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It’s Not Greed, It’s Culinary Tourism

Lunch at Ballymaloe

We all enjoyed a delicious ‘dynamic vegetarian’ lunch – eating what had been made during the demo

Our blog has been disconcertingly silent while it seems as if we have have happily eaten our way round (parts of) Ireland and North Yorkshire!

It is lovely to find that one’s delight in good local food, is not so much greed but seeking ‘culinary authenticity’…

Culinary Tourism is defined by Wikipedia as ‘the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences’. It is now considered a vital element of travel. Farewell fruitlessly searching foreign shops for fish and chips… (not that most of us ever did) but I remember once, many years ago when we were camping in France being ‘befriended by an English couple whose sole aim was to find what they considered proper food; their greatest triumph was when they knocked at the tent door to say they had tracked down some M&S biscuits!! They were disappointed by our lukewarm response.

We have long noticed that our Tom’s and Douglas’s Barn guests invariably come to enjoy comfort, countryside, walking and good food. We have loved this, sharing their joy and have always felt very grateful that we have so many terrific local pubs and restaurants, farm shops and delis to recommend.There are also two excellent cookery schools locally and we and our Peak District Premier Cottages friends are hoping that we may be able to work together in some exciting way as yet to be defined. Hopefully more later… and any suggestions gratefully received.

The Irish are streets ahead of us in recognising the benefits and attractions of culinary tourism. I am sure one can eat badly there, as in any country, but in ten days we did not have a meal that was anything but delicious, whether in wayside pubs, smart Dublin restaurants or a simple quayside fish restaurant in Co Cork: all serving fresh local produce beautifully cooked and nicely presented.

Dynamic Vegetarian Cookery at Ballymaloe Cookery SchoolBallymaloe Cookery School, in Shanagarry, Co. Cork. Basically a dozen or more of us amateur cooks were sitting in on an element of the serious professional students’ 12-week course.

What an exciting experience it truly was from the delicious coffee and cakes upon arrival. We were lucky that the session was taken by the great Darina Allen herself and her brother Rory, both were inspirational and entertaining and throughly impressive throughout.

I felt so lucky to be there. They produced during the four hours twenty truly exciting dishes – using organic and ‘unmessed around with’ ingredients – which we all enjoyed for lunch. I came away with all the recipes and couldn’t resist buying some very ‘authentic’ ingredients from their shop.

After lunch we were shown round their extensive organic gardens, while the students went off on a session on wine and local school children were being introduced to gardening and keeping hens.

A week later and I am still bubbling with superlatives! Meanwhile, if any of you have any bright suggestions for some really great culinary experience that we could plan locally here in the Peak District, please let me know!

Quick News Flash from Dublin

No, in case you are puzzled, Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns are still firmly rooted in the Peak District; it is John and I that are, on a brief nostalgic trip to Ireland while Janet and co hold the fort at home.

I can’t show you any photos yet, having not taken any myself yet, and foolishly having forgotten the special camera connecting gadget necessary to download John’s onto my iPad. Needless to say he has taken masses.

We are in Dublin, staying in rooms at Trinity (TCD) where we both were as undergraduates and where we met. We are on a reunion of most but not all of the Trinity College ‘cricketing greats’ of the early/mid 1960s!

The sun has shone and needless to say we are having a very happy time, with lots of very good old friends. Our accommodation is fairly basic, costs more than our 5* holiday cottages in the Peak District but is most conveniently situated in the (mainly) elegant Georgian oasis in the centre of Dublin that is Trinity.

Tomorrow we drive down to Co. Cork for a few days of more luxurious but less social living. More of that later. And perhaps if I find the odd quiet moment before we go I will catch up on some of the news that I have been so bad at sharing recently, because there seems to have been so much happening.

Welcome to our new website

We have at last almost come to the end of a massive redesign of our website. The intention was to make it simple, easy to follow and hopefully genuinely informative and even entertaining.

Easier said than done, we soon discovered! So now we need your help please! Some very kind souls have already spent time checking for errors and omissions but even so we are sure you may find all sorts of glaring mistakes or confusing navigation.

Please have a browse and tell us what you think, using the comment form below:

– Did you manage to find the information you were looking for or is there anything we have missed?

– Did you manage to find the information you were looking for or is there anything we have missed?

– Have you any helpful suggestions how we could improve things?

Meanwhile, if you notice anything that needs urgent attention,  please give us a ring as soon as possible on +44 (0)1335 390519.

We’ll reach semi-perfection, sooner or later…

Derbyshire Open Arts Weekend – local artists

It never rains but it pours, and it’s not exactly pouring – now but two blog posts in two days…and it is certainly wet. It’s not too wet to walk, nor to plan a lovely Sunday lunch in a cosy local pub (which could include a walk) but it could be a heaven sent opportunity to view some local art, as John and I did all yesterday. Read about Derbyshire Open Arts Weekend


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  • A busy Sunday in the Peak District

    Lots of events to go to in and around Parwich today but managed to get to the Horticultural Show in Parwich and the Hartington Show. Missed out on the Antiques in Ashbourne though which is always worth going to. Izzy did better than me by getting 1st prize as the Prettiest Bitch at Hartington Show […]

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