St Tola Raviole and the Chinese TV Crew

St Tola Raviole and spinach broth

I can’t believe it has been three years already; I was sitting on the garden table, sipping on a nice coffee and honey, just the way I like it when the phone rang. ” 9 am!” I thought, “can’t a man enjoy a wee bit of peace before heading to work?”. It was a lady from Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland if you prefer, “Fáilte” meaning “Welcome”; by the sounds of things it seemed to be important and it came from the top, well you know, top enough! A camera crew from China, CCTV to be precise were touring Ireland; they wished to stop at my work place and wanted me to speak about cheese…

Choice 12

– ” O.K, cool, I can do that! When will they be here?”

– ” On Wednesday morning, thank you so much! You’re a star!”

I always like to help if I can and it is not everyday that a camera crew from China comes to visit to make a three week marathon filming about all aspects of Ireland, five of them and a translator. Sure why not, the orientation seemed to be leaning towards food and the beauty of its landscapes, right down my street, a philanthropic and Diplomatic mission for Franckie, which reminded me of something while I was still on the phone with my “Failte  lady”…

-” Actually, just so you know, I have been invited by the French Embassy  on Wednesday to meet the French Prime Minister Manuel Vals and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny!”

-” Oh no, you can’t make it so?!”

-” Oh I can, this sounds like way more fun! Don’t worry, I’ll look after them!”

-” That is wonderful, thank you so much Franck, I really appreciate that!”

Choice 2
A working lunch

I organised lunch for the crew and driver, and a visit to a cheese maker on the way down towards Wicklow, next stage of their tour. It was a lot of fun in fact and an opportunity to interact with another culture, share stories and anecdotes. Everything works better around a big table. The best moment was when I put a bit of St Tola goat’s cheese on a cracker and the cameraman got a bit excited asking me through their translator to do it again but a bit more slowly this time. So I took the cracker, put the cheese on it gently, we’re all friends here, it’s cool, and then I took a teaspoon and put a bit of chutney on top and in a moment of extreme enlightenment and revelation, the whole crew went:

-” AAAAAAaaaaaahhhhhh!!!! ”

Yes, you see, little things might seem natural or obvious to you and me, maybe a bit less evident for a culture – excuse the pun- not really exposed to cheese and Dairy. Like I said, it was a lot of fun and and I got inspired for my latest recipe by this little story. A couple of months later ( if even that long), the nice lady from Fáilte Ireland sent me a lovely email with a link to the documentary the day after its first broadcast in China. “Ireland the Glamorous”  had been seen by 55 Million viewers!!! I am now known in China as “The Cheese Guy”. Cool uh?

Choice 6
A lunch interview
Choice 8
A maturing room with a view

For the broth: You’ll Need

  • A bag of organic spinach
  • 2 cloves of organic garlic
  • a few cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp of Allspice
  • a splash of organic soya sauce
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Wash and chop the spinach and fry gently with olive oil all the ingredients, add a splash of the soya sauce and cover with water and let it reduce a bit…

Reducing the spinach

For the pasta dough: You’ll need…

  • 100 g of organic pasta flour
  • 1 egg
  • salt
  • a little bit of water

Knead the dough quite well and let it rest in the fridge for an hour…

Pasta dough in the making

For the stuffing you’ll need…

  • 130 g of fresh goat’s cheese ( St Tola)
  • a small organic courgette cut in tiny batons
  • thinly sliced spring onion green part ( just one)
St Tola, courgette and spring onion

Using a pasta maker, roll the dough with plenty of flour until very thin, you don’t want it to be too thick as it would be quite chewy …

Thin ribbons

Cut the ribbon in two parts and place a generous portion of the stuffing in the middle, keep the other one for the top. The French call it “Raviole” exactly like ravioli, just a bit bigger…

Stuffing the pasta

Beat one egg in a bowl and with a pastry brush, seal the ravioles. With a pasta cutter try to cut them in a round shape, but it doesn’t really matter…

Sealed ravioli or ravioles
Simmered ravioles

Put the ravioles in a pot of simmering salted water and poach them for 5 minutes. Reheat the broth and serve hot… Et voilá, enjoy!

Serving time
Final cut!
St Tola Raviole and spinach broth

Keep Well and eat Happy

Slán Tamall







9 thoughts on “St Tola Raviole and the Chinese TV Crew

  1. Hey nice story! And it’s funny for me to think that if that had happened to you a few years earlier, I could have seen you on Chinese TV too and could have known you as the Cheese Guy. I think it’s great to be the one who masters the art of something (cheese here) and be able to share it on a foreign national TV with the world 🙂 Congrats on that!

    1. Now I think about it, it could well have been a possibility! The documentary was plaid in a loop after that, I even got recognised by a Chinese tourist in Ireland which made be smile. Lovely people, and I was amused when the interviewer asked me if it was ok to eat the mould on the brie 🙂 A wonderful experience. I tried to bring the two world together with this recipe! 😉 Thank you for reading! 🙂

  2. What a brilliant experience and how absolutely incomprehensible to imagine being watched by 55 million people simultaneously 😮. ‘Franck The Cheese Guy …. bringing the world together one slice at a time …’. the recipe looks divine but it would … you never disappoint and I never tell a lie 💕

    1. Thank you so much, it really was! And the laugh I had when I turned down the invite at the French Embassy! Sometimes you have to get your priorities right and be a hero! 🙂 The chances of me visiting China are pretty remote, so these are my little journeys! 😉 et merci!

  3. Your life is SO MUCH COOLER THAN MINE. How long have you been hiding “The Cheese Guy” moniker up your sleeve and holding out on us?!

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