The Daily Spud

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Category: Confectionary (page 1 of 2)

Spud Sunday: A Spud’s Museum

They say we produce the most potatoes per person in the world.

So Stanley MacDonald commented casually as we sat in the café at Prince Edward Island‘s potato museum, munching through cinnamon rolls (which, needless to remark, featured a little added potato in the dough). With 145,000 residents on PEI and a production of around 1.1 million tonnes annually, the assertion sounded perfectly plausible – an output of 7.5+ tonnes per person is a whole lot of spuds in anyone’s book.

With production in such quantities and with potatoes such an integral part of island life, it’s no great surprise that PEI should be home to a potato museum, one of the few in the world – reason enough for yours truly, and for the generally spud inclined, to visit. Head ‘up west’ to the community of O’Leary in the heart of PEI potato territory and you’ll find it – a giant spud marks the spot.

Big spud at the Canadian Potato Museum

A rather big spud marks the entrance to the Canadian Potato Museum on Prince Edward Island.
Sure what else would you have?

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Spud Sunday: A Bar Too Far

Warning: You may feel a slight dizziness as I plunge from the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of a single post. This is a normal reaction and mostly nothing to be concerned about.
Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi à la Madhur Jaffrey

Last week, you see, I was all about the heady heights of the Ballymaloe Lit Fest.

There was me and there was Madhur Jaffrey and the world was a-glow with possibilities. First stop, aloo gobi, next stop, who knows where.

This week, there is cheese and onion chocolate. A place to which I didn’t particularly want to go.

Tayto cheese and onion chocolate

Cheese and onion chocolate. Did it have to happen?

Yet here it is (or, at least, there it was in my local Centra), the union, in a single wrapper, of Tayto cheese & onion crisps and milk chocolate.

Now, the first thing to know is that, in Ireland, the combination of crisps and chocolate is, to use that most nondescript of descriptions, a thing. I have – and I know I am not alone in this – enjoyed meals of Tayto cheese & onion and Cadbury’s dairy milk, usually in that order and most memorably when my Da would bring both items home as a treat. Perhaps a chocolate bar with embedded Tayto was an inevitability but – guess what? – that sweet chocolatey ooze in your gob smacks mostly of onion and, with that, all desire to let it linger disappears.

Afterward, it tastes like you’ve downed a bag of Tayto, which seems unfair, given that you haven’t had the pleasure. The fundamental problem, I think, is that the crisp-chocolate balance is all wrong (well that, and the fact that the chocolate isn’t great to begin with). The real joy of crisps and chocolate is that you get to have the satisfying savoury crunch of the crisp followed by some silky chocolate sweetness. This bar manages, sadly, to rob you of both.

Raising The Chocolate Bar

I went to last weekend’s Temple Bar Chocolate Festival for the chocolate, but was utterly charmed by the chocolatiers – a whole lot of people demonstrating a whole lot of dedication to the cause of cacao.

The enthusiasm of Gillian Walsh, for example, who blogs at Some Say Cocoa, Some Say Cacao, had lead to her conducting a truffle-making class as part of the festival. This was truffle-making 101, aimed at those whose experience ran to eating, rather than making, chocolate truffles. Perfect for me, in other words, and I was more than happy to discover that truffle-making doesn’t have to be at all complicated.

Making Chocolate Truffles

Truffle time

The rest of my festival experience was composed, I would say, of equal parts listening and tasting.

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