For the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, The Menu’s weekly column is a community bulletin board for the Irish food world.
The response has been incredible — too incredible — so The Menu is advising all to check out EatForIreland, a web-based directory that allows independent Irish food producers and growers, hospitality outlets (restaurants, cafes, and so on), and independent food retailers to advertise any safe-selling practices they may have adopted to find an alternative route to market and keep businesses viable in hugely challenging trading conditions.
Businesses upload a brief description of their operation and offering, along with a link to further information about their temporary safe-selling business model.
Consumers, in turn, are able to use EatForIreland to search their locality under two categories: Cook It Yourself (producers, growers, retailers, markets); or Cooked For You (hospitality outlets offering either takeaway or delivery service).
As well as catering for businesses, EatForIreland also features producer or market groups, such as Neighbourfood, or Real Bread Ireland, or umbrella organisations jointly promoting the local offering, including the Burren Basket and the Cashel Food Box.
The app is free to all users: it was created for the love of Irish food rather than for money.
Currently web-based to ensure immediate release, EatForIreland can be downloaded by clicking here and then following simple instructions to install it on your smartphone home screen.
Brothers Duncan and Richie Blair have slimmed down their gorgeous restaurant offering in the very lovely Blair’s Inn, near Blarney, to a 100% contactless takeaway service, Thursday to Sunday.
Join the mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to receive daily menus and to order.
Limited, staggered collection times are booked in advance.
Payment is taken over the phone.
Duncan cooks and Richie oversees the logistics of ordering/purchasing/collection.
ALLTA FIRST OUT OF THE BOX
Allta, in Dublin, was scarcely open a wet weekend when unwanted closure was foisted upon it by the lockdown, but in that short time it had developed a national reputation that had firmly established it on the Menu’s Wishlist and its new Alta BOX has proven a smash from the off.
It is a weekly subscription and nationwide delivery service, including sourdough, house charcuterie, freshly prepared pasta and sauce, and pecan and cookie dough.
A great Menu favourite, Food For Humans are now selling their fine, chemical-free produce via a box scheme delivered to your door, with details online.
Initial delivery routes are Douglas, BlackRock, Rochestown (Friday); Ballinhassig, Ballygarvan, and Carrigaline (Tuesday).
CLIFF HOME DELIVERIES
The Cliff group of hotels (Ardmore, Dublin Townhouse, and Cliff at Lyons) have come together to offer home delivery of a range of signature goods, spa products, and homewares, along with choice items from The Pantry at CLIFF, including cookie and biscuit mixes, soda bread, and wild mushroom risotto blends, bespoke Cloud Picker coffee, and curated wine selections.
PASTRY SHOP ONLINE
Praline Pastry shop and café, in Mitchelstown, are not only purveying fine, baked confections, including maple-and-pecan granola, hot choc drops, and handmade truffles, through the Watergrasshill Neighbourfood market, at O’Mahony’s, but are also selling online, including batch-baked scones, brown breads, muffins, brownies, and more, all for freezing.
Daily offer updates on Facebook.
CASHEL FOOD BOX
The enterprising Grubb family, creators of one of The Menu’s favourite ranges of cheese, Cashel Blue, especially delicious Crozier Blue, and the sublime Shepherd’s Store, have put together a Cashel Food Box, featuring produce from some very fine Tipperary food producers, including Magner’s Farm, the Apple Farm, Cooleeney Farm, and many more.
The different-sized options (including a vegetarian) can be selected and ordered online for home delivery.
The Menu is greatly looking forward to the day when he can saddle up the bould Neidín and take, once more, to the highways and byways of a greatly missed Ireland, whence he plans to eat the country out of house and home.
Close to the very top of his list will be an extended trawl through his beloved Burren, in Co Clare.
In the meantime, he intends to bring the Burren back to Menu Towers by way of the Burren Basket, a collaborative initiative by members of the Burren Food Trail, including the Burren Smokehouse and St Tola Irish Goat Cheese.
It is supported by the Burren Ecotourism Network.
The initiative is comprised of 30 businesses, and other products include Ailwee Cave gouda, Market House black and white puddings, and Burren Fine Wine & Food chutneys.
Available in two sizes, it can be purchased online and delivered to Ireland and Europe.
Order via www.burrensmokehouse.com
The reaction of the Irish people to this coronavirus crisis has, at times, been nothing short of inspiring and The Menu was especially moved by the generosity of certain hospitality outlets, even as they themselves were feeling the pain.
Having closed the Cork’s Elm Tree pub and restaurant, in Glounthane, in the process making 70 staff redundant, its proprietors donated every last bit of their fresh stock to Cork Penny Dinners.
The Imperial, in Youghal, gave theirs to the vulnerable, the elderly, and healthcare workers.
Once the dust settles and some semblance of normality returns, The Menu hopes that such generosity will be remembered and rewarded by a whole host of hungry diners, itching to pull up a pew once more in an Irish restaurant or cafe.