Jess—The Friendly Face of Our Saturday Stand

Jess, who makes everyone welcome at our stand at Midleton Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings

Jess, who makes everyone welcome at our stand at Midleton Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings

If you've been to our stand at Midleton Farmers' Market, chances are you've met Jess Cull. We honestly don't know which is more popular: our treats or Jess. If we didn't have lemon tarts on the stand one Saturday, people might get upset. If Jess weren't there, they might riot.

"It's just great fun," she says. "People come along and tell me stories and ask about me and how I am. I feel like I've made a lot of friends, because they're interested in my life and I'm interested in theirs."
 

She loves talking about the food on the stand and recommending things to people. She's got to the point where she knows the preferences of the regulars who pop by the stand. "People don't even have to ask," she jokes, "I just say, 'I have it ready here for you now' and give it to them."

Thing is, while Jess likes cakes, her real passion is cheese. So much so, she goes by the name Jess.Loves.Cheese on Instagram. "I used to eat cheese when I was young, with my granddad. Cheddar. I loved it. And then I found out there were so many others. Camembert, Brie... so many," she says.

Cheese is one of her comfort foods. That and chocolate, which she says is an unbeatable combination. Therapeutic, almost. "Cheese and chocolate is my routine when I get home from work, especially after a very busy day," she says.

When she's not on the stand at Midleton Farmers' Market or working in the café, Jess is studying for her Master's degree in museum studies at UCC. "I have an interest in history and learning. And it's a way into a profession where I'd constantly be learning," she says.

Her ideal museum? You guessed it. A chocolate museum or a cheese museum, both of which exist.

Cinzia—Head Barista

Cinzia makes sure our coffee is the best it can be

Cinzia makes sure our coffee is the best it can be

Our head barista was raised on coffee. Having grown up in Milan, Cinzia was introduced to coffee at a young age. "Even as a child, we were allowed to have coffee," she says. It's as much a part of daily life as tea is for us.

Nevertheless, the explosion of ways in which people take their coffee is something that surprises even an Italian.

"In Italy, we traditionally drink espresso, macchiato and cappuccino. That's pretty much it. Now, there are so many different ways of drinking coffee," says Cinzia, who has just completed an intensive specialist barista training course. There isn't any type of coffee she can't make now.

And she takes huge pride in it being done the right way: "Making a good coffee takes thought and precision," she says.

Even though she has lived in Ireland for several years now, one thing still seems peculiar to her. In Italy, cappuccino is only drunk in the morning. Never later in the day. "In Italy, they'd think you were crazy if you had it after 12 o'clock," she says.

Don't worry, though. She'll still make you one with a smile. She loves Ireland and the Irish, so she can forgive the occasional transgression. "Ireland is home," she says. "I've always felt welcome, from the day I arrived here."

All we can say is that we're glad she did leave Milan and ended up in our café.

Andrea—The Rock behind the Scenes

Andrea is our back-office dynamo

Andrea is our back-office dynamo

No business lasts very long without a strong administrative backbone. Ours is called Andrea. She’s brilliant. We’d be as floppy as a failed soufflé without her.

Andrea runs our corporate nerve centre above our bakery kitchen. You might be surprised to learn that she doesn’t think this is a very good working environment.

“There’s too much temptation,” she says. “When I come in in the mornings, the smell from the fresh baking is incredible. I try to keep away as much as I can.”

Of course, she’s only human, so she does cave in eventually. Our jam and madeira cheesecakes are her Achilles' Heel. “I love them when they are just out of the oven, even before the icing goes on,” she says.

The variety of the work at BiteSize is one of the things she enjoys most. It’s hectic, there is the occasional brush with celebrity (Enda Kenny and Roy Keane are two of the names she knows who have eaten our treats) and there is always something that needs her guiding hand.

In spite of all the bustle, the office is something of a sanctuary at the moment. She has just come back from maternity leave, so home is a busy place as well. “My real work starts when I go home,” she smiles.

Based on our experience, home must be an exceptionally well run place.

Pasteis de Nata Challenge

Pasteis de Nata Challenge

People will do anything for our custard tartlets.

It doesn't always end well, though...

Creating Chocolate Cakes

Creating Chocolate Cakes

We put a lot of love into our baking, and we're not afraid to show it.

Here's a glimpse of how we prepare our layered chocolate cakes.

Introducing Kasia Zietak, Midleton Café Manager

Kasia is very clear about what makes her job wonderful. "The team," she says. "They really understand what the café is all about. They want to look after you. They make time for you. They want your coffee to be right."For Kasia cafés are about community. It's one of the things that makes managing one so appealing to her. "It's a place where you meet lots of people and make friends," she says.

Coffee-wise, Kasia likes strong coffee. She loves Morning Growler from Cork Coffee Roasters. Style-wise, she's a latte person.

If you ask her for a recommendation about the treats you can buy to go with your coffee, you'll end up with a lemon tart. "It's not too sharp and not too sweet," she explains. "Just right."

And "just right" sums up how she wants you to experience your visit to the café.

Waste Not Want Not

Did you know coffee grounds are great for shrubs and compost?

Did you know you can pick up free bags at the café in Midleton? It's the only thing you can just put in your bag and walk off with without Cinzia chasing you down the street with a bread knife.

If you're a keen gardener, please help yourself next time you stop by.

Canapés Make Way for Café Bakery

Sometimes, you have to make a change, even though doing so isn’t easy.

We love making canapés. It’s what built our business and our reputation. But we’ve grown to love baking and our café even more. And sometimes you have to make choices.

So we’ve stopped offering savoury canapés. We’re dedicating ourselves to baking delicious sweet treats and offering them at our café in Midleton and our stalls at the Mahon Point and Midleton farmers’ markets.

Thank you to all our customers. Your support has got us to where we are today. We’re so grateful. And we hope you’ll keep coming back to us for heavenly baked treats for many years to come.

Raw Milk Available in the Café

Raw Milk Available in the Café

Have you ever tried organic raw milk in your coffee? That's milk straight out of a cow, the way nature intended it. It's creamier than what you're used to and bursting with nutrition. It makes coffee sing.

You can ask for it in your coffee from now on in our café. You can even buy a bottle of it to take home.

The organic raw milk we sell comes from the Jersey cows on Ahern's Organic Farm. The farm is just outside Midleton and run by Ann and Dan—two of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet.

Next time you're in the café, why not give it a go?

Mince Pies in 15 Seconds

Mince Pies in 15 Seconds

With Christmas round the corner, we've been up to our necks in mince pies.

Our approach to them is a little different. We close off our pies with frangipane, which gives them a slightly different kick. A different take on a seasonal staple.

Lemon in a Blender

Lemon in a Blender

We use the freshest ingredients we can find at BiteSize.

Not everyone is thrilled with that as you can see in this video.

Still, great food demands great sacrifice.

't Is the Season

't Is the Season

One of our favourite times of the year. We hope it is for you too.

Our preparations started a while ago. The ingredients for our mince pies, for instance, need to be mixed and rest for a while before we can use them.

And we don't hold back: