The start of a new year always makes one look back at the old one and reflects a bit on what was good and not to good. My mantra is to forget about the bad and just smile about the good things that happened. Here are my favourite food memories of 2012 (and I might post a bit later of my plans for 2013)
When I heard of Patrick Ryan and his bakery on Heir Island, I thought, gosh a dreamer if there ever was one. But then I went, saw and baked and was totally smitten by the location, the baker and his lovely partner as well as the bakery. I had such a great day that I am still talking about it. We arrived in the morning by ferry and were greeted by Laura who droves us to the house – bakery, B&B; and sailing school – and were seated to tea and homebaked mince pies (it was December after all). Patrick then showed us around the bakery and their woodfired oven (now I want one) and we got baking. Patrick has a great expertise which he is more than willing to share. The day was filled with fun, lessons and great food. We all took a lot of bread home and I even persuaded Patrick to sell me some of his sourdough starter (which lives very happily in my fridge now).
If you are into breadmaking – this course is a must.
Olive Hallanan is running the Goats Farm in Castlemary, Cloyne. I heard the first time about her when a friend of mine told me that I have to meet Olive. So I went to meet Olive and I have to say, she is one of the most nicest and generous people you will ever meet. She is making goats cheese but also sells the goats meat of the male goats which means they are not just slaughtered to be thrown away but to be used. You might have seen Paul Flynn during the Surf ‘n Turf series on RTE spit-roasting one. In Olive’s farmshop which is open every Saturday from 10am – 2pm you can buy, burgers, sausages and cheese – all from Olive’s own herd.
I am planning a farm visit to her farm for Bia Sásta friends with a BBQ – so keep an eye peeled on upcoming newsletters for dates (we had to cancel our 2012 date due to lack of bookings but I hope that people will be a bit more adventurous in 2013).
Each town and county seems to have their own food festival these days – nothing wrong with that as I love to go to all of them. The first Food Festival – sorry, carnival – was held in 2012 and they must have done a lot of research as it was one of the best festivals I have ever visited. The entire town was included and played along. Restaurants on the main streets had little chairs & tables out and offered tastings for which you paid either cash or with vouchers which you could buy at several outlets. A craft beer & cider tasting was a bit ‘flat’ due to lack of attendance of the brewers but the ones who made it were also very generous. The market was a delight to visit and simply, the whole town was in a carnival mood. Loved it, loved it.
The next one is planned for 12th – 14th July 2013. Make sure to mark it in your diary
My mum loved caviar and I am sure she would have loved Goatsbridge Trout Caviar. The first time I tasted it was at Fenn’s Quay where I had organised a blind tasting and head chef Kate used it in one of her dishes (you see, come to our events and you will taste amazing food). I was delighted with bursting pearls of just the right amount of ‘fishiness’ – absolutely beautiful. Bright orange – it will add as much visual appeal as it does taste. You can buy directly from their website – I am not sure about any shops at the moment.
It was with great delight to hear about the opening of the first cake decoration dedicated shop in Carrigtwohill late last year. I love to decorate my cakes (at least if Mr T leaves them alone long enough for me to decorate) and I couldn’t wait to call down to them. It is a light airy shop and I met owner Elaine McCarthy and we had a lovely chat – her passion for sugarcraft can’t be mistaken. They are offering cake decoration classes and will always be at hand with tips and tricks and.
Mr T and I always wanted to hunt mushrooms (we do regularly but are unsure to eat the findings) and we were very pleased to meet Lucy Deegan of Ballyhoura Mushrooms who are growing wonderful mushrooms and selling them at farmer’s markets as well as food festivals. Mr T is particularly fond of their marinated mushroom but you can tickle your tastebuds with mushroom ketchup, soups, pesto, pates and much much more. Have I mentioned that these goodies are totally delicious??
Paul Deegan and the Apple Farm have organised a wonderful festival at the Apple Farm in 2012 and I can only hope that it will be the first of many. Craft cider brewers came and offered their ware – amazing how different cider can taste. Demonstrations on how to grow your own apple trees and how to maintain them as well as cider making, cider & food matching and cooking with cider. Mr T and myself were very happy people indeed.
And here is to a wonderful 2013 for all of us