Have been promising myself, and one or two others, to visit Manning’s Food Emporium in Ballylickey for some time. Made it, finally, on a sunny day this week and enjoyed the call which included a chat with Val, the man who started it all.
Val was in great form and gave us quite a laugh when he let loose as a delivery man as about to demolish one of his flower stands out the front. It didn't come to a collision and soon it was smiles as usual.
Manning’s Emporium has been in the Manning family for over 70 years and has evolved in that time from post office and convenience store to what it is today: a gourmet shop renowned for its high quality local produce, fine wines and excellent service.
No doubt in Irish cities you’ll find some similar stores with bigger selections but remember that Mannings is in deepest West Cork in a country village on the coast road between Bantry and Glengarriff. That makes the selection here, mostly locally produced but also some stand-out items from aboard, quite remarkable indeed.
Just to give you a flavour, here are some of the items that ended up in my basket: Molaga Honey €3.40, Tikka Masala Curry Sauce (UK) €4.05, Janet’s Country Fayre Beetroot Blush €4.00, Healthy Thirst Elderflower Sparkling Drink (UK) €3.25 for 75cl, Cooleeney Handmade Irish Cheese €3.75, The Apple Farm’s Sparkling Irish Apple Juice €4.45 for 50cl, Donegal Rapeseed Oil €5.95 for 50cl and El Comandante Chardonnay 2010 Argentina.
I’ve forgotten the price of the wine but you’ll see that the others are priced fairly, better value than in some of the city shops. Quite a lot of other local producers on display including Lorge Chocolates, Jack McCarthy (Kanturk), Gubbeen, Durrus and there is a rack of vegetables by the door and more.
Shopping done, it was time to take a table out-front and enjoy a cup of coffee and a cake. They have a selection of pastries to chose from, all served with a smile. Soon, we were ready to check out two other delights of the delightful area: the unusual Ewe Sculpture Garden and Bantry House. A cool bag in the boot came in handy and some of the drinks - the Elderflower was gorgeous – were seen off during the afternoon of what turned out to be a great day in the west.