My cup, or should I say, my dinner plate, runneth over.
I had the pleasure, yesterday, of enjoying my second all-potato menu in as many weeks (and yes, I know what you’re thinking – some gals just have all the luck).
The occasion was a cookery demonstration given by Pádraic Óg Gallagher at Gallagher’s Boxty House as part of this weekend’s Temple Bar Trad Fest, and the subject, naturally enough, was boxty, the traditional potato speciality that gives the restaurant its name. And Pádraic, who has run The Boxty House for some 23 years, knows more than most about boxty. His making of boiled, baked and pan versions of same (which have featured on these pages before) was accompanied by a potted history of the spud in Ireland and elsewhere. For the lunch which followed the demo, you could, if you so desired, indulge in boxty for starter, main course and dessert (and for those who persist in thinking that you shouldn’t put potato and dessert in the same sentence, let alone on the same plate, all I can say is don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it).
For good measure, the event – which was mostly attended by visitors of the non-Irish variety – included a helping of soda bread making and the pouring of a few Irish coffees, and Pádraic hopes that these demos may become a regular feature at the restaurant during the summer months. If, as a result, some tourists leave the country with the urge to make boxty, then that is no bad thing. If some natives were to discover its charms (as I first did here), then so much the better. It doesn’t, I think, need to be made because it’s traditional or Irish, but because it is simply a very good thing to eat.
As if the boxty demo wasn’t enough excitement for one day, I also found myself on Catriona Mulcahy’s weekend talk programme on Spin South West radio yesterday, talking about this week’s other piece of spud news, which was the granting of EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status to a potato grown in Co. Down, the Comber Early (more about which you can read here). What it boils down to is that the name Comber Early can now only be given to potatoes grown in the fields around the Co. Down village of Comber, which enjoy a particular microclimate suited to the growing of potatoes which are ready to lift as early as May. I can’t say that I’ve had the pleasure of eating a Comber Early myself – and I’ll have to wait several months before I can do so – but I’ll make sure to report in full when I do.