Alan & Susan’s Pantry, Oranmore

I have made passing reference to this super new deli and now that they have had time to source all the goodies it is worth telling you about some of the unusual and great tasting items I have sampled. The word ‘deli’ is a highly abused term over the last few years and there are so many it is hard to tell the good from the bad — indeed a real deli is a distinct rarity and this is certainly the best for many miles around the Oranmore area. It is tucked around the corner from Main Street, Oranmore, facing the astroturf pitch with loads of free parking, even at the front door.

One of the negative factors about hard to find goodies is that they tend to be expensive — not so in Alan & Susan’s Pantry, they have gone to great lengths to keep prices and margins low. Sure there are exceptions, like the mega posh muesli with 25 different ingredients for €15.95 per 500 gram (apparently a steady flow of customers love it ). The range of items is stunning in a relatively modest size space, but what is important is that the shelves are filled with items that are appealing, unusual, and super high quality. An example would be dried pastas — there are five or six different makes including my favourite Irish dried pasta from Noodle House in Sligo. The key to successful shopping here is to ask for advice and recommendations. This is a shop that really, really, wants to talk to its customers and they will always have time to give you ideas. If you fancy any cheese, olives, tapenade, etc, ask for a sample. There will also be wine tastings now that they have a new wine section. My recommendation is a super new to market bubbly imported by a young couple here in Galway and superbly packaged, it is called ‘Belle De Blanquette’, costing €19.95.

There is a stunning range of flavoured oils (not more flavoured oils I hear you cry ), but honestly these are an addiction, made in Ireland by the Organic Herb Company. All are available to sample in store and cost €11.57 each, eg, herbs de Provence; coriander, fennel, and dill; tandoori oil; garam masala oil; and much more. Also worth checking out is the cold pressed rapeseed oil from Mellow Yellow in the UK. Rapeseed oil is the new ‘virgin olive oil’ in many Michelin star restaurants and for cooking it is pretty hard to burn so that is a big advantage, cost €5.74. It has also got loads of the good fats.

Anyone who has visited French delicatessens will have noticed that designer salt is huge, that is salt from all over the world and often mixed with herbs. Alan has salt from the Camargue in France, €3.75, Cornish sea salt, parsley and garlic sea salt, plus loads more. Just sprinkle some on your baked potatoes or grilled fish.

I will list a few other items that you should seek out: Glenillen real country butter €3.79, root beer from Australia €2.55, Gubeen salami and rashers, also Gubeen extra aged vintage cheese, sage and onion stuffing with chestnuts (ready prepped ), East of Boston toffee sauce and chocolate sauce €6 a jar and simply stunning, Valrhona chocolate, and Bay Tree sauces, pickles, and chutneys. These are worth buying even for the empty jar when you are finished. They have a big leg of real Iberian ham that can be sliced to your requirements — it is very sweet and has a great texture, an unprocessed ham from Moycullen that tastes the way ham used to taste. Also from out that side of Galway a new homemade range of dressings and chutneys called Builin Blasta made in Oughterard. The red onion and tomato relish is actually better than my mother’s. A range of ready to heat soups from an organic producer in Andalucia called Sierra Rica at €2.45, they are a bargain and taste great (my tip is to add a teaspoon of dry sherry before serving ).

Finally, a treat for adults and kids, Zaramamas gourmet popping corn. This is a small size corn on the cob ready to be made into popcorn. You put the cob in a special bag, pop into the microwave, and it makes real popcorn from a tiny cob, price €2.86. It is one of the most novel items in the shop.



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