Day 4 – Farming And Drinking

I woke up early again today (voluntarily this time!) to do an organic farming class with Tim Allen. We walked around the farm in the sun for about an hour and he gave us a detailed tour of the garden and greenhouse. A lovely start to the day, even with a whiff of cow manure in the air!

The food focus of the morning was wine and cheese. Darina taught us about the farmhouse cheese industry in Ireland and then we had a talk from Ballymaloe’s sommelier Colm McCann. His talk was informative and also entertaining. He was so different from the typical wine snob and made it very approachable and interesting. And I always like anyone who gives me a glass of wine!

After lunch we learned about health and safety. Sadly in professional cooking you cannot lick the bowl clean. Not the most gripping information but Darina livened it up with some interesting anecdotes and trivia. Like, did you know that grain fed cows fart more than their grass fed cousins?

I learned : 

Queen Meadhbh was killed by her nephew who hit her with a piece of hard cheese.

Ireland has a population of less than 5 million but produces enough food to feed 24 million.

The one thing the human foot cannot do is crush a pip (which makes wine bitter) so that is where the tradition of grape stomping came from.

At one point this Christmas in the UK sales of Prosecco overtook sales of milk!

Unsurprisingly, Ireland has the highest alcohol taxes (excise duty) in the EU. If you buy a bottle of wine worth 8 euros the wine itself will be worth just 50 cents!

Also, apparently the word human comes from humus , or they’re connected anyway, because healthy soil supports healthy life.  Aha!

Food of the Day : Tunisian Orange Cake. It was moist, sweet, rich, buttery yet fresh thanks to the citrus. Simple but fantastic.

Line of the Day : From Colm McCann. “The best thing about wine is knowing you will never know it all.” Now there’s a metaphor for life!

Today we got a break from cooking and were served these amazing desserts at lunch. The dish on the left is bananas and mangoes in lime syrup which is like crack to me.