. They usually make cheesecake crusts with cookie crumbs. Often, gelatin, flavored or unflavored, is mixed with the cream cheese, sugar and butter mixture. This helps keep the cake firm, as Irish cheesecakes are usually refrigerated and not baked. Bailey's Irish Cream can also be added to the cake for authentic Irish flavor!

Whether you order your cheesecake online or use a cheesecake recipe, the traditional way to serve it is topped with fresh fruit or a fruit compote.

Of course, an easier option is to choose any easy no-bake cheesecake recipe or plain cheesecake and serve on a green platter or shamrock-patterned plates! Or order a New York style cake online, decorate it with whipped topping tinted green with food coloring, and decorate it with tiny Irish flags or edible shamrock candies.

As a great St. Patrick's Day party favor, place cheesecake slices on a decorative paper plate and wrap with green cellophane. Finish it off with ribbon to make a great parting gift for your friends.

However you choose to celebrate, make cheesecake a part of your St. Patrick's Day.

Erin go Bragh!

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