I won’t delay. It is unseasonably warm outside and, that being such a rarity in this parts, I really should take advantage, but not before leaving you with this month’s contribution to the five star makeover series.
This month’s theme called for a makeover of dishes where wine was a major ingredient. I chose that old-fashioned triumph of sponge, fruit, jelly, custard and cream, the sherry trifle.
My mini trifle tower
Attending a chocolate masterclass with Gerard Coleman at the Dublin Cookery School is really one of the nicer Saturday things to do.
Irish-born Gerard is the founder of the London-based and highly regarded Artisan du Chocolat. He’s one of the very few chocolatiers in Ireland and the UK who produces chocolate from bean to bar, and his wares have won the praises of such cheffing luminaries as Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal. I also happen to think that his chocs are rather good, so you don’t just have to take their word for it.
The masterclass was not only an opportunity to see Gerard at work, but was also a window into the world of quality versus not-so-quality chocolate. Gerard observed that while Irish consumption of chocolate is one of the highest in Europe, we don’t necessarily have a palate for the high quality stuff. Much of what is sold here, even at the fancier end of the market, actually uses the same base chocolate from a very high volume industrial production house. So most of the chocolates we buy essentially taste the same. We are not tuned into the fact that different chocolates can actually taste different, not because they have been flavoured differently, but because they taste different in and of themselves. It was food, and chocolate, for thought.
Gerard Coleman: artisan at work
It’s been quite the week in Ireland.
The visit of President Obama here tomorrow, while noteworthy, pales in comparison to the significance of the state visit made by Queen Elizabeth to our shores just before him. It was often moving and, at times, quite sparkly.
The original QE II, pictured at this
week's state banquet in Dublin Castle.
The lady does bling like no other.
(image AP Photo, from forbes.com)