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Tag: apples

Tipp Top Traas

Even before cattle were here, apples were grown

Con Traas of The Apple Farm

Somehow, during the course of the dinner, I managed to make a note of the comment above by Con Traas.

The venue was Avoca’s Salt Café in Monkstown a few weeks back, and dinner, frankly, seems like too restrained a word for what was, in fact, a glorious celebration of people, of place and of produce, masterminded by the dynamic Tipperary Food Producers group, under the stewardship of meat meister, Pat Whelan. Course after course of Tipperary’s best – spiced lamb koftas from Sheepwalk Organic Farm, Crowe Farm pig’s cheek pastilla, Gortnamona goats cheese with Inch House black pudding, sirloin of beef à la Pat Whelan, Apple Farm apple crumble, a raft of Cooleeney cheeses, treats including the impossible-to-resist Holycross chocolate biscuit cake from the Tipperary Kitchen, wines supplied by Red Nose Wine – and chat after chat with the great and the good of Tipperary food, and the charming company, among others, of Cate from The Cookie Jar and Kate from O’Donnells Crisps. Tipperary food had come to Dublin and claimed its place on the menu with considerable aplomb.

Galtee Mountains

The Galtee Mountains, in the heartland of Tipperary

Glen of Aherlow Walking Trail

Walking Trail in Tipperary's Glen of Aherlow

By sheer coincidence – and very lucky happenstance – having been thus kindly treated by the Tipperary Food Producers on my home turf, the following weekend I made the proverbial trip to Tipp at the invitation of the Aherlow House Hotel. The hotel itself – comfortable, rather than swish – is crowned by its location in the Glen of Aherlow, with views across to the Galtee Mountains. The big draw, however, was that the trip would include a visit to The Apple Farm, home to the aforementioned Con Traas. It is an ancient and elemental thing that Con does in farming apples. It is also a difficult job – when 95% of the apples sold in Ireland are imported – to farm apples in Ireland these days and make it work. Con Traas does it, and does it with style.

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Spud Sunday: Forty Shades Of Potato


I had potatoes coming at me everywhere I turned. In Ireland, “and chips” is a phrase that annotates much more than fish.

For Frank Bruni, former New York Times restaurant critic and now Op-Ed columnist, the ubiquity of spuds in Ireland was a cliché confirmed, and, it seems, a tiresome one at that. He was writing in a recently published NY Times article about his first trip to Ireland, a journey which he often views through the prism of his late mother’s Irish ancestry – her love of the colour green is at last explained by the greens of the Irish landscape, encounters with gregarious and welcoming inn keepers identify Ireland as the source of her chattiness and storytelling, her temperament is echoed by the frequently changing moods of the Irish weather.

His mother’s Irishness, however, clearly did not extend to food (and the article does tell us that, his mother having married an Italian and been “swept into his Italian clan,” food in the Bruni household had a definite Italian accent). Given that Italians tend to go rather lighter on the spuds than we do, it may explain why Mr. Bruni felt somewhat besieged by potatoes during his visit to these shores. Continue reading

The Ghost Of Apples Past

They were worth the tummy ache.

At least, they must have been, because we could never resist picking and eating the apples from our tree long before they were ready (and, in truth, they never got that sweet anyway). We would use them to play bob the apple at Hallowe’en and, later, they would be arrayed on makeshift tables in the shed and would keep us in stewed apple, apple tarts and glorious baked apples for the winter.

Neither, I might add, could we resist climbing our apple tree and, on occasion, swinging from its branches.

Swinging from the apple tree

My brother demonstrating the fine art of swinging from an apple tree

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