Today we took a field trip.
Our first stop was Mahon Point Farmers Market, located at the entrance of Mahon Point shopping centre. Initially this struck me as odd, but when I thought about it I realised how clever it is. The market and shopping centre guarantee footfall for each other. People at the market look around the shops and vice versa. It certainly seems to be working. The market was packed with customers and full of interesting, quality vendors.
Darina says markets like these are important because they keep people in the countryside – cities don’t have room for everyone – and provide employment.
We were given meal tickets. I ate an amazing steak sandwich with béarnaise sauce and fresh greens from Boeuf a Lo Lo.
Then we split up. Half the class went to Cashel Blue cheese in Tipperary. The other half, including myself, went to Gubbeen Farmhouse Products in West Cork. I was originally meant to go to Cashel Blue but swapped with someone because I don’t like blue cheese, and I do like Gubbeen. Their cheese is heavenly, and the chorizo is better than any I ever ate in Spain. When you see Gubbeen on a menu in Ireland you know you are in a quality place.
Giana Ferguson and her son Fingal gave us a tour of the smokehouse and dairy. Seeing businesses like this is inspiring. They work hard but love what they do. It’s a lifestyle choice. The family live in a beautiful house on the farm with their whippets and jack rusell and are cool, thriving, self-actualised people.
I learned : Cork is home to the world’s second largest natural deep water harbour, after Sydney, Australia.
All of the bananas eaten in Ireland are delivered to this harbour every week.
William Penn’s last home before moving to the US was right here in Shanagarry, Cork. Penn Castle is minutes away from the cookery school.
Food of the day : Gubbeen Chorizo. People could not get enough of it.
Line of the day : ‘Perseverance is what separates those who do from those who don’t.’