We packed our bags and headed for the US ready to launch the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine in New York. We had a terrific guest list of media, speakers, friends and well-wishers.
David Tanis of the New York Times, April Bloomfield of the ‘Spotted Pig’, ‘John Dory Oyster Bar’, ‘The Breslin Bar and Dining Room’ fame, blogger extraordinaire David Lebovitz, Garrett Oliver of the Brooklyn Brewery, Christine Muhlke of Bon Appetit, Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe and Kerrygold our festival sponsors were all due to attend.
But we hadn't reckoned on the weather taking a sudden turn for the worse. Sunday was crisp beautiful sunny day, but by Monday New York was being whipped into a frenzy of panic by the weather forecasters, who predicted scary blizzards, 24-30 inches of snow by Monday evening.
The city gradually went into lock down, and by mid-afternoon the conditions had certainly worsened, but still only a few inches of snow. By late evening trains had stopped running and roads around the city were closed, as were shops and restaurants. Supermarkets shelves were emptied as people panicked. The serious snow and blizzards were, we were told, to come during the night.
Well, the prediction turned out to be embarrassingly exaggerated – a mere two to three inches of snow dusted sidewalks in the morning but the city was still at a standstill and it took days for things to get back to normal.
|The Flatiron the day of the planned launch - not a person in sight. NY was locked down.|
Meanwhile we had held out to the last moment to make a decision, but there was simply no option but to cancel the event. As you can imagine we were thoroughly disappointed, having found a great venue in the Bowery, planned it all, hired all the glassware, great flowers, yummy food... Not to worry. We quickly picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down and arranged a new date for the New York launch of the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine in mid March.