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Friday, January 6, 2012
Saturday, November 26, 2011
GREAT BALLS OF FLOUR
US BLOGGERS AT THE FARMGATE
Foodspotting.com aces Amy Cao (New York) and Chris Connolly (San Francisco) turned into a long and leisurely tour of the outstanding Farmgate menu, our guide none other than owner Kay Harte, recently named Good Food Ireland’s Ambassador of the Year for her tireless promotion of local food.
Amy is Head of Community at Foodspotting, a worldwide visual guide to good food and where to find it. Photos are important here and that is where Chris comes in. Aside from being an expert with the lens he is also a designer.
Kay sat down with us and ordered samples of everything on the menu and told us all about each part of the dish as she shared it out. I don't think the Americans had ever seen any restaurant owner as informative and as passionate about food and where it came from.
Some of the simple things took the interest of the visitors, including the starting plate of breads. And then there were the “balls of flour”. Kate illustrated that with a bowl of Golden Wonders, skins intact, and cut one in half to show just what she meant by the phrase. The potatoes come from her regular supplier in Ballymacoda in East Cork.
Oysters were on offer and they were ordered from the O’Connell’s fish stall downstairs, the regular practice here. The oysters originally come from the appropriately named Oysterhaven near Kinsale. And there was also her marvelous fish pie, cod on this occasion. This looked so delicious that even Chris, not a lover of fish, was tempted.
All the time emhasising the place of food in the Irish way of life and , at one point, making reference to the Irish language book, the Diary of Humphrey O’Sullivan (Cín Lae Amhlaoibh), which details the rich and varied diet of an ordinary Irish household in the first half of the 19th century, Kay emphasised the importance of local provenance. Not just Cork, by the way: if the best cheese in Ireland comes from Donegal, then she will get it from Donegal.
Farmgate classics on the table included Old Millbank Smoked Organic Salmon, Spiced Beef, Irish Lamb Stew, Corned Beef, Lamb’s Liver and Bacon and, of course, Tripe, Onions and Drisheen (with those local jacket potatoes).
Time flew by and I got a bit worried towards the end when I spotted my two hour parking had long since run out but luckily I wasn't clamped or anything like that. In any event the two bloggers were also anxious to head off to the Cliff House in Ardmore and very sorry that they wouldn't get to Ballymaloe.
What an enjoyable afternoon. Oh, forgot to mention the drinks. Both were craft beers. From Mitchelstown’s Eight Degrees Brewing: Chris took the Howling Gale Ale while I choose the Knockmealdown Porter.
To read more about the Foodspotters trip...