Ballymaloe Day 20: “As long as it’s not my blood, I’m happy”

Rolling over in my bed this morning after a rather busy dream that saw me in an intense argument with a fish, I was glad to wake up and face a new day!

Strictly speaking I wasn’t actually in Ballymaloe but in the comfort of my home in Kerry, but despite that I still very much kept in theme with local food.

Bright and early, myself, Mam and our neighbour, whizzed off to the Dingle Food Festival dressed up in our glad rags.

With trickles and splashes of rain bursting from the sky, our hearts fell at the prospect of a gloomy day but as the clouds parted the further “back wesht” we went, we saw what can only described as the Kingdom in all its glory.

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Arriving early, we strolled around town and found our way weaving in and out of streets that we didn’t know existed.

There was a buzz in the air as producers set up their stalls and people milled around their products. From spices, sushi, kangaroo skewers and cheese, there was so much on offer for locals and tourists alike.

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At 2pm I headed off to check out a mini-butchery masterclass with my cousin Paudie Moriarty, who’s one of the local butchers in Dingle.

Slicing and shimmying his knife up and down the beef, he took it apart with such ease and it was a joy to watch him at work (I even got the opportunity to chat to a few of the relatives as Gaeilge).

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“As long as it’s not my blood, I’m happy!”, he announced.

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Feeling inspired, I wandered back through town and found myself at the Dingle Bookshop where I met Kristin Jensen (aka Edible Ireland), and Caroline Hennessy (aka Bibliocook – and who in fact did the Ballymaloe 12 week course back in 2007).

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The pair were in store for a book-signing of their new book “Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider”, and after being offered a double chocolate porter brownie, I knew I had to get myself a copy.

Not just a guide, but rather the perfect reference book, Sláinte combines beer matching, recipes and history for a concise piece of writing that’s executed using layman terms (we have a copy of it in the cookery school!)

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(Can’t beat a cone from Murphy’s)

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(From The Wild Irish Foragers and Preservers)

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(Delicious pickled herrings from Silver Darlings – I bought myself a tub)

Sadly, for me this was only a fleeting visit as I’ve to make my way back to Cork tomorrow, but next year I reckon you’ll see me on the town with fellow food lovers, brandishing a bottle of craft beer!

Until tomorrow, go n-éirí go geal leat.

I’ve an ongoing Irish Food and Drink Producers series that’s worth checking out if you’re interested in looking at local produce here in Ireland.

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