Sparkling Water and Toilet Paper
Today was another really good day. We were told of an extra curricular organic gardening class at 7:30 this morning so I got up in time to be at the main hall to traipse around the farm with "Timmy" Allen. It was his father, Ivan, who bought this farm in the early 20th century and began farming it himself. Timmy is in his early 70's and is a veritable font of farm/plant knowledge. It was for this sort of instruction that I was so eager to come to Ballymaloe. I always say I'm a farmer at heart and being outside, around plants and animals thrills me to my core. It was a great hour and 15 minutes and I learned a lot. He'll give these, periodically, throughout the course.
At 9:00, a cheese lecture began and was so interesting! Arden and I get to try our hand at making some cheese one of these evenings. Apparently, it only takes three months (I think) to make a cheese. One of the premiere cheese makers in these parts, started with just her one cow and now, she's helped to start off a whole region of people doing the same thing. It got me so excited, I started thinking I needed a cow, couple of goats or maybe even a buffalo so I could start making some cheese! One really interesting thing about all of these lectures is they're always weaving in stories of how others in this industry have gone off on their own, with little overhead and blazed some wonderful trails. It surely gets you to thinking...
At 10:30, we were treated to Colm McCan, who was named Best Sommelier of Ireland 2014 in Food and Wine. He taught us about the Chardonnay grape. He had a film discussing Australia’s and France’s wine industries that was made so long ago, the hairstyles and fashions were hilarious. This man knows everyone in the industry and everything about wine. He brought a gorgeous French Chablis (a Chardonnay grape) for us to try and a South African Chardonnay. Normally, I'm not a fan of highly acidic, lemony, minerally, steely wine, but I have to say, I didn't hate this one. Not even a little bit. 😉
He taught us that the Chardonnay grape is a wonderful medium to do things with, to morph into whatever flavor profile you’re wanting to create. If it were a tree, it'd be the Willow, as it will bend with any wind. Among his final remarks was this gem, "When someone says they don’t like Chardonnay," he said to say, “that’s like saying, you don’t like bread. What kind of bread don’t you like??” He'll be back once a week, I think, throughout our course and I'm thrilled! He's gas!
After class today, we walked the 3/4 mile to the market in "town" because we were mighty low on some necessities. Sparkling water and toilet paper. It turned out to be a pretty fabulous, if brisk, afternoon, so the walk was a welcome treat. All new students are given 3 rolls of toilet paper and one wee bar of soap. After that, YOYO, you're on your own. Last Sunday, when we checked in, we walked up to that same store and laid in a few rations, cheese, butter, milk, eggs and sparkling water. My one treat in the evening. I drank the last bubble out of that bottle last night and dreamed of getting more.
Tomorrow, after class, a fellow classmate is driving me into Midleton, about 20 minutes away, to do some serious marketing. It’s really something to be dependent on others for transportation and have only your feet to get around. Anyway, he’s a lovely gentleman from Edinburgh, Scotland named Rupert. I’ll give him 10 Euros for gas. We got to do laundry this afternoon too. There’s one laundry room with only three sets of machines and everyone is on a rotation. Thursday is our house’s day. Glad to have a fresh store of clean drawers! We’re down to the basics, here now, aren't we?
Tomorrow, I'm on stock duty which means I have to be at Kitchen 3 at 8:00 to begin making it. Then, my recipes for the morning are tomato puree, Loganberry jam and basil pesto. I've got my order of work and filled out and I'm ready to go. Wish me luck!