Thursday, August 30, 2007

Eating among the Irish

On our trip to Ireland last week we spent two nights in Kinsale, often referred to as Ireland's culinary capital. When I discovered we'd be there for the town's Wednesday farmer's market, I vowed to get there bright and early. (Thinking of how I dislike the full-contact sport that late-morning shopping has become at the North Market and Worthington Farmers' Market. But hey, the crowds are great for the farmers.)

Anyway, turns out the folks in Kinsale are a little more laid back about their start time. We arrived at 9:30am when the market opened, and many of the growers and bakers hadn't even set up their stands yet. Ditto for 10:30 am. (As my husband put it, the 9:30am opening was more of a soft opening.) Things didn't really start hoppin' until 11:00am, when locals in the know showed up with their baskets and pull carts.
Though the vendors didn't have the bounty of produce I'm used to in Michigan and Ohio, I was struck by the number of stands that sold exquisite yet homey-looking baked goods: breads, brownies, scones, muffins and cakes. What I loved about them was that they were all beautifully arranged on cake stands and in baskets, and weren't wrapped tightly in plastic (like you often see in the U.S.) but out in the open air. One of the bakers displayed her framed certificate from the Ballymaloe Cookery School, which unfortunately is closed during the months of August.


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