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Tag: tipperary

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: Young O’Donnell Had A Farm…

…and on that farm he grew some spuds, e-i-e-i-o.

More to the point, though, is what young Ed O’Donnell did with those potatoes. With a crunch, crunch here and a crunch, crunch there, he made crisps – and some really rather fine kettle-cooked crisps at that – a fact which I have verified by means of some, eh, selfless personal testing.

Fuelled by no small amount of determination – and featuring crisps flavoured using locally sourced ingredients, like Mt. Callan cheddar from Co. Clare and cider vinegar from Con Traas’ nearby apple farm in Co. Tipperary – O’Donnells Crisps have, since their launch in 2010, achieved an impressive level of distribution here in Ireland. You’ll find them, among other places, in SuperValu, Centra, Londis, Dunnes Stores, Superquinn and Tesco and also in Selfridges in the UK – so it’s here a crunch, there a crunch, and, really, everywhere a crunch, crunch for O’Donnells these days.

O'Donnells crisps and santa hat

And now for the best part...

The other place where you might find the crunch of an O’Donnells crisp this Christmas is in a box, delivered to your door. I have 5 such boxes to give away, and I will be resisting the temptation to eat them myself, so that I can, instead, bestow them, Santa-like, upon 5 lucky Daily Spud readers. Each will contain 20 packets of O’Donnells crisps in the readers’ flavour of choice – either mature Irish cheese and red onion, Irish cider vinegar and sea salt, or their more recently added sweet chilli flavour. Full details below.

Getting straight to the crunch:

If you fancy getting your Christmas mitts on a box of O’Donnells crunchiness, leave a comment below and let me know, flavourwise, whether you’re a cheese ‘n’ onion, salt ‘n’ vinegar or sweet chilli type of eater (or simply whether you’re salty, sweet or cheesy). Feel free, also, to speculate about the two new flavours that O’Donnells are bringing out in the new year – so secret that even I don’t know what they are yet.

I’ll pick 5 winners, and each will receive their Christmas crisp fix in the form of a box containing 20 packets of O’Donnells crisps in their chosen flavour. In a bit of good news for those living across the water, O’Donnells will deliver the prizes, not just to addresses in Ireland (either North or South), but to addresses in the U.K. as well.

I’ll leave this open until midnight GMT next Sunday, December 9th, and notify the winners of their incoming bounty of crisps thereafter.

Update 15/12/12: and so the winners have been chosen and O’Donnells crisps are winging their way to Keith Bohanna, Sara Wilson, Gareth Saunders, Imelda Kinsella and Lauren Bicocchi. Congratulations all and happy Christmas munching!

Spud Sunday: Cut And Dried

Oven dried potato crisps

My new favourite potato thing: oven-dried crisps

Fond though I am of a proper bag of crisps, I don’t mind telling you that I am more than a little excited by these.

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