Toby Simmonds and his Real Olive Company team not only sell the quality imports (olives, cheese etc) that are familiar at the English Market in Cork and farmers’ markets all around Ireland, but also make cheeses - which you can buy in their shop and taste in their café too.
The range includes raw milk mozzarella cheese, which is currently made using imported Italian buffalo milk and raw cows' milk from West Cork farms, but Toby's plans to introduce his own herd of water buffalo in order to produce authentic Toons Bridge buffalo milk mozzarella are progressing nicely.
Together with a farmer from Ballincollig,Toby expects to have 60 buffalo ready to start milking in 2016, and production of his famous buffalo milk mozzarealla will then recommence. Toons Bridge Dairy also produces a number of other cheeses, including fresh ricotta, a feta cheese and a hard cheese, and they are working on a blue cheese.
Shop & Café
Beside the Toons Bridge Dairy, Toby’s wife Jenny-Rose Clarke operates a little shop and a lovely conservatory café which is open at weekends. They sell their dairy produce here along with the Real Olive Company’s Mediterranean foods (olives, oils, Iberico meats etc), while also providing an outlet for other local artisan producers including De Roiste fresh blood puddings and Coolea cheese.
At the café, which overlooks the pretty creamery garden (where food is served in fine weather), they serve deliciously simple food using the ingredients they sell, as well as good coffee, organic wine and sherry and homemade desserts. For example, the Real Olive Co. contributes tapas boards, warm crispy pane carasau (Sardinian flatbread) with various toppings, salads and toasted sandwiches - and their own produce stars in delicious mozzarella salad, ricotta cake, ice cream and the Toons Bridge cheese board.
The cafe also serves real Neapolitan pizzas which are made using their own fior di latte mozzarella and cooked in an impressive outdoor pizza oven acquired in 2014.