Handy to the town but away from the through traffic, and conveniently located for visitors to the Old Midleton Distillery, Gordon and Alison Callinan’s café, foodstore and bakery has earned a following for its good traditional cooking and quality products.
It’s an informal and welcoming place, with goods on display at the front and simple bare-topped tables set up for teas and coffees or full meals towards the back, where Gordon pops in and out of the kitchen attending to his clearly contented customers.
Both Gordon and Alison are chefs, with Gordon looking after the café and Alison, who is a pastry chef, in charge of the bakery. Finding, using and selling the best possible local and artisan products is the philosophy at The Pantry.
The breakfast menu, for example, features the famous O’Flynns sausages and puddings from the English Market in Cork; Fingal Ferguson’s Gubbeen chorizo from West Cork in their omelettes; and coffee from gourmet coffee specialists Cork Coffee Roasters.
For main meals too, fresh and local is the theme – so fish comes from nearby Ballycotton, they soak and boil their own hams; use local cheeses, Ardsallagh and Hegarty mature cheddar, for quiches; and take pride in using specialities such as traditional Cork spiced beef.
And when it comes to Alison’s baking, not only do they make all of their brown bread and pastry, but they’re extremely pernickety about finding the best ingredients - using Kells flour, for example, which has been milled for seven generations by the Mosse family in Bennetsbridge, Co Kilkenny.
Traditional fruit tarts and crumbles are made with fruit such as rhubarb and blackberries that they grow and pick themselves, or source locally, and there are no short cuts - the apples for their classic apple tarts, for example, are peeled by hand and stewed in house.
And many of the products they have selected for the foodstore have earned national recognition, so followers of good food will find plenty of familiar names here. Rape seed oil, for example, is a growing success story in Ireland, and you’ll find bottles from at least one producer sitting temptingly alongside Karmine pure apple juice from Cahir, Co Tipperary, the delicious Gs jams from Abbeyleix, the Janets Country Fayre range of chutneys and relishes from Co Wicklow, Mileeven pure Kilkenny honey and Carrigaline cheese from Cork.
The Pantry is an asset to Midleton, and should thrive in this highly food-proud town.