Welcome, beautiful July. What an incredible summer we’ve been having here in Drogheda! I can’t complain even a tiny bit – day after day of lovely sunshine and just enough rain to keep my garden growing. Magnifico!
We had a nice, quiet Independence Day at home – I just made up a little brunch and had the family around to help us eat it. Any excuse to use fresh berries and sweet cream cheese is enough to call it an occasion, at least in my book.
Funny, I feel like I’m living a very happy and full life right now, I really do. How often can a person say that? Maybe it’s the fact that my day begins around 7 a.m. and does not stop until I crash into bed around midnight! Evelyn gets me up early (obviously a mixed blessing), and between household duties and my new job, I am on the go all day long. That may not sound like much fun, but I must admit, I’m getting a good buzz out of being so busy. Not to mention how much fun my baby girl is these days.
To top it off, I started working in a brand new coffee shop a couple weeks back. It’s called Traders, and is run by a really wonderful couple named Eoin and Niamh. They are actually well-regarded film producers, but with four small children at home, decided to try a new venture for a more steady income, in addition to keeping their toes in artistic waters. We find loads to talk about, between film, kids and good food, and I am really enjoying my time there.
The shop is in one of my favorite corners of town, right at the junction of Laurence Street and West Street in Drogheda’s main shopping neighborhood. We are surrounded by some of the town’s best butchers, fish mongers, pubs, shops and even an old-fashioned candy store.
Perhaps one of the best things about Traders, though, is the statement they are making with their merchandise. Everything is ethically and often locally sourced – all-natural, fresh, free range, organic, biodegradable, compostable, you name it. Even if you’re a skeptic of the free trade band wagon, I dare you to dislike the products we’re selling (or the prices, in most cases!). The coffee is roasted in Co. Meath, just ’round the bend, and is really a gorgeous brew. Eoin and Niamh take more care with the grinding, brewing and serving of this simple little bean than anyone I’ve every worked for (in over 12 years and 5 different shops worth of coffee serving), and it shows.
My main resposibility is to prepare sandwiches for the day, which we serve pre-made at ambient temperature with a variety of relishes and mustards. I get to work at 9 every morning and immediately start cutting up various Irish cheeses (Cheddar, Gubbeen, Brie, and Tiernan’s Glebe Brethan), dry-cured ham, salami and fresh veggies. We get fresh bread and pastries from a bakery in Dublin, and I warm the loaves in the oven before cutting each one by hand and turning it into a sandwich roll. The process takes a couple hours, but the humble sandwiches taste pretty good, if I do say so myself.
The cakes and sweets are pretty fantastic as well, even as we are still testing out what will tempt the public most! There’s everything from tea brack to cupcakes to summer berry tarts, and so far, they’re all selling a treat! And as much as I love sugar, it’s possibly even more incredible that I’m not sneaking bits (well, not too many) and gaining a ton!
I don’t want this to come off as some sort of commercial, and it may only be a summer job, depending on all parties considered. But I just wanted to share my delight with this new venture.
If you’ve been an avid reader of this blog, you’ll know how passionate I am about food and learning about flavors, textures, preparations, and so forth. Strange as it might sound, living in Ireland has broadened my knowledge so much in this area. Now, working at Traders has been another great opportunity for me to indulge my love of everything culinary while also getting to witness the love other people have for it as well. Treating food, and its sources, with respect rings so true for me… and I find it inspiring to be part of it, even in this one small way.