Published in The Irish Times Cork First supplement on Wednesday 2 July.
Get started early – farmers’ markets wait for no tourist – at the busy Middleton Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning, making time to pick up some artisan Arbutus bread, a selection of Frank Hederman’s superlative smoked fish (make sure you try his smoked mussels), a bag of Ballycotton Kerr Pinks from Willie Scannall, some cooking tips and cupcakes at the Ballymaloe stall – and don’t miss getting your hands on a slice of sinful chocolate cake from Frank Krawczyk, who specialises in the best home-cured salamis and fantastic rillettes.
Drive down to Shanagary to take a wander around the organic gardens at Ballymaloe Cookery School and admire the raw ingredients, including the free-range Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, that the students get to practice on. If in need of a quick bite – or a little retail therapy – pay a visit to the Gallery Café at the nearby Stephen Pearce Gallery. After some zesty Lemon Tart from their array of sweet treats, make sure you stroll downstairs to EatWell, who stock a variety of fine foods, including an extensive selection of Green Saffron’s Indian spice blends and chutneys.
Finish the day by driving just over the Waterford border, to the small seaside town of Ardmore. Book into the newly renovated Cliff House Hotel and prepare to be wowed by Dutch chef Martijn Kajuiter’s imaginative cooking before falling asleep in one of the stylish, comfortable rooms at this boutique hideaway.
Middleton Farmers’ Market. Web: www.midletonfarmersmarket.com
Ballymaloe Cookery School and Gardens, Shanagarry, Co Cork. Tel: 021 4646785. Web: www.cookingisfun.ie
The Gallery Café @ Stephen Pearce Gallery, Shanagarry, Co Cork. Tel: 021 4647970
EatWell, Stephen Pearce Gallery, Shanagarry, Co Cork. Tel: 021 4645927
The Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford. Tel: 024 87800 www.thecliffhousehotel.com