Ballymaloe Day 65: Drink less, but better wine

I swirled the wine in my glass and moved my nose towards the aroma. I’ve come a long way from Sauvignon Blanc.

With the brightness of day sneaking in the window, I was early for stock duty, which is done every morning by two students.

Feeling jittery at the thought of my rather tedious workload, and with sadly no fellow stock partner, I prepared it as quickly as I could so I could get back into Kitchen 1 and start the day.

As well as the Ballymaloe Buffet to get to grips with, I also had part two of my brioche to complete and also puff pastry to roll out.

(My brioche after it had risen for a decade)

Feeling good about my dough, and admiring its golden-yellow tinge, I got to work on rolling it out into brioche balls and into their moulds (which included a rather fetching “s” shape loaf).

Leaving them to rise, I began my puff pastry which gave me the joy of bashing the brains out of a slab of butter, as well as rolling to my heart’s content.

After what seemed like hours and included an amusing mishap with my Cumberland Sauce – don’t worry, it tastes fine; it’s more an “Úna-Minh Sauce” – I finally got around to plating up.

(My devilled eggs are in the middle, I mixed them with wasabi)

I ended up being annoyed with the finished product (my “s” loaf was particularly cranky); they simply didn’t brown or taste as briochy as I would like but I was determined to find some way of trying it again.

Tucking into lunch (which included ox tongue – delicious!), I was feeling like a worn-out ragdoll that needed to get some shut-eye.

(Pat slicing up the ox tongue – it actually tastes of corned beef)

With 62 tired faces to be seen, it was understandable that we were all feeling quite restless when it came to demo. At the beginning of the demo, Emer came in to chat to us about the final examinations and what our practical entailed.

My mind immediately jumped to the mountains of information that has been swirling around my head. Sometimes I wish I could just shove the worry to one side.

(Rachel demonstrating how to do a butcher’s knot)

Despite our drained bodies, our energy levels took a dip upwards upon the wine lecture at 6pm!

Sadly, today saw our final wine lecture with sommelier-extraordinaire Colm, who was on top form as always.

With Riedel glasses in hand, we sipped on our wine and had a quick crash-revision course for the impending wine exam next week.

Though a bit sketchy on a few of the details, I was happy that I had already read over everything he went through – the hope is that I can retain it all because I absolutely want to.

Throughout this course, I’ve found myself embracing so many styles, aromas and tastes that I never thought I could like. It’s like food, it’s an adventure. Cheers!

Tonight I’m battling between the decision to writing out my order of work for my final menu or writing out my order of work for Thursday.

Some random things I revised today:

  • The characteristic flavours of…
    Muscat – Actually tastes like grapes
    Sauvignon Blanc – Citrus fruits
    Pinot Noir – Red fruits
    Merlot – Plum
  • Wine is made by yeast converting the natural sugars in the grape to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
  • Chablis HAS to be made from Chardonnay grapes, so if you like Chablis and say you don’t like Chardonnay, well, you’re in for a surprise!
  • Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire Valley are made from Sauvignon Blanc (Pouilly-Fumé not to be confused with Pouilly-Fuissé which is made from Chardonnay from the Macon region of Burgundy)
  • Beaujolais Nouveau is made by carbonic maceration (whole bunch fermentation), and the new wine is released on the third week of November – it’s a wine that you should consume immediately and not hide in your wine cellar).
  • White Burgundy is made from Chardonnay.
  • Rosé is made by having the juice in contact with the grape skins for a short time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *