What do you want for dinner?
We have food in the house, but I’ll stop on my way home for a few bits.
As a foodie, I’ll never review any fancy places, mainly because I’d not eat there, to be honest. Food is an experience and should be a theatre, but it is still a job we must do as humans. So the food should also be good. And hey, sometimes that is a seven-course taster menu, and sometimes it’s a chicken roll from Centra. Yes, I would like it cut in half.
However, I need to tell you about the Irish supermarket. And I need to tell you how it is both food and an experience. Sorry, this does not include the imports: Tesco, Iceland (soul-destroying), Aldi, or Lidl. We are talking about the pinnacles of grocery shopping here. We are talking about Supervalu and Dunnes. Yes, Supervalu is spelt correctly.
When my mum comes to visit, she goes to our local Supervalu. She is a supermarket tourist. We’ll not buy anything in particular, but there will always be an excuse. Dad only likes this type of coffee; we should get more milk. Shall we get something nice for dinner?
She will get herself a cup of coffee at the start, grab her newspaper, and wander around what she calls the most beautiful supermarket she has ever seen. Next time she visits, I will blow her mind. Cork now has a fancy Dunnes.
Located on the Bishopstown Roundabout/Bandon Roundabout/Local name I don’t know, Dunnes has expanded from the plain and default supermarket experience. It has a cafe and a restaurant. At the back are a sushi stall, artisan bread stall, cheese experience, hot food deli, butcher, and a fishmonger. And not any old fishmonger, no. K O’Connell’s from The English Market. Of course, there are the usual aisles, but with the muted brown and black colour scheme, you don’t feel like stuffing yourself into the freezers and embracing death. Even Friday evening shopping is a delight.
And then there are the how-many acres of the home store section. I didn’t need them, but I did buy three as Gaeilge mugs.
I’m reviewing a supermarket, I know. But it’s on my way home, where we stop if we “want something nice for dinner.” I pick up a bloomer loaf and rye, grab some tart cheddar and blue cheese before checking to see if there are any interesting local beers and make a quick stop to grab a bag of Keoghs. If I so desire, I can look on my phone at the field where those potatoes were grown while I eat them because they tell you on the back of each bag.
When you come to Ireland, you shouldn’t ignore the supermarkets. Some hit harder than others, but Supervalu and Dunnes can be top-notch. Honourable mention to Aldi’s middle aisle and Lidl’s bakery. #entrance
Beir bua agus beannacht.