A local who loves to pop in and out for coffee told me about Nolan's Food Fare, so I decided to stop by. Parking is a nightmare, however, so don't chance leaving the car without a tag.
The shop itself is nicely set out. You get the feeling that these guys have a real passion for good food and interesting ingredients, as they carry a cross-section of products.
They have some own-brand pulses and grains, and stock fresh fruit and vegetables. I was delighted to get some Jerusalem artichokes (€3.19 a kilo). They can be tricky to find, so when I spotted them I filled a bag with them to make a heavenly purée. I also got some really nice clementines for the children.
The shop's lovely produce included passion fruit, which I adore mixed with some crème fraîche, ricotta cheese and a little desiccated coconut or toasted coconut flakes from Nolan's own-brand range -- sandwiched between a pre-made, shop-bought sponge, this makes an excellent cheat's version of a homemade cake.
For the health-conscious there are bags of sprouts from The Happy Pear. For anyone still not in the know, spouts have between 10-30 times more nutrition than the healthiest vegetable. Get a few of these into your kids and you are laughing.
More importantly, sprouts are super-healers; they contain phytonutrients (cancer-fighting warriors).
Staying with the healthy side, Nolan's has a range of Natasha's Living Food. For more on raw foods see www.natashaslivingfood.ie. One of my favourite products from the range is the Raw Sprouted Chickpea Houmous with Cumin & Coriander (€4.35). It contains germinating chickpeas bursting with vital vitamins and minerals, flavoured with fragrant cumin and coriander. It's packed with flavour and is excellent in a pitta pocket with some sliced tomatoes. It also makes a great dip with crudités.
I made some new discoveries, including the Dona Teresa range. This is a selection of Irish-made artisanal Mexican sauces. I picked up a jar of Salsa Adobada (€5), a medium-hot salsa, and a jar of Mexican Habanero with mango, which was extra, extra hot. I'll give these to my father as he's a fan of spicy food.
They stocked my favourite new discovery from a Cork-based company called Just Food -- organic cucumber pickle (€3.94). I kid you not, I finished the whole container in one sitting. It comprises thin slices of cucumber with a little onion, slightly pickled in cider vinegar. It's a little sweet and is delicious with cheese and bread.
I am also in possession of an empty container from another great Irish product from the English Market in Cork -- On the Pig's Back chicken liver pâté with garlic and brandy (€4.29).
Nolan's has a wide variety of organic food for babies, including Bob the Builder pasta shapes (€2.75) and the Ella's Kitchen range. There's some bread from the local Craft Bakery in Rathmines plus some delicious cakes and pastries that are delivered every morning.
There is also a small deli section serving soup, such as tomato and basil (€2.75), and various sandwiches, all freshly made on either granary bread, wraps or bagels, although their bestseller tends to be a panini made using fresh basil pesto. The sandwiches range in price from €4.10 to €4.55.
This is a great shop for a foodie to browse in.