Markets get critics’ thumbs-up
Evening Echo, Monday, 18th October 2004
CORK and Limerick farmers’ markets and specialist food producers have come up with the new recipe for success in a new food guide. The 408-page latest edition of the Bridgestone Irish Food Guide from Durrus-based John and Sally McKenna in west Cork, highlights all the best spots to buy some food from unusual artisan cheeses to where to find a good restaurant or hotel.
“The artisans represent the best hope for the Irish food culture and what is needed is a champion at both the Department of Agriculture and Trade to take on the mangle of driving forward what has been achieved to date.” Mr. McKenna said. He called on new Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan to mandate county councils to support farmers’ markets to protect and promote artisan producers. “Local authorities should take note that some counties are poorly represented in the guide and this is where much work needs to be done. “By doing this we will have true diversity in the Irish food culture which will give us all real choice by securing the future of real tourism in Ireland.” added Mr. McKenna. One of those artisan food producers highlighted in the guide is Declan Ryan of Arbutus Bread in Montenotte. The bread is sold at farmers’ markets at Bantry, Clonakilty, Kenmare, Macroom and Midleton and at the English Market in Cork.
“Mr. Ryan bakes the best loaves you can eat in Ireland,” said the guide. The guide says of the English Market: “You could live a lifetime in Cork and never need any shopping destination other than the English Market.”
Dr. Patrick Wall, former chief of the Food Safety Authority, pointed out at the lunch of the guide that the six million tourists who come to Ireland last year did not come here for a sun holiday. “The food we serve can play an important role in positioning Ireland as a quality up-market tourist destination.”