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Culinary Tour to Ireland: Ballymaloe, Ardrahan Cheese, Cork and Me

Ardrahan washed-rind cheese bobbing in a salt brine

Ardrahan washed-rind cheese bobbing in a salt brine

I spent the best two months of my life a little over a year ago roaming the green Isles, and making cheese in Wales, England, and Ireland. I dug my fingers deep in cheese curds next to producers whose wheels, like Mary Holbreck’s of Sleight Farms, and Ardrahan’s of Cork, that I adored from afar in the United States. I drove (slowly) all over the left hand side of the sharp, windy roads of the Atlantic Way. I fell in love with new customs, lands, and people. And then there was that Irish butter and those English desserts and meats which and I still dream about today.

Because I’ve been working on a couple projects relating to this fabulous trip that have been in a transitory state, I haven’t wrote much here about it. A lot has been in development and so much has been in flux! But things are shaping up and now I’m super happy that I can share one of these projects.

A Culinary Trip to Ireland

My alma matter and I, UC Berkeley, have teamed up to create a culinary and cultural tour of Ireland this summer of which I am amazingly proud and excited to be the tour guide. That’s right, if you join the tour, you get to hear me talking about the glories of Irish cheese, dairy, cheese, and cheese all the time (thoughI will leave you alone when you’re ready to go to bed). This is a country whose land produces some of the most gorgeous produce in the world, and whose seas supply beautiful enough fish and crustaceans to make this California swoon.

Couldn’t be happier.

it's an eleven day trip starting in Dublin and finishing in Cork that I was able to help craft from scratch. Meaning we’re hitting many of the places dear to my heart, and spending lots of time in Cork County.

Three nights at Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cooking School and Inn (above), complete with classes. A stop at Cork City's English Market. A visit to meet the Burns family of Ardrahan Cheese in Kanturk. Then more cheese. Visits to sheep farms, Dungarvin Brewing Company, and Middleton Distillery.Then more cheese. A stop at the Cliffs of Moher (otherwise known as Princess Bride's Cliffs of Insanity). To start.

Read more about the trip here. It's worth noting that one doesn’t have attended Cal and to become an alumni member and join the trip. If you have any questions, please reference me when and if reaching out to CalDiscoveries, and feel free to email me too ( I’ll post more info here as we get closer to take off!