The early bird catches the worm they say, or in this case the drive down to Cork!
With a field trip on the cards for the day, it was an early start for our Certificate Course students who had to be at the Red Cow Luas Stop for 7am (thankfully they all remembered that the clocks went back too!).
On the road to North Cork, the students were well-prepped for the lashing rain that got heavier the further down they went.
A day for foraging, first off we headed to the Galty Mountains with Mark Cribbin of Ballyhoura Mushrooms.
Ballyhoura Mushrooms are Irish growers of specialist mushrooms including Shiitake, Oyster, Eryngii (King Oyster) Golden Oyster, Rose Oyster, Lions Mane “PomPom”, Velvet Pioppino and Nameko.
Not only that but they also produce a range of award-winning, speciality mushroom products including Marinated Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms (Winner of a Blas na hEireann/Irish Food Award 2012), Mushroom Soups, Wild Mushroom and Oyster Mushroom Pate (Winner of a Blas na hÉireann/Irish Food Award 2012). We were very lucky to have Mark as our guide!
To say we got soaked was an understatement! We were flooded with sheets of rain but what we found out in the open made it completely worth it.
Next on our Cork Field Day was Ballinwillin House in Mitchelstown where we were greeted by Patrick and Miriam Mulcahy. Set on 80 acrces of rich pastureland, the house was built way back in 1727 for the famed agriculturalist, Sir Arthur Young, by the Earl of Kingston. They also boast the only wild boar herd in UK and Ireland, where they roam free in Ballinwillin.
Warm and hospitable people, we were brought on a farm tour where we got to see all of their animals including wild boar and red deer that were of Hungarian extraction!
Did you know that a group of boars is called a sounder? Wild boar also known as the Euarasian wild pig, live in matriarchal societies (grown males are usually solitary outside of the breeding season).
What’s the difference between pig and boar? Well “pig” usually refers to the barnyard variety and the wild boar lives in, you guessed it, the wild, and is the ancestor of domestic pigs. Pig includes 10 different species but a boar is only one with many subspecies.
The term“hog” is then used to describe larger pigs and boars. But technically, they’re all of the species known as Sus scrofa. Both pig and boar share the same genus.
An impromptu kitchen lunch saw us chow and gulp down on Venison Bourgignon and amazing Chateau Mulcahy wine and we went away with some wild boar in hand.
Finally, we headed off to Kilbrack Farm where we got a tour of their organic farm, followed by a fantastic candlelit barbecue in the barn.
The magnificent menu included: Wild Mushroom and Newgrange Gold Camelina Oil Flatbread, Wild Mushroom Risotto with Kilbrack Farm Apple Juice and Venison and Wild Boar Burgers washed down with Kilbrack Farm Apple Juice – an absolute feast.
Having the barbecue accessories really made for easy cooking and we whipped out the Weber Gas barbecue with a pizza stone for our flatbreads and a charcoal kettle with a wok accessory to cook up our risotto.
Waving goodbye to the Rebel County, it was finally time to head back to the homestead in Dublin. What a day and what an experience, we’ll surely be back again.
If you’re interested in learning more about grilling and barbecuing, have a look at our Weber Winter Warmer Grill Academy courses.