Tag Archives: Ireland

Note to self: Ireland food story worth a nibble

CORK, Ireland – the MU food writers visited Irish food pioneers, ate their way through excellent meals, visited farms and created another few pages of food story over the last 2-1/2 weeks. Check out the re-cap here:

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Gluten free baker takes the cake

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Michelle Mansuy of Michelle’s bakery at Midleton Farmers Market. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandanokes

By Maria Kalaitzandonakes

MIDLETON, Ireland — Tucked in between icy fish stalls and heaping piles of fresh veg in the Midleton Farmers Market, Michelle’s Bakery sticks out. It’s an eclectic mash up of signs, desserts and doilies. Delicious chaos. There’s a huge chalkboard sign that hangs precariously behind the table, showing off the handwritten names and prices of the sweets. Little perfectly baked pies and tarts sit in rows and stacks, beckoning. A sign on the left proclaims, “Carpe the hell out of the diem.”

“A gluten free welcome to ya,” owner, Michelle Mansuy said.

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Gluten free baked goods at Michelle’s. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandanokes

Mansuy has run this stall for four years and has only been baking for eight. She was self-taught, explaining, “I learned how to cook how I learned how to knit. At first it is complicated, but then you begin practicing and now I simply love knitting orange jumpers.”

A witch themed wind chime blows in agreement, and a regular customer comes up to request a gluten free strawberry and cream cake for her mother’s birthday.

“Of course dear,” Mansuy agrees. “Now, you know where I live right? Come and pick it up Thursday afternoon.”

Mansuy makes treats for those who suffer gluten intolerance or those who prefer to avoid it. Coeliac Society of Ireland estimates that one in 100 people in Ireland are coeliac, and a further 7 percent of the population claim gluten sensitivity. Mansuy said she hope her stall can break stereotypes of gluten free foods.

“People say gluten free cannot be delicious, but the proof is the in the pudding,” she laughed.

Mansuy is the perfect pastry shop owner. She has dark hair, a gorgeous French accent and an obsession with the band Pink Martini. She bakes early in the morning with the band cranked to full blast. And she is always smiling.

“Days are only gray if you allow them to be,” she said. “Especially if you eat dessert.”

Every bite I took was delicious. The oat bars were tender and fruity. Her chocolate tarts were creamy and mellow. The fruit tarts were to die for.

Mansuy’s secret ingredient must be joy.

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Hollywood and heck: movie making meets Irish fishermen

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Filming site of Star Wars Episode VIII recreating a 6th century monastic site just off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. Photo from vantagenews.com

By: Caitlyn McGuire

DINGLE, Ireland – On a secluded island off the Dingle Peninsula – where traditionally the only sounds are the crashing waves of the wild Atlantic Ocean – Hollywood has made its mark.

Filming continues in Ireland for the next episode of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. The first episode, The Force Awakens, featured the beautiful island of Skellig Michael. Movie goers were left with the final scene of Rey finding Jedi Master Luke Skywalker on this Irish isle.

The quiet headland on the Dingle Peninsula named Ceann Sibéal is Hollywood’s current fascination. Here, they are recreating the 6th century monastic site for Episode VIII in an attempt to match the original monastery on Skellig Michael.

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Fenced off area for The Force Awakens lost in Irish mist. Photo by Caitlyn McGuire

Hollywood, currently leaving its physical mark on Dingle, limits access to the headland. In the past, it affected the fishing community of Skellig Michael in this way during the filming of The Force Awakens.

The tale is this: Fishermen, in their daily routine, would boat out to the island in the hopes of snatching up their daily catch. Hollywood found this to be a disruption, however, and asked the fishermen to stay clear of the area.

The men grunted and groaned; just how were they supposed to make a living?

Hollywood found an easy solution, 1000 euros to the men not able to fish in their spot. The fishermen found no way to argue with that logic, and happily avoided the island and populated the local pub.

I, however, find a bit of room for argument. After tasting the fresh, beer-battered heck that the Atlantic Ocean provides near the Dingle Peninsula, there needs to be as many people out there as possible catching this delicacy to fill my tummy.

Being the Star Wars fan I am, though, I suppose I’ll let this one slide.

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Caitlyn McGuire, MU food writer, as Princess Leila on Dingle Peninsula. Photo by Tori Lock

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A match made in milk heaven

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Raspberry yogurt made by Glenilen Farm. Photo by Kristin Kenneally

By Kristin Kenneally

DRIMOLEAGUE, Ireland – On a hill in County Cork, Glenilen Farm is a place of great romance.

“We started with two sauce pans and a Coca- Cola fridge in our kitchen,” said Alan Kingston. “Watching the entire dairy process revolutionized my life, I fell more in love with my cows and my wife.”

Alan’s wife, Valerie, is a dairy scientist who graduated from University College Cork. Once returning from her studies, Valerie returned to Drimoleague and Alan where Glenilen Farm began its existence. Alan, inherited the land from his father who was the third generation Kingston to own Glenilen.

Glenilen products, offered in glass jars as well as plastic, are a cut above.

“We started in glass because we had no plastic containers,” described Kingston, “all we had was left over jam jars. But we soon learned that glass maintains the flavor better than plastic.”

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Glenilen Farm and Origin Green plaques outside the milk factory doors. Photo by Kristin Kenneally

Alan’s passion for Glenilen is noticeable as he talks.

“Business is like an iceberg,” said Kingston. “People only see what is above the surface, but you really need to worry about what is below the surface – the employees, the ethos.”

In Ireland, Origin Green is a business’s pledge to ensure more sustainable business practices. To Alan, Origin Green has become a culture; knowing that every little thing he does effects the sustainability of Glenilen Farm.

“I come in on the weekends when the factory is asleep,” said Kingston, “and I listen. ‘Is there an air leak? Is there a drip? Are we wasting anything?’”

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Packaging and fermenting room at Glenilen. Photo by Kristin Kenneally

Although Glenilen is a small dairy producer compared to dairy co-ops, it has placement in many Irish grocery stores. Both Alan and Valerie hope to continue to grow the Glenilen line of products and have more and more people to “get to taste good, clean food.”

 

 

 

 

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In the shadow of Shandon Steeple, sweets

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Colorful mixture of original hard candies at Shandon Sweets in Cork. Photo by Caitlyn McGuire

By Caitlyn McGuire

CORK, Ireland – In the progressive city of Cork, one sweet manufacturer remains. Shandon Sweets represents a fading family-run hard candy business tradition for the the town of Cork. Tucked underneath Shandon Steeple lies the small shop. Owned by Dan Linehan and his son, Tony, the 3rd and 4th generations of their family to make sweets by hand, this small shop is a regular stop for a range of customers. From shopkeepers and wholesalers, to school kids and tourists, Shandon Sweets presents a variety of candies to all.

The sweets are quite simple. Sugar, water and tasty syrups are boiled together creating a delightful mixture which is then folded and refolded on a warm table. The concoction goes on to a hand cranked brass shaper, forming them into the final candies which are then are left to harden.

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Variety of hard candy flavors up for grabs. Photo by Caitlyn McGuire

While this may sound easy enough, the results are candies in a wide variety of shapes, flavors, colors and textures. The sweet aroma of sugar is prominent throughout the shop, and you are engulfed with a child-like sensation as memories of sugar-rushes and pure giddiness come to life. The flavors range from clover rock candy to butter nuggets and everything in between.

The flavors aren’t the only appeal to the sugar coma-inducing treats (which you can’t help but gorge yourself on – hence the sugar coma). The shop feels wholesome. There are no artful marketing displays to entice you, the candy itself does the work. While Dan and Tony own the family business, the rest of the Linehan’s lend a hand from time to time – hand cranking the shapers to mold the candy into pleasing shapes and preserving the original recipes, and keeping tradition alive.

 

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A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker at the English Market

By Morgan Gunnels

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Entrance to the English Market on Grand Parade in Cork. Photo by Morgan Gunnels

CORK, Ireland – It was only 9:30 a.m. but the English Market was at full swing. Families, women with strollers, and wandering tourists all shuffled from booth to booth. We stood outside the gates of the food labyrinth as Regina Sexton, Irish food historian and adult education course coordinator at University  College Cork, gave us the run down.

The English Market, first opened in 1788, is located across the street from the outer wall of the medieval city. The metal scroll-work gates and columns flanking the door elevates picking up your daily bread to a new level. This wasn’t always the case. There was a decline in visitors after an economic depression in the 1980s, a gas explosion and a later fire which led to a much needed building restoration in the 1990s.

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The reconstructed section of the English Market houses a butcher, buttered eggs, an organic vegetable seller and a sweet shop. Photo by Morgan Gunnels

Here’s what stood out to me: the tripe, edible cow stomach lining, at A. O. Reilly’s, which comes in honeycomb and regular and is typically boiled; Alternative Bread Company’s booth with the three main types of Irish bread – baker’s bread, soda bread and sourdough – as well as many others; Kathleen Noonan’s booth where all parts of pig are utilized and sold, even the offal.

Items that caught my eye included beautiful smoked salmon, chocolate biscuit desserts, moist and flavorful carrot cake, colorful jams, almond croissants and aromatic soaps.

As we walked out of the market a quote by Ross Lewis on the outside wall caught my eye. The ending line reads, “The market is a true gem.” Indeed.

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Feet to tails, nothing is wasted. Kathleen Noonan pork booth at the English Market. Photo by Morgan Gunnels

 

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Patience in the pub – as stout settles flavor emerges

By Kristin Kenneally

CORK, Ireland – There was a buzz about the town as Ireland prepared watch the Irish national team take on Sweden–the first match for Ireland in the 2016 EUFA European Championships (the EUROS).

A few classmates took our books to Costigan’s pub and found a little nook in the back with a perfect view. We had an hour till kickoff, and locals had already begun scoping out spots for the game.

As the game drew near, I ordered a Murphy’s Irish Stout. The local Cork interpretation of Guinness has a smoother taste with hints of malt and caramel. The black stout comes in at 4 percent per volume alcohol in every pint. But before I could take the first sip, an older Irish gentleman leaned toward me.

“It’s a patient beer,” he chastised.

You must let a stout sit to truly enjoy the rich taste and flavor of the Irish classic.

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Patience lets the flavors come alive in Irish stout. Photo by Kristin Kenneally

The crowd grew and the pregame analysis reminded Ireland of the heartbreaking 2009 EURO Cup loss; where a handball wasn’t called on France causing Ireland to fall short in the tournament. The announcer’s comparison sparked bar-wide debate in the back of the pub over the proper term of football or soccer.

“It’s soccer.”

Shouts back and forth.

“Nah, it’s football.”

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Pub-goers nervously watch Ireland facing Sweden in the EURO match at Costigan’s in Cork. Photo by Kristin Kenneally

Watching the game at Costigan’s was one new sound effect after another. After Ireland’s first goal attempt the bar let out a collective “Ahh,” hoping that the Irish would be able to score early and often. Soon after the missed goal, the Swedish took the ball towards the Irish goal. Keeper Darren Randolph’s save gave all of Costigan’s a huge sigh of relief. The final agonizing “UGH,” was let out as O’Shea’s sliding attempt was just inches away from going into the Swedish goal.

As half time drew closer, I closed my tab. I struck up a conversation about the time I was about to spend in Cork. While turning to leave the man pointed to the ongoing game and told me, “You chose a great time to be in Ireland.”

He couldn’t have been more right.

 

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MU food writers gear up for Ireland

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MU food writing team at the University College Cork, Ireland (left to right): Victoria Lock, Kristin Kenneally, Morgan Gunnels, Maria Kalaitzandonakes, and Caitlyn McGuire. Photo by Nina Furstenau

 

By Maria Kalaitzandonakes

CORK, Ireland – For the next two and a half weeks, we will be your word chefs in Ireland. The Ireland team, Kristin Kenneally, Tori Lock, Maria Kalaitzandonakes, Caitlyn McGuire and Morgan Gunnels, will whip up a blog and churn out a story for each delicious bite as the MU food writers travel through Cork and the surrounding countryside.

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Kristin Kenneally

Kristin Kenneally hails from Rossmoor, California and can’t live without chocolate milk. She’s a senior studying journalism at MU, specifically strategic communications, and hopes to work for a sports team post graduation. She’s been Irish dancing her whole life and she’s a die-hard LA Kings fan. She’s got a soft spot for patterned socks and local beers. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

 

 

 

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Victoria Lock

Tori Lock is a Missouri farm girl through and through. She was raised on a beef cattle operation and came to College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to learn how to share agriculture with the public. This Irish excursion is her first time abroad, and although she was nervous, stepping off the plane she smelled cow manure and felt right at home. She’s excited to see how Cork compares in culture, food and farming to her John Deere roots. Lock is a junior studying science and agricultural journalism. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

 

 

 

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Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Maria Kalaitzandonakes is a Columbia, Missouri native with a mile-long last name. She’s a sucker for wool socks, classic Coca Cola and afternoon naps. She’s fluent in Greek, a little wobbly in Spanish and says “both” with an L, as in “boLth,” like a true Missourian. She’s a senior studying agricultural economics and science and agricultural journalism. Kalaitzandonakes is interested in food security and public policy.

 

 

 

 

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Caitlyn McGuire

Caitlyn McGuire is up for anything except brussel sprouts. She’s a sophomore studying agricultural business management, hoping to work in agricultural sales after graduation. She has double jointed arms and has had braces twice. She was raised by two high school biology teachers who instilled a nutty humor and emphasis on education in her. Ireland is her first trip abroad, and flying here was her very first plane ride. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

 

 

 

 

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Morgan Gunnels

Morgan Gunnels is a senior from Plano, Texas studying strategic communication at MU’s School of Journalism. After graduation she hopes to work in health communications. She’s obsessed with Mexican food, Netflix and her labradoodle, Lucy. Depending on the day, her eyes are blue or green. This trip is her first time in Europe, and she’s already in love with the Irish accent. Gunnels hopes to be immersed in the culture and try as many new dishes as possible. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

 

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