Ari's Picks

An Invitation to a Wonderful Zingerman’s Week in Ireland

Only seven seats remain as I write

a lush green, rocky landscape in Ireland with a road curving through it

It’s been over 30 years since I went alone to Ireland for the first time. I knew very little about the country, I had no friends or food producers there to call on, and, back before the world of the web was the norm, I had very little idea what I was getting myself into. That trip changed my life in wonderful ways. Thirty years later, I have many friends there. I’ve swum regularly in the river of its history. I love the music (sad-music lovers—give a listen to the bagpipes on Lankum’s “Young People,” or the harmonium on band member Radie Peat’s somber dramatic performance of “Dark Horse,” live in Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol on Easter 2017). The poetry is powerful, the literature lovely, and the landscape unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been back to Ireland now probably two dozen times.

In the years since I made that first trip, Irish food has, I believe, become some of Europe’s best. In fact, there is now so much wonderful food and drink that even this intensive eight-day tour will only scratch the surface in the best possible way! If you grab one of these last few seats, I will guarantee you a whole lot of great eating and drinking, combined of course with a wealth of creative connections, wonderful culture, learning, and laughing. And, if you fall in love with Ireland as I did all those years ago, you will likely go back many more times.

People ask me all the time why I’m so drawn to Ireland. In the context of what I wrote a few weeks ago about sadness, I’ve realized one of the big reasons, in a quiet way that I wasn’t conscious of at the time, is that there’s something powerfully evocative in the spirit of the place that resonates for me. Not the stereotyped jovial “Irish humor” that’s often portrayed in movies, but, rather, the extreme but gentle, moving, and really almost magical sadness. The bleak beauty of the landscape is really beyond belief. I’m haunted by all of it, and always hungry for more.

Zingerman’s Food Tours Managing Partner Kristie Brablec has connected with longtime friends of the ZCoB Kate McCabe and Max Sussman from Bog & Thunder, who will serve as co-hosts. You can see all the amazing details of the trip on the Food Tours site. Buy a seat soon before they run out! You’ll experience some amazing eating, a wide range of emotions, and take in some of the most beautiful and moving landscapes you’ll ever visit.

The first tour for Ireland will be September 19-28, 2022. Or, alternatively, you can go with Kristie, Kate, and Max October 3-12. Sign up soon! If you do, I’ll buy you a copy of Manchán Magan’s lovely Thirty-Two Words for Field to help you get ready!

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