‘Milk sommelier’, ‘Grá Island’ and more from NDC at ‘Ploughing 2019’

The National Dairy Council (NDC) has unveiled a jam-packed programme of events ahead of this year’s National Ploughing Championships, including a range of activities over the three-day showcase.

Events planned by the council include: cooking demos; tastings; education; and visits from healthcare experts and sports stars at the NDC stand.

Looking for Love – at Grá Island

On day one of the “Ploughing”, RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey will bring “Grá Island” – with a special dating contest. Male and female participants will be sought to take part and win prizes.

Meanwhile, the NDC has teased attendees that there will be some “special surprise guests from one of this summer’s biggest shows”.

Meanwhile, the world’s first “milk sommelier” will also be making an appearance – Bas de Groot from Holland.

De Groot’s conception of milk mirrors what most of us have of wine, believing that terroir matters. A region’s climate, soil and surrounding flora will affect the end result we taste, he says.

“Milk and wine are both made from living products,” explains de Groot. “One is made by soil in the plants. The other is also made by the soil…with the cow in between.” Food writer John McKenna will be chatting to Bas and conducting a special “Milk Tasting”.

Climate College

The NDC will also have its own “Climate College” for younger visitors. This is an interactive maze full of entertainment, activity and education to feed the senses and the imagination.

According to the council, at this children can learn about climate change, animal, welfare, Irish farming’s best practices, sustainability and much more through memorable and fun activities.

Soil, grass, water and energy will be a key focus on the journey.

Health Screening

With a key focus on health and nutrition, the NDC stand will this year have a dedicated health screening area.

This will incorporate three screening areas all manned by expert nurses from Cappagh Hospital in Dublin.

Ploughing attendees can get their blood pressure checked at the Health Heart centre, as well as checks for weight and body mass index (BMI) – while podiatrists will also be on call at the Foot and Wellie Clinic.

For the cheese lovers, Irish chef Donal Skehan will be on hand to show visitors how to make cheese recipes, produced through his ambassadorship of the European Milk Forum’s “Cheese. Your Way” Campaign, implemented locally by the NDC to encourage more Irish consumers to enjoy quality cheese from Europe.

There will also be cheese tastings throughout the three days and a discussion on the history of cheese with Kevin Sheridan and Food Historian Regina Sexton.

‘Cooking up a storm’

On day two, Clodagh McKenna will be present at the stand, cooking up recipes and talking about her role as food ambassador for the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.

Lilly Higgins will also be cooking up a storm in the demo kitchen on day three.

Finally, as always, there will be a showcase of the “cream of Irish dairy produce” from Irish co-ops with sampling throughout the three days.