Lovers of great food have always known that some of the tastiest, and most interesting, lunch options are to be found from independent traders on Market Day. The arrival on the scene of a young French man has created a new buzz amongst the well-fed West Cork set says Gregory Higgins.
Nolwen’s Mediterranean Street Food, a one man operation, has been making waves in Bantry and Skibbereen markets this summer and looks as if it will become a fixture at West Cork markets and festivals in the coming weeks, months and hopefully years.
Nolwen Milot was born in France but raised on Sherkin Island as his family arrived here when he was just 13-years-old. Always a great lover of food, Nolwen headed back to France on his 17th birthday to begin his training as a baker in Vannes, Brittany. He then continued his food education by travelling across Europe to experience a broad range of culinary cultures.
Having returned home to Ireland in his 20s, Nolwen has held various positions in the food and catering industry, including a three-year stint with Isabelle Sheridan in the English Market’s renowned ‘On the Pig’s Back’. He also moonlighted as a travelling folk musician with a well-known Cork band.
Nolwen has had a longtime ambition to combine his love of food with his love of West Cork, and so the creation of Nolwen’s Mediterranean Street Food was the next logical step. “As an honorary West Cork man who was brought up in a family of foodies – and having worked in the South of France and Spain – I really wanted to bring my Savoir Faire for Mediterranean style food to the people of West Cork,” Nolwen explains.
“So far, I have been thrilled with the reception from my customers, who I hope will not only become regulars but friends as I develop and expand my business. Irish people have a great understanding of, and relationship with, food. I am delighted to add to the tradition of independent traders playing their part in making sure that West Cork remains a primary location to find and enjoy great Irish food.”
The eclectic, and reasonably priced, menu features recipes from Spain, Italy and the South of France, such as freshly made pasta, patatas brava and arancini. “I make both fresh-egg pasta, with Italian semolina, and buckwheat pasta, which is a great low-gluten alternative.”
“My signature marinara tomato sauce contains slow roasted vine tomatoes, crushed garlic, finely chopped shallot with a touch of honey – its simplicity is its secret. Along with using it as a pasta sauce, I use it with my patatas bravas and to stuff my arancini. Our golden fried arancini has quickly become a fan favourite.”
So far, Nolwen’s Mediterranean Street Food has been trading in just Bantry and Skibbereen Farmers’ Markets but his infectious enthusiasm, and the rising demand to experience his menu, means Nolwen will soon be found at many more markets, regattas and festivals across West Cork. One word of warning however, if the last few weeks are anything to go by, make sure to visit early before he’s sold-out!
Pics: CS Media