Showing posts with label Diva Boutique Bakery Cafe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diva Boutique Bakery Cafe. Show all posts

Friday, March 11, 2016

Taste Cork's Electric Breakfast Part 2: Plan! Plan! Plan! Nutri Bullet Generation.

Taste Cork's Electric Breakfast Part 2: 
Plan! Plan! Plan!
And the Nutri Bullet Generation.

The 12 Mile Menu on a plate at Sage. (Photo 2014)
It may have been the morning after the night before for Kevin Aherne. But Kevin, who had rushed back from Killarney having seen his Midleton restaurant Sage named as the best in Cork at the Irish Restaurant Awards, was well up for for the Taste Cork Breakfast Seminar in Electric on Wednesday morning.

Once you have your idea fixed, Plan, Plan, Plan. That was his advice to would-be producers and restaurateurs. “It is the same as in the restaurant kitchen: preparation, preparation, preparation!

Kevin's own big idea was of course, his 12 Mile Menu. That came after Sage had been open for three years. So they closed while the new idea was formed and got going again when it was fully formed.

Jen O'Mahony, Bean Brownie, Kevin O'Connell, Forage and Find,
and Sarah Sexton, Bean Brownie
So number one for Kevin was to get “your idea”. Why did he not call his plan the Local Menu or the Artisan Menu. “Because those words, though still popular and though they still mean something, are losing weight.”

Once your idea is there and you believe in it, it is now time to get it marketed, to get the message across to your customers. In his case, the restaurant was the platform and he used it to highlight the high level of great produce in East Cork and indeed in Cork county.

“Producers don't always get the credit they deserve”. Up to 26 producers are supplying Kevin's 12 Mile Menu at present and you'll see many of their photos - in work situations - on the walls of Sage.

Declan Daly, Cork County Council, Mary Daly, Food Safety Company,
 and Rebecca O'Keeffe, Taste Cork
Small producers have to put up with food fraud from time to time with one outlet or another saying this is the genuine article or maybe buying the genuine thing for a week or two and then substituting an import. “It is important that the food label is true. No respect for bullshitters!”

Even though successful, there are always pointed questions. “You don't get everything from within the 12 miles, do you? Why not 20 miles?” Kevin is well used to them by now. He confirmed that all fresh produce comes from within the 12 mile limit; his poultry supplier is on the limit at 11.99 miles! But Kevin has no problem with someone having a twenty miles limit or a fifty mile limit. Not every part of the country has such a concentration of producers as has East Cork. Indeed, Kevin's great idea is obviously open for replication elsewhere.

More about Sage and its 12 Mile Menu here

Paul O'Brien, Bunnyconnellan Bar and Restaurant,
and Shannon Keane, Diva Boutique Bakery and Cafe,
After the traditional full Irish (full Cork) at Electric, Mary Daly (of the Food Safety Company) had the task of diverting minds to Changing Trends in Food. “Take the Healthy Option for instance. Smart food operators are onto it. Free From is part of it but much more than that. Lifestyle factors come into it and there are a growing number with allergy intolerance, 10% suffering from it and 20% who think they are! It represents a significant opportunity for the food sector”.

Take the Lifestylers, the “Nutri-Bullet generation”. “They eat out regularly, not necessarily high-end. So promoting healthy foods (less processed, less fattening food) will retain your lifestyle audience.”

“What is driving Free From? How do you give it to them? Eighteen per cent of them chose to eat healthier, not because to have to….they want great taste, guilt free treats and small portions.”

“Calories on menus are coming,” she has no doubt. “Most operators are responding to trends, keen to do the right thing, even if calorie counts aren't that popular. Listen to your customers: clean food, clear labels, and healthy options for kids. Make it your marketing message. It is what the customer wants; this is not a fad.”

Read more on Mary’s thoughts on Food Trends here.

For more background on Taste Cork's Breakfast Seminar see Part One .

Monday, November 9, 2015

Taste of the Week. Potato Loaf by Diva Bakery

Taste of the Week.
Potato Loaf by Diva Boutique Bakery Cafe & Deli

Visited the Diva Cafe in Ballinspittle recently at lunchtime (review here) and also called to their bakery and deli across the street. Lots of that morning's bake had been sold but there were still some interesting breads on offer, including a Toasted Walnut Loaf. My pick was their Potato Loaf, our Taste of the Week. Lovely and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and full of flavour overall. Keep up to date with the bakery and cafe here

Monday, October 26, 2015

Go Visit the Diva. She can’t come to you!

Go Visit the Diva

She can’t come to you!
Get your share of these!
If you go to the Diva in Ballinspittle, and you should, and if you order a side of those gorgeous Sweet Potato Chips, and you should, then you should also mind your manners and do please share with the person you came with!

If the team here, in their newly revamped kitchen, back in action (since 21.10.15) after months out due to fire, can get the small things right, and they do, there is every chance they’ll get the big things right. And they do. Big time.
The Big One!
We called there for lunch last week and thought we’d have no problem by going early. We just about managed to get a table for two. Lots of different styles of tables here - it was after all the kitchen that got the revamp! But it is all part of the charm, as is the friendly service and the imaginative use of all that brilliant local produce.

Indeed, one of the first things you’ll notice is the back wall (the left bit) as you go in. Here there is a huge declaration of provenance. Meat from Lordan's butchers in the same street, greens from Horizon Farms, vegetables from All Fresh, free range eggs from Beechwood Farm and fish supplied by James O’Keeffe.
All Wrapped Up!
I had enjoyed a Reuben sandwich at the recent Waterford Harvest Fest and so was open to trying the Diva version. The Waterford one, in a Blaa, was very tasty but, in fairness, it was from a street food stall and could hardly be compared to the Champions League effort in Ballinspittle. Well, maybe New York rather than European. Massive, contained (not quite) in two large slices of their own bread, the length of my knife and about half the height, corned beef from Lordan’s, Sauerkraut, Gherkin, cheese and more. A magnificent Reuben. Worth the journey on its own.
 But it wasn't on its own. We had ordered a side of those Sweet Potato Chips. Put them with the Reuben and I had hit the jackpot, even if I did share! CL was enjoying herself as she tucked into her excellent Roasted Veggie Wrap, with goats cheese and a mango chutney. And a well dressed salad of course. And those chips, of course!

We were sitting at a small table and directly opposite us was the counter and the utterly tempting display of sweet things. We settled for a pot of tea and two cakes from the display, sharing (again!) the Raspberry Crumble and an equally lovely Honey and Spice (ginger) Cake.

Honey & Spice!
And after that, we said goodbye to the efficient and friendly folk in the cafe and strolled down to the bakery to see more good things, including produce from other local and Irish artisans. Some lovely breads on display - probably would have been more had we called in the morning. One that we bought was the Potato Loaf. It is a delicious souvenir (didn't last too long, of course) of a pleasant trip to Ballinspittle. Very Highly Recommended.

Diva Boutique Bakery Cafe & Deli
Main Street, Ballinspittle, Co. Cork
Wednesday-Saturday 9.30-5.00 Sunday 11.00-5.00
Tel: (021) 477 8465
Facebook: Diva Boutique Bakery Cafe & Deli
In the bakery/deli

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Diva Boutique Bakery Cafe. Big in Ballinspittle

Diva Boutique Bakery Cafe
Big in Ballinspittle
The Diva Wrap
 No mystery about the title Diva, the name of a bakery and foodstore on one side of the main Street in Ballinspittle and, on the other side, of a village cafe. Owner and founder Shannen Keane named it after a cafe in her native Seattle.

But there is a bit more to it, methinks. After all, some of the walls and some of the tables are plastered with black and white photos of real women from the forties and fifties, maybe some from the sixties, before that decade inflicted Twiggy and a forest of lookalikes on us.

All well and handy for slipping into a mini-dress or a mini-car but hardly robust enough for the farm! Our farmers did appreciate the diva size. I always remember being in a yard one day as one of the women hauled a couple of full buckets across the square with two old fellows watching. Her skirt had been hitched up for the milking and, when she bent over to drop the buckets for a rest, even more of her legs, perhaps the pale backs of the knees (God forbid!), was exposed. “Hasn’t she a fine pair of shafts*,” exclaimed one grizzled fellow to another.

The Diva BLT

Size is important here in this little cafe in Ballinspittle. They make big cakes, big sandwiches. Called in there the other day for lunch and was surprised to see it full. But they got us room, sharing a table with a guy who was working his mobile like mad. At an nearby table, another guy was engrossed in his laptop while all around couples and trebles and groups were noisily tucking in. Welcome to village life in Ireland 2013.

Quite a selection on the blackboard, though we were told they were only operating at half power, it being so early in the season. We were too late of course for the breakfast but no shortage of lunch choices.

CL went for the BLT and got quite a surprise when she found three or four big rashers tucked in between the slices of bread. Plenty of tomato as well and a big crunchy salad, no micro this or mini that here. All for less than seven euro.

I went upmarket, a bit, as my Chicken Wrap cost all of €7.95. Again it was substantial but so tasty. No shortage of tasty chicken and I too enjoyed that rustic salad. Quantity and quality. With so much to eat, we both went for the tea. Total cost €18.40 and they knocked the forty cent off. Only in Ballinspittle!

* The horse carriage or cart, once common in the Irish farmyard, was equipped with two (timber) shafts which ran along the horse's sides.  Example here.