The Pantry: Mother Knows Best

In the true spirit of Irish hospitality, the only job requirement is to provide excellent service in the hope that your paths will cross again. Add to this mix, a large helping of generosity, delicious food and a quaint notion that any favour is never too big or too small to ask. So, when a guest walks away feeling that the staff went above and beyond, they will keep coming back, again and again. Annette Dalton, the proprietor of The Pantry on Main Street in Moate and The Pantry Dún na Sí could write a book or two on this subject.

Born and reared in Moate, Annette was one of six children and freely admits to being someone who has always preferred the sunshine and fresh air of outdoors life. This suited her in spades, when aged 13, her family moved further into the countryside and took over Coolatore House in Rosemount. Coolatore is now forever linked to the late singer Michael Jackson, who stayed there with his family in 2006.

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Kilbeggan: Whipping Up a Chocolate Delight

Chocolate is one of the few foods that has a universal appeal. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a simple chocolate bar or a delectable, unique masterpiece of confectionery. At both ends of the spectrum – blissful, indulgent pleasure is likely to be the verdict by whosoever is eating.

Referred to as the ‘food of the gods,’ by Swedish botanist, Carl Linneaus in the 18th century, chocolate and confectionery production in Ireland is worth €239 million Euros to the Irish economy and employs 1,725 people. In 1933, Cadbury opened its Ossory Road factory in Dublin and ever since the nation has taken the beans of the tropical cacao tree, named Theobroma Cacao, to its heart.

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Picture The Scene: A Winning Coffee Experience

In October 1969, a Hollywood film called ‘For Love Or Money’ starring Kirk Douglas and Mitzi Gaynor was being screened at the Adelphi Cinema and Theatre on Gleeson Street in Athlone. It was the sort of light-hearted and fluffy romantic comedy usually reserved for the highly successful on-screen partnership of Rock Hudson and Doris Day. That being said, the on-screen chemistry between Douglas and Gaynor; vivid and bright Technicolor cinematography; talented and good-looking supporting cast; great wardrobe choices and sumptuous locations – made the movie a joy to watch. It was essentially a very sophisticated take on 1960s chic and a perfect way to escape a cold October night in Westmeath.

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Fortune Favours The Brave

David Quirke of Wholesome Kitchen, Mullingar, heard the well-known expression: ‘Fortune favours the brave’, a few years ago. At the time, Quirke was preparing to invest 10 years of his life savings and borrow the remaining 30% from a bank to start his own business. He was told by established restaurateurs, setting up a new restaurant was madness; but Quirke wasn’t about to quit. His plan had been tweaked and fine-tuned over a decade, now was the time to act decisively and unleash the entrepreneurial spirit within himself.

Quirke had been rethinking the traditional restaurant business model for more than a decade.  As a college student, he had worked in restaurants during this time.  While there, he learned about the food industry and what sorts of things needed to be in place, so that customers would return. He understood that the environment was just as important as the food. So, Quirke began to explore the idea of one day owning and managing his own vibrant restaurant.

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