I first came across Gubbeen at the Ballymaloe Lit Fest last year, which we attended with our Broughgammon trailer. Everyone was talking about Gubbeen’s fantastic stand selling a selection of smoked meats and their award winning cheese (both of which are amazing!).
A few months later, while we were at the RDS Craft & Design fair, Giana Ferguson came by to have lunch at our stand and I later met and chatted with her at the launch of her book Gubbeen, The Story of a Working Farm and It’s Food. Gubbeen’s ethos is very closely linked with what we do here at Broughgammon, so I was very excited to get stuck into the book.
Gubbeen is a traditional, working farm based on the South-West of Ireland. Run by the Ferguson family, Gubbeen is firmly on the Irish food map with incredible produce and a brand full of heart and determination. The book is divided into five chapters, each celebrating an important cornerstone of the farm; The Land, The Farmyard, The Dairy, The Smokehouse & The Kitchen Garden. All these elements work hand in hand to create the business.
As far as appearances go, this is a very handsome book; a heavy-weight tome with wonderful photographs and a stunning gold embossed cover. But what really pulled me in was the delicious writing. Giana and Clovisse are both wonderful writers and I found the descriptions of the market garden, the farmyard and the dairy gloriously descriptive and very invocative.
The book is a combination of exploration, education and recipes. Visit the Smokehouse chapter to learn the basics about curing meat and recipes to create your own salamis. The Farmyard chapter shows you how to rear pigs, keep hens and how to translate the forthcoming produce into an array of delicious recipes. My favorite chapter has to be The Kitchen Garden by Clovisse, which includes a charming diary style look into her week as Gubbeen’s gardener and plenty of tips and tricks she has learnt throughout the years.
For anyone interested in the Irish food scene, in the behind the scenes of a self-sustaining food business and in farming then “Gubbeen ,The Story of a Working Farm and It’s Food” is going to delight.
Gubbeen: The story of a working farm and its foods is available at amazon.co.uk.