February 21, 2011

Roadtrip! – A Visit to Cork without Dairy, Wheat, Gluten or the other Usual Suspects

Despite Dublin with Food Allergies’ main focus there is, of course, WAY more to Ireland than Dublin and it's so important to get out and about!... and so, with this in mind, last weekend I found myself in Cork. I have been there a good few times since I moved to Ireland and every time I go I like it more and more. It is a compact city (123,000 population & 3,731 hectares) but it’s the 2nd largest in Ireland. At first glance Cork can feel as small as it looks on paper because it can be hard to get beyond the main shopping thoroughfare but with a little bit of an exploratory nature there is a full and vibrant city waiting to unfold.
During my weekend visit I had the lucky privilege of staying with some friends who are knowledgeable long term residents of the city with a foodie flare and a thoughtful awareness of food intolerances. Although we only had a limited time we managed to hit two spots which had my taste buds thumping!

1st Stop:
Cork Coffee Roasters

OK, from what I can gather, Cork Coffee Roasters is the bee’s knees when it comes to coffee in Cork, if not all of Ireland – or so is the word on the street! They hand roast their own coffee using traditional methods and produce a variety of home blends. Their main deal is roasted, ground and blended coffee made to order for delivery. HOWEVER, for the purposes of Survival Guide I would like to talk about their funky little café on Bridge St. Coffee is coffee and there can be some pretty good coffee but in my opinion the thing that puts Cork Coffee Roasters on the map is the fact that they not only offer soya milk as an alternative to cow’s milk but they also offer Rice Milk! I have NEVER seen this in Ireland! I simply couldn’t believe my eyes.
Soya Milk has become the major substitute for cow’s milk and although I am genuinely thrilled to see a boom in dairy free milk substitution in our cafes and restaurants, the killer is that a lot of people can’t handle soya so rice milk as another alternative shows signs of true flexibility and understanding in my opinion. It is my milk of choice and I seriously hope that this catches on!

Location: 2 Bridge St, Cork
Tel: 021 7319158
Opening Times: Mon-Fri 07:30-18:30; Sat 08:00-18:30; Sun 09:00-17:00
Web: www.corkcoffee.com

2nd Stop:
Quay Co-op

With a whole-food shop downstairs a vegetarian restaurant upstairs which also caters to food intolerances, AND an in-house bakery, the Quay Co-op have it covered. After my dairy free high in Cork Coffee Roasters I was really excited when my friends brought me to the Quay Co-op Vegetarian restaurant for dinner. Road trips can be hungry events and after having to limit myself to a banana and pistachio nuts on the four hour bus journey from Dublin to Cork I couldn’t wait to dig into something warm, hearty and food allergy friendly!
The Quay Co-op caters to:

- Dairy free
- Egg free
- Wheat free
- Gluten free
- Sugar free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian

Although the Co-op is set up in a canteen style the seating resembles a bright fresh café style restaurant with two floors of seating spread across three rooms. It’s similar to Dublin’s Cornucopia by way of the menu and service but an important element of the Quay Co-op is that it is a worker’s co-operative!
Choices for food are between two soups, two daily specials, lasagna, pizza, burgers and tarts with a selection of salads and/or warm vegetables. In addition to this there is a selection of sweet cakes and beverages.

Location: 24 Sullivan’s Quay, Cork City
Tel: 021 431 7026
Opening Times: Mon-Sat 10:00-21:00; Sun 12:00-21:00
Web: www.quaycoop.com

No comments: