Linda McClean is a food scientist who returned to Donegal after living abroad for almost 20 years. From her home in Newtowncunningham she runs Mallow Mia, a gourmet marshmallow company. She pops up at various food festivals and sells online via www.mallowmia.com. Her amazing treats are popular for weddings, parties and gifts.
As well as running Mallow Mia, Linda works as a food consultant helping businesses develop new food products at the Foodovation centre in the North West Regional College.
This weekend you’ll find Linda at A Taste of Donegal Food Festival, running from 23rd-25th August. Make sure to pick up some mallows for yourself to see how good they are!
This is Linda’s ‘My Donegal’:
(1) What is your favourite place in Donegal and why?
I’d say absolutely anywhere along the Atlantic drive on a sunny day. – it’s got breathtaking scenery and the beaches are never overcrowded. I also recently rediscovered Glenveagh, I kept saying to myself “oh wow it’s gorgeous”. We have so much on our doorstep; it’s hard to choose a favourite.
(2) What would your ideal day off in Donegal be like?
I’d set off early, go up Errigal, come down feeling all accomplished and have a bbq and a lie down on the nearest beach. That’s the sort of thing that fills my soul. If a boat trip round Sliabh Liag could be fitted in that’d be even better.
(3) Who is the one person in Donegal that you look up to and why?
I love what Erin Mc Ginty is doing with her Instagram page @coolestplaceontheplanet. She’s great at showing what’s available in the county.
(4) Daniel O’Donnell or Packie Bonner?
Packie Bonner has more emotional memories for me but I’d be more star struck by Daniel.
(5) What has been Donegal’s proudest moment in recent years?
It’s probably being named the coolest place on the planet by National Geographic. My son wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t also mention the Star Wars filming at Malin Head as well.
(6) If you could change one thing about Donegal what would it be?
Make us all appreciate what we have here. The countryside is so beautiful I just don’t get it when I see fly tipping at a local shore & litter along road sides. I’d love us to take more pride in our county. Plus I’d paint all the buildings in small villages bright happy colours like in Kinsale.
(7) What is your favourite Donegal-made product?
There’s so many great craftspeople and artists but for now I’d say Kinnegar beer
(8) Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why?
We’ve Donegal people all around the world and they’re all the real ambassadors of the county.
(9) Who is Donegal’s most successful businessperson in your opinion?
I love what Laura Bonner has been able to achieve with the MUFF liquor company in just a couple of years.
(10) Who is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?
Packie Bonner for the penalty shoot out memories
(11) What is your favourite Donegal restaurant?
I really enjoy a great steak, a beach and a cosy pub atmosphere so would say the firebox grill in Fahan.
(12) What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?
‘Jeees it’s wile warm’. Or if someone tells you a sad story you’d say ‘ aw that’s wile’.
(13) What is the biggest challenge facing the people of Donegal today?
Brexit is a major headache for sure. I live close to The N13 and there’s so much traffic on that stretch between Derry & Letterkenny. I’m just still hoping they’ll see sense and it won’t go ahead. Who knows.
(14) What is your favourite Donegal food?
I love freshly baked wheaten bread.
(15) Is there anything that really annoys you about Donegal or its people?
Donegal people are really friendly & helpful. I totally recognized that when I came back home after being abroad. We can be a bit too modest though which is endearing in some ways but doesn’t always serve us well in the big bad world. Congratulating ourselves now and again wouldn’t go a miss.
(16) If you had a million euro to improve something in Donegal what would it be?
There’s a lot of work to be done on mental health. I’d get schools to teach kids how to deal with problems and anxieties via CBT. If we change the way we think we can change how we feel and behave. It’s a vital but very basic life skill.
(17) What has been the most exciting moment of your career so far?
I headed off to Heidelberg in Germany at 24 to become a beverage technologist at a flavour company.
I filled my Vauxhall Nova with all my belongings and drove there myself. I could only speak about 10 words of German &, knew no one there but it didn’t bother me one bit. It was all about the great unknown and freedom. I started my career in drinks development there, and looking back it was a real adventure.
(18) Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of?
I love how when I mention I’m from Donegal the reaction is positive. I usually get an ‘aw I love Donegal’ reaction from the other person. That’s really cool.
Would you like to share your perspective on Donegal? If you’d like to take part in the ‘My Donegal’ series simply email email@example.comTags: