Five of the best: Cork food shops

The Real Olive Company

The most exciting new ingredient on offer at this “olive stall” is the buffalo mozzarella and ricotta that owner Toby Simmonds makes at his farm in nearby Toonsbridge. Surrounding these is a fine selection of olives, pickles, tomatoes in varying stages of preservation, vine leaves and dried fruit, all presented in handsome timber barrels. Further attractions include dried chillies, olive oil, wheels of Parmesan, fresh garlic, excellent almonds, bunches of lavender and local honey – or watch a pesto being made in front of you as you nibble on a newly arrived olive.

+353 21 427 0842;


This award-winning stall is spick and span and its selection of Irish and continental cheeses, salamis, Parma ham, freshly made pastas, pizza dough and sauces is top-notch. Like any great shopping experience, it is also about the knowledge and care of the purveyors, and owners Sean Calder-Potts and Josephine Kennedy dispense these two vital ingredients with ease.

The Cork English Market, Grand Parade, Co. Cork, Ireland ; +353 21 427 7047

Bresnan’s Butchers

Michael Bresnan, impeccably dressed in a tie and crisp white butcher’s coat, runs this family-owned stall which was established by his grandfather in 1898. Bresnan’s beef and lamb are finished on his own farm and processed in the family abattoir. You’ll find no anonymous, plastic-wrapped cuts here, only helpful hands and willing voices to ensure perfectly prepared joints of meat for your table.

+353 21 427 1119;

Frank Hederman

Frank Hederman smokes his fish in a traditional smokehouse at his home in Belvelly, not far from the city. His salmon, both hot- and cold-smoked, mackerel and mussels are widely regarded as the benchmark for this sort of produce. And Hederman also makes excellent herb-flecked fish cakes and rich, luscious pâtés.

+353 21 481 1089;

On the Pig’s Back

Isabelle Sheridan, a Frenchwoman who speaks with a lilting Cork accent, is the dynamo behind this stall that showcases local produce alongside continental treats, and impresses in both quality and range. Cheeses from County Cork, charcuterie from home and abroad, wonderful breads from Declan Ryan’s Arbutus bakery, house-made pâtés and terrines, preserves, dressings, chocolates and biscuits, sandwiches and more are all beautifully presented.

+353 21 427 0232;

Rory O’Connell is author of ‘Master It: How to Cook Today’ (Fourth Estate, RRP£25)

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