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The Perfect Ploughman’s Lunch

Ploughman's Lunch
Ploughman's Lunch

While many of us are busy with back to school lunches, for this week’s Thursday Tasting we are looking at one of the earliest recorded lunches; The Ploughman’s Lunch.

Though in itself the term only dates back to the 1950’s when in a bid to increase sales of cheese in post rationing England, the term Ploughman’s Lunch was coined. However, the tradition of eating bread, cheese, onions and butter with a measure of beer or cider has been mentioned as far back as the 13C.

Traditionally associated with farm labourers eating in the fields where they worked, the ploughman’s lunch, though simple in content, was nourishing and sustaining for a day full of physical work. The workers brought the lunch to the fields or had it brought by the women of the house and it was often accompanied by a condiment like chutney to enhance the flavours. The inclusion of meat and sometimes hard-boiled eggs, green leaves and an apple transformed this simple fare into something that remains a great midday meal to this day.

As always, quality ingredients are so important and this week our Ploughman’s lunch will remind us again of just what great produce we have on our door step.

The anchor of the ploughman’s lunch, cheese is all important and we just love 15 Fields’ cheddar from Eamonn Lonergan of Knockanore. Made by traditional cheddar methods using Eamonn’s raw milk and vegetarian rennet, production of 15 Fields is limited from May to October when the cows are out on pasture (on those 15 fields) and then matured at Sheridan’s Cheesemongers for 8 months, it has the rich character and smoothness that is needed to carry this meal.

Our own Hennessy’s Ham named after long time and now retired Deli Manager Eddie Hennessy, has all the flavour and texture you want in a great sandwich, a firm favourite here at Ardkeen Quality Food Store.

A great ploughman’s demands a great chutney and we have them in spades. Ciara’s Pantry Chunky Chutney form Killinerin in Co. Wexford, Joan and Bob’s Pear and Apricot and Orchard Apple Chutney or Big Red Kitchen Mixed Onion Chutney to name but a few. All adding flavour, texture, sweet or tart, the choice is yours.

Tinnock Country Butter is hand made by Peggy and uses only full-fat Irish cream with less than 1% sea salt added. The perfect Ploughman’s butter.

Where there is butter there must be bread and our baked in store country sandwich loaf is just the receptacle for all these great Irish Ploughman’s lunch ingredients.

An apple a day doesn’t get much better that Richard Galvin’s Sissired Organic apples straight from the orchard in Portlaw just 12 miles from Waterford. These are the perfect finish to any lunch, their sweet tartness memorable of days gone by but thankfully not passed.

The traditional ploughman’s lunch would always include a measure of cider or beer. Not the washy and sour one described from 1870’s Devon thankfully but the best of Irish Cider from Longueville House in Mallow, Legacy Irish Cider from Dungarvan and Highbank Orchard in Cuffes Grange Kilkenny. These are traditional ciders lovingly produced from cider apples on home orchards.

So, do pop in this Thursday at 3pm for a taste of a truly, traditional lunch that has without doubt, stood the test of time.

Look forward to seeing you,

Julie

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