holy smokes, ireland is a dream. it's not leprechauny or saint patrick's day 24/7 (and i'm a bimbo for ever having that impression), it's basically home to what i imagine would be the greatest somersault ever in the history of mankind. because there are endless rolling hills that are covered in the greenest fluffiest grass you ever did see, they're dotted with zillions of huggable cuddly little lambs*, and when you're done with your miles-long somersault, you could probably just brush the dirt off yourself and walk into a pub and make a million new friends because everybody in ireland is the nicest person you've ever met. it's so cozy there, physically/socially/mentally, it's impossible not to be extraordinarily happy, even outside in the rain with an open container of labneh that's getting soupy. it's very hygge. i think i'm using that word correctly...?

*in my somersault fantasy the lambs don't poop. 

the food was another part of my trip that was completely unexpected. i mean, i came for the butter, and i got the butter, which i ate with total abandon. but i also had meals filled with rhubarb, dainty asparagus, gorgeous greens of every kind (even from the sea!), and the most flavorful gooseberries from the gardens of wherever my group ended up. everybody we met had these massive healthy gardens and the way they used them, how they didn't just pluck a few herbs to put on their supermarket things but rather centered their whole meals around whatever was looking ripe that week, made me determined to come home and finally figure out what to do with all of the chamomile, chive blossoms, and other random plants that popped up in my garden without me even asking them to. i also revisited the idea of getting a pet cow to put the butter making skills that i learned at the butter museum to good use. everything i ate in ireland tasted so pure, there was nothing too complicated or frilly, it was just honest and good to the bone. 

my trip and my liver ended at the ballymaloe literary festival of food and wine, which was next level. i spoke a little about it here and here, but to recap: i can't imagine a food festival getting much better than this. ballymaloe is a little like ireland's stone barns in that it has a huge insane garden and greenhouse that grows everything, even nuts and kiwis, for their restaurants, cooking school, and farm shops. during my days at the fest i learned from yotam, francis, and claire, and at night the place turned into a wild face-melting techno club. i loved every second of it. i took notes, obviously, in hopes that maybe one day there will be an eggboy and molly farm litfest of food and wine.

eeep i can't wait to go back. see you at litfest next year??


one hundred million thank yous to kerrygold for inviting me on this trip!! thank you also to the longueville house and castlemartyr resort for the wonderful hospitality.


hi, tuscany is no joke. there really are rolling vineyards everywhere you look, the focaccia does have grapes in it, and people actually do sit outside for beautiful timeless lunches with wine and prosciutto and dreamy conversation. that stuff's not just in the movies, it's all real. and really tasty.

my tuscan days began with crisp morning walks through the vineyards with alana or hilltop pilates class with rebecca and ended with pitch perfect 2 c/o brandiego (and his pitch perfect 2 obsession which gives me inspiration in my everyday). in between, we harvested grapes, visited montalcino for a vertical davinci brunello tasting and a gelato photoshoot, stood in the birthplace of leonardo da vinci, ate tons and tons of pizza, blended chianti, and made friends with some cows and their cheesemaker owner. note to self: make more friends with cows and their cheesemaker owners. we slept in a handsome yellow casale that was built in the 1600s.

on our last day, alana and i ate tuscan rice pastries with the wonderful emiko before zooming off to malta!

it was so magical and exactly what i imagined tuscany would be. i arrived craving pizza and pasta and left with, yes, a belly full of pizza and pasta, but also: enough wine knowledge to not look like a complete doofus when i taste a new wine, a deep affection for cannellini beans, farro and panzanella goals, and new amazing blogger friends.

every day since returning i've wondered just how expensive it would be to take up a wine hobby. so there's that. does anyone wanna coach me through this?


as a davinci wine storyteller, this post was created in partnership with davinci winedavinci was started in vinci in 1961 when 30 winegrowers created a farming co-op. today, davinci includes 200 winegrowers in tuscany whose grapes produce varietals like chianti, chianti riserva, pinot grigio, and brunello. 


i’ve done these things one too many times now, and i think i’ve finally learned some lessons:

1. scheduled a trip to europe where half of it occurs on a sunday.
2. scheduled a trip to a warm sunny place where i tell all of my travel companions in advance, ooooh fuck it! let’s not plan anything and just chill by the beach with chips, beer, and brightly colored literature all day. 

both of those are fun for about five minutes and both of those i did this weekend in malta after my week in tuscany. lol. i mean it was great because i was with brian and alana in literally king's landing, and then later on we were saved by a cake recommendation c/o meike followed by a mean spaghetti pie. it was also sooo sunny! but in general, i think in my older post-college age i am learning that i need to plan things when i go places and not take the lazy route. even if it's the one and only touristy tour that operates on a sunday. rather, especially if it's that because those are actually kind of fun?

am i making any sense? i got off the plane two hours ago and i'm extraordinarily jet-lagged and still emotional from watching insurgent and pitch perfect 2 separated only by the emerson string quartet's recording of verklärte nacht. delta is nailing their in-flight entertainment these days.

it's well before eight and i'm going to bed. tomorrow is sugar beet harvest eve and the excitement is in the air!!! and then this weekend i have the first photoshoot for my book, so these next few days i plan to be nervous, excited, stressed, doing pilates, and furiously recipe testing.

how was your weekend???



our time there was brief and not terribly eventful, but it was beautiful and the coffee alone was enough to make me reconsider my whole life plan: find a new job and adopt a new value system that will enable me to justify spending $5,000 on a swiss coffee maker. each time we had coffee, eggboy and i could do nothing more than sit and sip and let our eyes roll to the back of our heads as we tried to find new ways to voice our love for this dark sweet buttery coffee that was thick as soup and finished too soon. 

fondue can wait, order seven more coffees.

let's marry this coffee.

let's have babies with this coffee. 

let's hijack the keystone pipeline, reroute it from lucerne to east grand forks, and then make it carry this coffee.

our love and obsession turned into confusion towards american coffee. how is it possible that thin watery bottomless coffee exists all over the states when even the coffee in the innsbruck train station lobby makes me want to lie on the ground and cuddle with it all day?

i'll shut up now. and then go make a swiss coffee maker fund piggy bank at the paint your own pottery place. 

there's this other thing i want to tell you about! chügelipasteteli. it's my new favorite word. (even though for the longest time we called it chügelipügeli because we kept forgetting the second part of the word.) it's a lucerne specialty that's basically a mountain shaped chicken pot pie with veal and meatballs instead of chickens. it was the thing you want to eat most when it's cold outside and you're dusted with snow. the one that we had was decorated with puff pastry hearts, so yes, i was obsessed from the beginning. 

other goodies we ate in lucerne were eggboy's first döner, a bunch of marzipan, an easter tart, breakfast like there was no tomorrow, and, of course fondue. it was great fondue, smelly fondue. we were touristy about it and had it at a touristy place, but we were, after all, tourists.