Irish Tour First Stop: Dublin. Cheese, Sugar & Pubs.
If you've been wondering where I've been for the past few weeks and haven't been following my Instagram feed pics of the greenest hills on earth, farm kittens, and wheels upon wheels of Irish cheese, I'm happy to share that I've been on an Irish-culinary-cheese-venture. Officially. I had the honor of guest-lecturing a UC Berkeley Alumni Cal Discoveries Culinary & Culture tour of Ireland. As the resident tour cheese expert, I got to craft a tour shaped entirely around where I wanted to visit and eat cheese. I felt immensely lucky. It was dreamy, and put us in some of the most beautiful places around the country, like West Cork and Wicklow counties to visit dairies like Coolattin Cheddar and Durrus Cheese. More posts to come about those visits. The trip started in Dublin with the group and and ended with me staying on solo to visit cheesemakers on my own, with my last day on Dingle Peninsula. More photos of that too.
If you saw someone swerving along the Wild Atlantic Way on the left hand side of the road, but driving maybe a little more on the right hand side of the road, that was me! Sorry about that right hand turn.
This is my photo tour of some of my favorite stops in Dublin, where it all begin.
Obviously, travel starts out best with cheese. So I reached out to my friends at SheridansCheese and asked for a group Irish cheese introduction tasting. It was wonderful. With shops like The Pig's Back, Mannings Emporium and The Little Cheese Shop of Dingle, Ireland has no shortage of wonderful cheese shops, and Sheridans is the best in both Dublin and Galway. Highlights of the tasting were Milleens, Cahsel and Crozier Blue (often available in the states), Durrus, and a raw milk robiola style cheese whose name I forgot because I selfishly blanked out because it wasn't available in the states. John, below, was our cheese man. He moved form France around ten years ago and has been with Sheridan's since.
If you're on your own in Dublin, I'd recommend looking into Fab Food Trails. Dublin is navigable enough, but it's a city with delicious things tucked in hidden paths and corners. This tiny walking tour company worked with us to curate a custom tour around the city.
One of our stops was The Pepper Pot, housed in a shopping arcade. Reasons why we loved it are below.
Then we headed to the Temple Bar District.
A great straight-up seafood spot was Klaw. Crab-shack dining style, raw oysters, housemade gravlax, east coast lobster rolls, and Picpoul wine from the southwest of France to wash it all down. Delicious. I hear their happy hour is a rager.
Then there was The Swan Lynch pub. In case you're wondering, yes, Guinness is their best-selling beer. In 1916 a group of Irish Republications published the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and Ireland was commemorating the document that lead to the country's final independence in 1922 when we were there 100 years ago. Dublin was a center of action. Below, Swan Lynch's owner Danny points to bulletholes in the wall of a neighboring building where the IRA used to gather. In general, Swan Lynch has been an epicenter of Dublin life for years. Danny's father, an amateur rugby player who traveled the world playing, also brought in sports fans to the bar. And in true Irish fashion, the bar sill has hidden spots where men could stash their alcohol when women entered the bar because it wasn't considered polite to swig in their presence.
We all, however, sipped 12 year whiskey with Danny.
We also ate sweets besides the scones pictured at Pepper Pot. If you need a chocolate fix in Dublin, head to Cocoa Atelier. They do earl grey truffles like no one's business.
More Ireland to come.