On Saturday, after dropping some of our animals to their respective babysitters, Ali and I headed to Cork for the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine. We were blessed with glorious weather and filled ourselves with great food (and wine for me) all day.
We arrived at 12.50 pm and proceeded to the box office to get tickets for two of the talks. Although the first was starting at 1 pm, we hurried to the big shed for lunch. Annie’s Roasts provided the perfect hunger cure. Free range chicken, pickled cucumber, sundried tomato, salad and mayo on a delicious sourdough bap; we were set up for a wonderful day.
We ran over to the drinks theatre to catch a talk. The theatre is a rustic barn with interesting, colourful decor, perfect. Alice Feiring, Tomás Clancy, Raymond Blake and John Wilson discussed “Does Terroir Really Exist and How Can You Tell?” It was an interesting talk between 4 wine experts who came to the conclusion that it does, of course, exist but there’s no way to tell. The wines for tasting threw up a couple of surprises for me. Never a fan of white wines, I particularly enjoyed a Riesling and Chablis, never again will I have to rely on reds for everything. Quite a bit of this talk went straight over my head but sure, where there’s wine, there’s a way!
After the talk, feeling a little merry from all the wine (who needs a spit bucket?) we took a walk around the beautiful gardens at Ballymaloe House. They are kept impeccably well and striking in the bright May sun. We went back to the big shed for some juice (from My Goodness) and a wonderful lamington (from Diva Boutique Bakery and Cafe). I had never had a lamington before but will be on the lookout from now on. A moist sponge dipped in chocolate and coconut. I could eat them all day!
Stuffed and content, we stayed in the big shed for a talk by Debbie Shaw (Apple a Day Nutrition) on how bone broth (or stock) is the elixir of life. I enjoyed it with a glass of Sicilian red from the bar.
After a quick browse around the book shop where Rachel Allen was doing a meet and greet, we hopped into the car and drove to The Ballymaloe Cookery School for a talk by J.P. McMahon. John McKenna and J.P had an insightful chat about his book, restaurants and food in general. I was quite taken by J.P.’s attitude and assertion that he would rather do his own thing and survive than change everything to please everyone and make a ton of money.
After J.P.’s talk we had a look around the cookery school shop (luckily I didn’t have much cash on me) and although we had planned on heading straight home, we decided to head to the big shed for dinner. I had a fantastic Broughgammon Free Range Rosé Veal Milanese. The veal was delicious, tender and moist, it’s a wonder we don’t eat more of it here.
There was one more thing to do before hitting the road…..ICE CREAM! We went to Yum Gelato who make all their own ice cream in Cork. I went for the tiramisu ice-cream which was delicious. It’s a good thing I wasn’t driving though as the alcohol content was exceptionally high. Drunk on ice-cream, is there a better way to finish the day?
Maybe with a 3 hour drive, thanks Ali!
Here are a few more pictures taken throughout the day: