Last Thursday we took a trip to the lovely county of Kilkenny to see what it had to offer to culinary aspiring students and to give us a chance to see different artisan producers ,and how they produced their produces for a living .
our day started early as the bus left the institute for Kilkenny at 8:00am we travelled first to Callan which is on the outside of Kilkenny city ,here we visited Highbank Orchard here we say how different artisan produces are made by using only the naturally grown apples on the farm , they produce a number of different items ranging from syrups to ciders . a tour of the orchard gave us areal insight into the way in which an orchard is run and the effort that is put in to producing the very best produces for an artisan market ,in the on farm shop we were given samples of the produces that were on offer , ranging from the honey syrup to the medival cider that is know being sent to china for sale over their. we were also shown a very unique product by the company which was a drivers cider ,this is a zero alcohol cider still the same great taste ( a few were sampled ) that allows people to drive after drinking which is not the case with the other ciders that are on the market today. it gave us a great look at the number of produce and ideas that can be put into action using one simple ingredient .
the next stop for us was in Kilkenny city where we went for lunch in a lovely restaurant called ZUNI this was a well laid3ed out place with a small elegant tapas bar at the front that was backed up by the well laid out dining area with its open kitchen plan and stylish furniture we dined here as a group and I must say service was second to none ,our starters were in-front of us no longer than two minutes after the order was placed ,here I went for the beetroot tar tatin and goats cheese curd which was melt In your mouth , for maincourse I had the battered fish and chip and homemade tartar sauce . this had to be by far the best battered fish I had in a long time . from here we moved onto Kells wholemeal mills in Thomastown here we got to see how all the various mixes for breads and baking mixes are produced .this was a very good insight into how all the baking produce that we use are tried and tested before they are put on the shelf for us to buy , we also had to do some of the sampling of the produces as we were given some fresh baked produces by the owner to take home and sample ” need I say they didn’t last long ”.
next stop was goats bridge trout farm this is a small trout producing trout farm that has a huge history in the business but remains family run for over 50 years . the owner kindly gave us a brief tour of the farm as light was running out so we didn’t have much time due to health and safety reasons ,nobody wanted an unexpected swim in the dark. He also showed us that there is a lot of work involved in taking care of the production of fish in there breeding and rearing as their life span is around 24 months up to the time they are used for production . he also showed us the various items they had to offer ranging from smoked fillets of rainbow trout to trout caviar that is their newest product on the market .
all said it was an exciting trip out that provided us with lots of information on different artisan producers and how they have develop and expand there business and produces over a number of years and also it was nice to get out of the busy kitchen environment at this time of the the year as work is mounting now for the holiday period within our own work establishments the break from the collage kitchen was a welcomed break.