Tuesday, February 7, 2012

in good taste goes to the emerald isle!

So it's been a solid five weeks since I decided to take a huge leap (with one week's notice, none the less!) and pursue my dream of going to cooking school.  After hearing about the famed Ballymaloe Cookery School situated just outside Cork, Ireland on an amazing 100 acre farm, I knew I had found the school for me. I have such a passion for artisanal food and farm-to-table dining, and with the organic and slow food movements well underway, Ballymaloe embodies the spirit and true sentiment of producing exceptional, quality food. Learning to prepare it in a similarly authentic manner under the tutelage of Irish celebrity chefs like Darina Allen, Rory O'Connell and Rachel Allen (of the show "Bake!" on the Cooking Channel) has been both enlightening and exhilarating. And I am absolutely loving it. There is definitely something in the air in Ireland...an intoxicating charm with a bit of mysticism. It's odd only being here for a little over a month and not being able to imagine leaving...

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of where I've been working for the past five weeks (hence the lack of blog posts!) - it's truly a magical place.  Situated just a half mile from the sea near the little town of Shanagarry, Ballymaloe is a hidden gem which I am delighted to call home for the next few months. In between limited breaks in the kitchen, I hope to share some of the wonderful experiences and recipes I've learned so that you all can experience a little piece of this amazing Irish oasis...

Entrance to the vegetable garden

Magnificent hedges leading to the gardens - the oldest in Ireland!

Darina's amazing garden

A peek through to the little folly...

...with a little surprise inside...

...it's completely encrusted in seashells! 
The most incredible little structure - even the "shell-delier" (chandelier) is made of shells!

Ballymaloe pigs! The school also has its own hens, a small dairy, 
and over an acre of glass greenhouses - truly a sight to be seen!

Pond with geese, ducks and swans near the gardens 
One of the little cottages for students (love the doves every morning!)

...to be continued! xx
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