Country Choice at the Milk Market Limerick

What can we say about Peter Ward's Country Choice? Its reputation precedes it!  The man himself is a food icon - a mover and shaker who makes things happen on the Irish culinary scene. And it all started here, at his own vibrant and packed-to-the-rafters-with-good-things-to-eat shop in the heart of Nenagh, founded twenty odd years ago, when Irish food was barely heard of, let alone hip. Peter himself chose the location because of its connections with local food - there were butchers and grocers on the same street in those days, and it seemed an ideal place to start.

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Country Choice at Nenagh

What can we say about Peter Ward's Country Choice? Its reputation precedes it! The man himself is a food icon - a mover and shaker who makes things happen on the Irish culinary scene. And it all started here, at his own vibrant and packed-to-the-rafters-with-good-things-to-eat shop in the heart of Nenagh, founded back when Irish food was barely heard of, let alone hip. Peter himself chose the location because of its connections with local food - there were butchers and grocers on the same street in those days, and it seemed an ideal place to start. Now his shop is a shrine for gourmets, and the pavement outside is well trodden by locals and visitors alike.

Visiting Info

Opening Hours

Friday: 11am – 4pm
Saturday: 7am - 4pm
Sunday: 11am - 4pm

Owner

Mary and Peter Ward

Our Review of Country Choice at the Milk Market Limerick

What can we say about Peter Ward's Country Choice? Its reputation precedes it!  The man himself is a food icon - a mover and shaker who makes things happen on the Irish culinary scene. And it all started here, at his own vibrant and packed-to-the-rafters-with-good-things-to-eat shop in the heart of Nenagh, founded twenty odd years ago, when Irish food was barely heard of, let alone hip. Peter himself chose the location because of its connections with local food - there were butchers and grocers on the same street in those days, and it seemed an ideal place to start. Now his shop is a shrine for gourmets, and the pavement outside is well trodden by locals and visitors alike.

The first thing that catches the attention here is the beautifully presented deli counter just inside the door. It displays home made salads and cooked meats and hams alongside Irish and continental cheeses, homemade pates and quiches, tarts, terrines, you name it. The counter top is laden with freshly baked breads and house specialities, so much so it's almost impossible to see the staff working very hard behind it. Shelves are stocked with home made chutneys, jams, marmalades, preserves and dressings all created by Peter's wife Mary, from family recipes she's been using since the shop opened. Find great European favourites too like olive pastes and Pestos, rare olive oils, and a huge selection of wines sourced by Peter from small producers and imported specially for his shop. A chill cabinet has traditional bacon joints, sausages, rashers and hams made with pork from the Ward family farm, and cured by local butcher TJ Crowe. The farm also supplies Hereford and Angus beef and lamb from Black Suffolk sheep, all of which often feature on the menu of the Country Choice Café. Organic salads and vegetables come from two growers, Joan O'Brien and Dermot O'Meara.   

Morning coffee in the café is accompanied by home made scones and house preserves, whilst in the afternoon you can refresh yourself with tea and a slice of a home baked cake or tart. At lunch, scan the blackboard for the day's offerings, all made in house by Chef Helen Fahy. The choice always includes a Homemade Soup with Home Baked Bread, while mains feature the family farm's beef in a Hereford Beefburger with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Beef & Guinness Casserole, Savoury Tart with Roasted Vegetables, or Cannelloni with Free Range Chicken and Organic Spinach. House specials like a Local Cheese Selection, Chicken Liver Pate using local livers, Jelly and Brown Bread Ice cream, or Free Range Chicken and Leek Gratin with Colcannon are also favourites.The menu changes daily, so whatever is on, you can be sure it is absolutely fresh and relies on availability of seasonal ingredients. It reflects Peter's commitment to providing an outlet for local growers and producers. If someone turns up in late summer with a box of freshly harvested plums from the garden, as they had the day we called in, you can be sure he will take them and make them into something wonderful. Or at least Mary will - her Plum Jam and Plum Compote are sensational! We also spotted the first of the new season's Beauty of Bath apples from a local tree and a few precious punnets of late summer raspberries from a nearby grower on sale, and you can bet they were snapped up pronto. Some visiting Americans took the raspberries to enjoy on a picnic that afternoon, and were presented with them complete with cream poured over by one of Peter's friendly staff. 

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