Tralee Culinary Students experience the best Ireland has to offer
"Tralee Culinary Students experience the best Ireland has to offer" The Students Reflection
Our group trip away to MacNean House (Blackloin, Co. Cavan), The Organic Centre (Rossinver, Co. Leitrim) and Kettyle Irish Foods (Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh) was a great experience for all participants. Not only did we become more educated as regards food, food products and food produce, but we also got to bond away from the confinds of the kitchen/college.
There was an air of excitement from the start, and although we were apprehensive about the bus journey from Tralee to Blackloin, we need not have worried as the driver ensured we had ample breaks and plenty opportunities to stretch the legs.On our arrival at MacNean House we received a wonderful welcome with Neven and the staff there to greet us. Not only were we to eat at MacNean House later that evening we were also staying in the MacNean House accommodation, which was wonderful.
As for the meal, well we could not say enough about the dishes produced and the specialised menu created just for us. Neven himself not only produced the food but took time out to introduce the menu and then we dined - 8 courses, with each course as exceptional as the previous. The waiting staff and Sommelier were at hand for any requirement and overall the eating experience was probably the best we have ever had. The trip across the road to the local pub was also entertaining and a great opportunity to get to know each other that bit better.
The following morning we breakfasted at MacNeans, gathered our things and said our goodbyes, and headed off for The Organic Centre at Rossinver. On our arrival we were greeted by Hans and he proceeded to educate us on the 'seed to fork' ideas and theories as regards organic produce and food in general. A very passionate man and this came through with every staff member we met on our tour of the facility. It was extremely informative and well worth the visit, and not only were we given a tour and presentation, we were also fed lunch - organic and vegetarian, which was again exceptional.
From Leitrim we proceeded toward Fermanagh, and to the picturesque town of Enniskillen. Kettyle Irish Foods was our destination, and it was worth the visit just to see how one man's passion can be turn into a very successful enterprise. Maurice Kettyle knows more about meat than anyone I have ever met and not only were we taken on a tour of the facility, we were also brought into the fridges and storage areas where some of the produce is hanging for 90 days! Wow is all we could say.
From Fermanagh we returned to Co. Sligo and stayed at the Glass House Hotel. A great night was had by all and it gave us the oppurtunity to explore the Culinary Delights of Sligo. Overall the familiarisation trip was a brilliant educational and gastronomical experience. We would like to thank our lecturers Maurice O Brien and Mark Murphy for organising the trip it was one of the many highlights of the Total Immersion Programme.