Friday, March 21, 2014

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Guinness

A yurt, pints of Guinness and two young Irish lads direct from Dublin. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off St. Patrick’s weekend! 

We were invited to celebrate all things Irish, and have some good “craic” (Irish for good fun) with Guinness Canada and The Ceili Cottage. An East end “Irish Local”, The Ceili Cottage is a warm, homey and friendly locale.  
The celebration took place on their outdoor patio which, during the winter, is housed in a yurt – yes, a yurt! Hand-made and hand-painted in Mongolia with materials such as sheep’s wool and horsehair rope, the structure is completely organic and biodegradable. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a family oriented event centered around spending time with family and friends. As it turned out, with its warm, cozy and close-knit setting, a yurt was the perfect venue to celebrate.
No green beer allowed!  In true Irish style, celebrating St. Patrick’s weekend wouldn’t be the same without an authentic Irish beer in hand. Brewed in 50 countries with approximately ten million pints enjoyed around the world every day, Guinness is the best-selling stout in the world.  To ensure we properly enjoyed this unique beverage, Ambassadors Mike Rossiter and David Tunney flew in from Ireland to teach us the art of the perfect Guinness pour. Not a bad gig if you ask me!
With a Guinness in hand, we all got acquainted and tested our skill at pouring the perfect pint.  Known for its dark colour and creamy head which sits atop the glass like a foamy cloud, when properly downed, a pint of Guinness should leave behind seven rings in the glass. Getting the ideal pour is not an easy feat. It involves properly positioning the glass during the first stage of pouring, letting the chocolate coloured liquid rise and settle (for 119.5 seconds to be exact), then topping up the rest of the glass just enough to achieve that perfect billow of foam.
Our pints of Guinness were paired with delicious Irish fare from The Ceili Cottage menu. Beer is incorporated into the menu and all of the food is made onsite using local and mostly organic ingredients. We indulged in wild boar meatballs, oysters imported from Ireland, a cheese plate with homemade preserves and peat-smoked organic Irish salmon with fresh breads, sour cream and pickled onions. Ordering food here is a must, all of the dishes that we tried were truly awesome!
After indulging in good beer and food, we headed into the Cottage’s main room to take in a customary Irish session, which consists of traditional Irish dance and music. 
The Ceili Cottage is open 7 days a week and features a full Irish breakfast on weekends and Irish sessions on Tuesdays.

Natalia Dziubaniwsky is a professional in the not-for-profit sector, freelance writer and an avid traveller forever searching for a new adventure. A lover of life, wildlife enthusiast, movie buff and hobbyaholic, you can interact with her on Twitter @taliasfootsteps or follow her footsteps through her blog.

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