Day 53 – Smorgasbord

I did not make or learn about smorgasbords today, but there were many different activities.

This morning started at 8am with a wine exam. 100 multiple choice questions. Can you tell me the three grape varieties permitted in the making of Champagne? Or could you describe the body of a Sauvignon Blanc? I’m not sure I can either, but hopefully I passed.

Next week we have a practical cooking exam and three more written papers. There was some hysteria over the first round of exams in week six, which in retrospect was totally needless, but I will admit I bought into. My objective this time around is not to be top of the class but to remain calm.

Then we had a demo on sushi and Turkish food. One of our teachers Shermin is half Turkish and has worked in top end Japanese restaurants so she is an expert on both.

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After an international lunch we had a quick demo on chocolate and then we were taken on a tour of Ballymaloe House followed by afternoon tea. I think they were trying to treat us to a gentle afternoon after the morning and ease us into the final stretch. Nothing like cucumber sandwiches to celebrate!

(Today’s main picture is a collage of pictures of notable Ballymaloe guests from the wine cellar).

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In the evening some of us who volunteered at a fundraising dinner for Slow Food Ireland were invited to Darina and Tim’s house for drinks and canapés. To respect their privacy I will not post pictures of their house but I can tell you that Darina can ENTERTAIN. Her house is exquisite and so was the food.

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I learned : Sushi doesn’t need to have raw fish. It refers to the rice – the variety, cooking method and seasoning.

Sushi masters train for 15 years. They make all the grains of the rice in their rolls to face the same direction. I like sushi, but I think there are better things to do with 15 years of your life.

Food of the day : Lobster Vol Au Vents, one of the delicious canapés served at Darina’s.

Line of the day : ‘Focus on quality and the bottom line looks after itself.’ Words of wisdom at Ballymaloe House.

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Órfhlaith

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