Val Manning was operating the Good food Ireland principle long before the benchmark brand for Irish food ever existed. It's down in no small way to this man that the first artisans of West Cork got their feet under them. Val was one of the few to sell Veronica Steele's Milleens cheese when she first made it back in the seventies. From there he supported the numerous other small producers and cheese makers in this area, known for its gargantuan contribution to Ireland's modern food revolution. And here is one of the men, and indeed one of the shops, that made that revolution happen.People come to this famous shop from the local area and beyond. Visitors from abroad seek it out after reading or hearing about it in numerous places. Manning's Emporium is easily spotted on the sweeping bay road at Ballylickey, on the way to Bantry on West Cork's coastal route. . Look for the awning under which a selection of fresh seasonal produce is displayed. Despite it's thoroughly continental exterior, Manning's is one of the oldest shops in the area, . It's been in the Manning family since the 1940's - a traditional grocers shop. Val is a second generation shopkeeper, looking after this place since the late 70's. His forward thinking made it into a gourmet shop with an enviable reputation. He has now recruited the third generation to run operations on a daily basis. Val's niece Laura and her husband are now at the helm. They continue the Manning's Emporium tradition of good service and knowledge of all the Irish and continental artisan produce stocked here. Fresh breads, pastries, seasonal fruits and vegetables, a well stocked deli counter and full shelves of storecupboard items are the mainstay as always. But the couple have moved the shop on again into the future, with the addition of a small cafe in a side annexe, plus extra outdoor table seating. Customers can enjoy cheese and charcuterie boards with freshly baked bread and antipasti. The snazzy coffee machine makes a range of freshly brewed cuppas, plus teas and hot chocolate. While you here, enjoy browsing the curious selection of vintage cigarette packs and old LP covers which Val has collected over the years. A few quirky knicknacks and cookbooks to admire while you're taking in the food offering and enjoying some light refreshment in the cafe!
Read more about Mannings Emporium, here is their Restaurant and Café Review