The bottle is a murky shade of green, it looks like it’s been hiding in the dark for quite a long time and in truth it has.

Back in 1999 and donning my Holy Communion dress, I was given a rather special present of bottles of champagne with my name on them.

Sitting in a dark section of my home in Kerry and undisturbed for 15 years, this is the last bottle:


Now, I really had no idea if champagne aged well, so while dusting off the bottle I tweeted our Ballymaloe sommelier, Colm McCan to see what he thought.

@unakavanagh depends on champagne, year,storage (lucky to try ’82 a while ago,amazing; less fizz with age). Hope it will be a lovely bottle!

— Colm McCan (@colmmccan) October 4, 2014

(Looks like it could be safe to drink after all!)

Still unopened, we’re going to keep it for a special occasion, perhaps the end of the course, perhaps the exam results – who knows? It’s going to make an impression whatever the time!

(My collection of cookbooks back at home)

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(Vintage Darina Allen and Rory O’Connell)

Waving goodbye to my bed and the cats, I made my way back to Ballymaloe with more energy than I had in a few weeks.

Before hitting Shanagarry we made a lunch pit-stop in Midleton and Sage Restaurant.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Sage for a while now, following the release of their 12 Mile video, showcasing their locally-sourced food.


With an interesting and ambitious menu, I forced myself to check out things that I wouldn’t normally order.

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(Goat’s Cheese gnocchi)

After a relaxing spell at Sage, we made our way through Cork’s winding country roads to the cookery school.

Flipping over Brienne (my lovely cheese) in the dairy, I trudged back to the Coach House with a spring in my step.

Looking forward to getting back in the kitchen and with chef whites freshly laundered, I’m ready to tackle week four.

Even if I make a mess of things, sure haven’t I given it a lash?!

Some of my favourite Irish food people to follow:

Next: Ballymaloe Day 22

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