Even before cattle were here, apples were grownCon 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.
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.