Festival musings

May 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

We made it! And wow, what a journey it’s been. The first ever Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine took place two weeks ago and East Cork is still buzzing from the thrill. Welcoming the most vibrant and exciting food and wine experts from around the world to our little corner of Ireland was more exciting than I could ever have hoped for. I was star struck as guests converged on Ballymaloe for the most unique festival I have ever experienced.
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Each morning felt a lot like Christmas, but in this case Santa brought me more than I could ever have wished for. Having the opportunity to meet food heroes like Claudia Rhoden, Madhur Jaffrey, David Tannis and Skye Gyngell, to name but a few, re-inspired and also reminded me about the fantastic resources available to all of us wherever we go.
I was also totally inspired by my fab colleagues Anne, Sarah and Louise who played a blinder behind the scenes in the Ballymaloe pastry kitchen producing some of the most delicious sweet treats imaginable. So many of the well traveled guests enjoyed the intrigue of my favourite seaweed dessert, carageen moss pudding, while others dined on dainty delights at Mrs Allen’s afternoon tea party. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to make our favourite seasonal deserts for food heroes and friends alike. But it was not all work and no play as “The Big Shed” hosted a lively night scene that gave everyone a chance to let their hair down … Myself included!
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But for me the opening night was the most exciting.  After a long day in the kitchen and a quick costume change, which involved donning my favourite silk bow tie, I made it to the opening party just in time to mingle and meet! To call it a who’s who of the food world would undersell the star studded crowd. I can hardly believe how fortunate I am to have met some of the of world’s greats!
Never one to miss an opportunity I made sure to get every cookery book in my library signed! I have always admitted to being a cookery geek, and if you caught a glimpse of me during the festival, you would have seen me in full character running around with tens of books searching for signatures. Now, fully inspired, I can’t wait to get stuck into the summer season in the kitchen at Ballymaloe. The thrill of the first garden raspberries alone is enough to get the mouth watering for what will be a spectacular summer in “The Big House”!

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