Monday, February 9, 2009

Perhaps it is no accident that I am making a truely melt in your mouth shortbread, with, what I consider to be one of the finest butters in the world. Irish Butter. I mentioned that I was born and raised in Cork. Back in the late 1770's , Cork was home to the famous"Butter Exchange" This was the largest Butter markets in the world. Every morning the farmers would bring their butters to the market in wooden containers known as "Firkins". These were made of a really good hardwood, often oak. The butter was transported to tropical parts of the orld in these Firkins.

Now, you too, can enjoy the taste of Irish Butter. When I make my shortbreads, the butter and sugar is creamed first. It looks like golden sunshine in the mixing bowl. This butter makes the perfect shortbread. Melt in your mouth shortbreads . I am so proud of them that I have put my name on the box RACHEL GAFFNEYS TRADITIONAL IRISH BUTTER SHORTBREADS....

Friday, February 6, 2009


In the beginning, my business as I mentioned earlier ,was started so that I can pass along the rich cultural heritage that makes up this fine tapestry that is known as Ireland. It is steeped in history and tradition. When you visit you cannot help but succumb to its power. I own admit that. Fine craftsmanship encompasses all areas. From music to food , buildings to fine crystal &Linens. We are a nation that has a strong work ethic and take pride in what we do. My mother and grandmother took pride in everything that went on the table. I learned from the best. In this world of fast and processed food,people are losing a keen sense of taste. What a dis-service we are indeed doing to that sense !!!! I only use the finest ingredients. No cutting corners. You CANNOT cut corners if you want to deliver a superior product.

I remember going on a school tour to Bunratty Castle,Co Clare when I was 13. What a wonderful treat for ALL the senses. In the grounds of this castle,lies Bunratty Folk Park. Here they have captured the Medieval Lifestlye. As I wandered through the park ,I came upon one of the homes where a woman dressed in medieval attire was baking in the kitchen. She was kneading dough. To some it appeared tedious and boring. To me it struck me as theraputic and methodical. She was a crafstman. The aroma was too much for me. I had the opportunity of wandering on with my friends and escape the nuns or wait to try the bread !!! Well you can guess what I chose.....I can still taste it today at the ripe age of
39. All of these little experiences ,unknown to me at the time of course were going to lead me to my passion. Its not just baking,its craftsmanship and taking pride in what we do. We owe it to our kids to re teach this.

Little did I know then that I would happen upon a castle called "Knappogue Castle" located in Quin,Co Clare. Oh but it wasnt when I lived in Ireland. Ironically it was only in the last few years that I was introduced to this magnificent feat through a working relationship with a company known as Castle Brands here in the U.S. What a wonderful story. Why do I mention this? Because on further discovery I learned that the owners are from Texas and they personally restored a castle to its former glory. I urge you to research and read for yourself the wonderful story about Knappogue Castle. They have fine whiskeys,in fact some of the worlds best and rarest. I cannot do it justice,you must read for yourself. It is inspiring and hopeful. Try a sip while you are reading and re ignite your senses. I dare you...