For my recent birthday James took me on a weekend ‘foodie’ getaway to Cork. I had wanted to experience Café Paradiso for years so a special birthday dinner in Dennis Cotter’s beautiful restaurant was an ideal treat.

Before heading out for a late supper I worked up an appetite in Cork’s famous English Market. On entering the market and chatting with the purveyors it becomes clear straight away that Cork is one of Ireland’s foodie meccas.

The English Market, Cork, is one of the oldest of its kind. Trading as a market since 1788, it pre-dates most of the other markets like it.

One of the first stalls, when you come through the main entrance to the market, is “The Organic Garden”. Ali Hamza has been working at this organic fruit and veggie stall for 13 years. We chatted about the demand for organic produce and he was interested to know about people’s attitudes towards organic fruit and veggies in Australia.

“Alternative Bread Company” displays one of the prettiest ranges of bread I have ever seen. When you approach this stall it immediately becomes obvious that they cater for a wide variety of dietary requirements with their baking. Managing Director Sheila Fitzpatrick spoke to me about the 95 varieties of bread they produce. She explained how the business has been making bread for 15 years and bakes a wide variety of gluten-free breads as the south west of Ireland has the highest incidence of Celiac disease in the whole of Europe.

Cheese always gets my attention and “Iago” cheese mongers at the market have an amazing range of varieties from all over Europe. Sean Calder-Potts along with his partner Josephine Kennedy have been running their cheese stall at the market since 1993. Sean took the time to help me choose a goat’s cheese to suit my taste while explaining to me about the reason for some cheeses being wrapped in leaves.