A Whole New World: From Irish Cheese to French Wine

Wednesday’s here are mad, in such a good way. It is the one day that we don’t actually cook and is for the most part theory based. Topics can vary from health and safety to an overview of local artisan producers and everything in between. Cheese is always involved in some way and afternoons generally centre around wine.

This week was no exception to the madness! We started in the demo room at 8:30 where Darina and her wonderful assistant Emer whipped up at least 6 different traybake style cakes in about 30 minutes using the same basic Madeira cake recipe. We sampled these at coffee break. 

Delicous bites in the Garden Cafe


We then had a visit from Eddie O’Neill from Teagasc who gave us an incredibly detailed insight into the world of dairy processing in Ireland and cheesemaking. We saw everything being made from yoghurt and soft cheese such as cottage cheese, to Gouda style hard cheese and paneer. Many of these are so straightforward you would be surprised!


Never met anyone as passionate about dairy!


Darina passionately interjected at regular intervals to extol the virtues of raw milk. Milk is so highly processed now that all of the goodness is pretty much removed. It really is worth seeking out raw milk or at the very least, milk that has not been homogenised. Raw milk has been proven to aid with respiratory diseases and even reduce the effects of skin issues such as eczema. There is a massive movement in the US towards seeking out raw milk and people are even resorting to buying a share in a cow to access it!

We really are so blessed here in Cork and Ireland to be surrounded by people making the most of our lush green pastures and producing incredible dairy products that fill our supermarket shelves. From Glenilen farm who make divine yoghurt and cheese to the farmhouse cheese makers all over the country such as Gubbeen and Coolea. If anything, this course is making me more passionate about local Irish food.

Butter making made easy by Darina

This afternoon was Wine Wednesday, a lecture I’m beginning to really look forward to every week. I love the attitude of people here that wine should be accessible to all. Peter Corr, one of our teachers and a drinks consultant, gave us a lovely line: “One should never become a wine snob. There is always more to learn and wine should always be fun.

I love that, I really knew very little about wine and I almost feel knowing a tiny bit is dangerous but it’s so fun learning and trying. Its even more fun tasting!

Cheers to another week of adventures,




Beautiful Alison enjoying wine Wednesday!


I am so enjoying learning about French wines


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