The Menu: Everybody needs good neighbourfood

The Menu: Everybody needs good neighbourfood
Love Cork signage created for the Market Lane group of restaurants.

For the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, The Menu continues to bring you details of all the wonderfully innovative efforts ongoing in the Irish food world, as producers, growers and independent retailers seek alternative safe selling routes to market, to ensure you continue to enjoy the very best and most nutritious fare on your table.


If you — like The Menu — are passing idle time dreaming of the cheeseboard you will serve at the mother of all parties for when this horror eventually passes and hope to include finest Irish farmhouse cheeses, then you will need to ensure many of those renowned cheese producers are still around by supporting the CÁIS Buy Irish Farmhouse Cheese Online appeal.

Cork-based Bó Rua whose lovely cheddar recently featured as The Menu’s Today’s Special, now offer national delivery via their newly launched online shop.

Another great Menu favourite, Velvet Cloud, farmer/producers of truly stunning sheep’s milk yoghurt, along with also excellent milk and cheese, have also introduced a direct delivery service.


Fresh, local, seasonal produce is pretty much an essential daily requirement for The Menu and he is delighted one of his favourite growers, Food For Humans, not only continues to supply retail outlets but is shortly to introduce a veg box scheme.

Currently available in An Tobairín and Urru (Bandon), Menloe Stores (Blackrock, Cork city) and Neighbourfood markets (Douglas and Kinsale).


Blás na hÉireann, the Irish Food Awards, continue to add producers to their website while Slow Food Ireland have also produced a comprehensive, daily updated list detailing restaurants, cafes and producers with special delivery/collection arrangements as well as a producers list.

Boyne Valley Flavour’s Producers have launched an online Food Box for home delivery. A list of producer members still open for business is available


The very splendid Neighbourfood continues to ally the convenience of online shopping to finest farmer’s market fare with host markets springing up all over the country as the nation responds to the crisis.

New markets now include:

Macroom (Collection Tuesdays 2-4pm at Old Lidl Car Park in Macroom Centre); Toons Bridge (Collection Saturdays at Toons Bridge Dairy & Shop, time TBC); East Cork (Collection Ballymaloe Cookery school, Saturday’s 1-3pm); Kildare (Collection Boyle’s Bar, Kildare town, Wednesday’s 5-7pm); Glasnevin (Collection at Honest2Goodness, Thursday’s 5-7pm); Limerick (Collection Milk Market, Thursday’s 5 - 7pm); Callan, Co Kilkenny (Collection Fennelly’s, Callan town Saturday’s 2-4pm); Enniscorthy (Collection Castle Lane on Wexford Road, Collection Thursday’s 6-8pm).


One of The Menu’s favourite local independent food retailers, Menloe Stores, in Blackrock, in Cork, offer superb produce from local farmers, farmers markets and artisan producers.

Open seven days a week til 9pm, it’s subject to ongoing review and observing a strict safe-selling protocol.

Call and collect sees orders delivered direct to car boot and free same day local delivery (Blackrock, Mahon, Ballintemple, Ballinlough, Douglas) for all orders placed before 1pm.

Produce available includes superb locally roasted coffees, gorgeous Golden Bean, the latest addition, along with Ahern’s Raw Milk, Ballinrostig cheese, Gubbeen Cheese, Food For Humans veg, Orchard Dairy goat’s milk and kefir, My Goodness krauts. Orders: Tel. 021 429 4244; email: or via Facebook Messenger.

The egg hunt may be restricted to the back garden but Easter is still very much on schedule and a fine chocolate egg will never be so important for children small AND big.

Clonakilty-based Exploding Tree, recent winners of the Irish Food Writers Guild Environmental Award and Ireland’s only entirely Fair Trade bean-to-bar chocolatiers offer alternative bean-to-bar chocolates, gift boxes and Easter Confections, including bunnies, delivered directly to your door while Wexford-based Bean & Goose include in their extensive range very lovely chocolate figurines, including the Irish Chocolate Hare and the Bean Goose, all delivered directly to your door.

The Ballymaloe Cookery School Farm shop, now adhering to HSE guidelines opens Monday to Friday (9am-5pm) selling freshly made breads and natural sourdough, seasonal organic vegetables and herbs from the farm along with soups, stews, pies, hummus, jersey milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, ferment.

Contactless delivery option also available: Tel 021 464 6785 or order online.


Before lockdown began, The Menu embarked on an extended and rather poignant bicycle tour of an eerily deserted Cork city as if to cement memories of favourite places for what may well be a long spell in the exile of isolation.

He was greatly moved by the new signage (pictured above) in the windows of the currently closed Market Lane group of restaurants expressing solidarity with the citizens of Cork city.

Should any other Cork businesses or private individuals choose to use same, its very talented designer John Foley (Bite Associates) offers free download.


Fitzgerald’s Butchers, Fermoy, one of the few remaining independent craft butchers operating their own farm and abattoir, have introduced safe-selling practices to their retail outlet and home deliveries in their immediate locality.

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