French terroir in Kildare !
For a day, inhabitants of Kildare and the surroundings could take part into the activities organised for the Franco-Irish Fun Market. Pony rides, dance, French and irish food tasting, local craftsmanship, producers and craftsmen gathered around the project launched by French chef Aymar Gourdet from Annamars restaurant in benefit of the Jack & Jill Foundation.
For his 20th year in Kildare, this was a successful first attempt for this chef from Normandy, full of ideas and talent. The Franco-Irish Fun Market was an occasion to present French and Irish produces and crafts and to raise funds for a foundation which provides direct funding, to families of children with brain damage up to the age of 4 who suffer severe intellectual and physical developmental delay, enabling them to purchase home respite care. Funds raised and parts of the profits made that day will be given to the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.
“Such an event requires a lot of work. My friend Tara Weston and I have contacted local producers and craftsmen, both French and Irish to organize this day. They all gladly accepted to join us and have a part in today’s success” reminds Aymar.
From the cheese stand (who said French and Irish cheeses did not team well ?) to the roast pig, July 27 was dedicated to gastronomy. And for those who got in late, Armelle’s Kitchen delicious macarons were here to add a savoury note to an eventful day.
And what a day ! Let’s have a look at the programme : dancing with Brownstown I.F.D.C. and local dance team Dancetone studios, pony riding under the benevolent surveillance of Liz Prendergast, the owner of Billy, the little pony and mascot of the day. Girls could also work on their make-up skills with make-up artist Lisa Sheridan and get advice from Kildare’s Rose of Tralee challenger Katie O’Neill. The French Consul and his wife, representing the French Embassy, had the chance to witness the singing performance of Ms Shauna Rothwell, Miss Annamar’s and a very talented singer before being received for a visit at the National Kildare Stud and Japanese Gardens by Kildare Stud’s Chief Executive John Osborne. A visit of the city centre by Kildare’s two town guides Tom McCutcheon and P J Hetson concluded an eventful day.
Comfort needed after such efforts ! Thankfully Marie-France, Aymar’s mother and the Market’s official Madame Crêpe Suzette who flew specially from Troarn, Normandy, for the event was there to flip crêpes for food lovers !
The organization of a French market was also a way for Kildare to celebrate 20 years of twinning with the town of Corps-Nuds in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine in France. Thanks to the twinning, exchanges take place each year between the two towns enabling young (and less young) people to go abroad, visit and discover our two countries’ cultures and habits.
Two cultures which gathered during this Franco-Irish Fun Market and culminated during a dinner prepared by both Aymar and Olivier Pauloin-Valory, a French organic vegetable producer at Organic-Me Farm and Food in co. Kildare with the markets’ produces. A perfect Celtic diner with Gallic flavours !