Dunhill Ecopark, Dunhill, Co. Waterford
Waterford girl Nicola Crowley and her husband Dvir Nusery are food fanatics. After meeting and falling in love whilst back packing across the world, they built a home in the Middle East and stayed there for eight happy years. Then, in 2015, they heard Ireland’s call and decided to start a new adventure in the sunny south east.
“We were leaving a wonderful community, two good jobs and bringing two children with us so we had to quickly decide how we were going to make a living,” Nicola said. “On one hand there was the pressure of trying to start a new career but on the other, there was a fantastic new opportunity to do something that we love.”
And what Nicola and Dvir loved, was food.
“Our passion for food started just by cooking for our friends,” Dvir explained. “We love hosting friends and family, making food from scratch and using natural ingredients…so it was an obvious choice to make.”
They started small, with a little market at the Waterford Harvest Festival and were blown away by the response from the public.
“We set up on John Roberts Square and I was blown away by the response and interaction with Waterford people,” Dvir said. “We enjoyed it so much that we couldn’t wait to spread our wings.”
Next up for Mezze (meaning small dishes) was markets in Lismore and Dungarvan where they quickly discovered just how popular their food was. Initially, they were sticking by their with small dips and salads but soon they expanded and moved into the retail market with their Lavosh Flatbreads, which are now available in over 80 stores nationwide.
“We were experimenting with different flavours based upon our time in the Middle East and in Ireland,” Nicola said. “Marie Power, the Sea Gardener brought us seaweed foraging one day and suddenly we had a brand new ingredient to work with.”
Mezze use as many local ingredients as possible to complement their Middle Eastern flavours, such as Grantstown tomatoes, Ardkeen Foodstores, Ballybeg Greens and Coffee House Lane, who provide the beans for Mezze’s Turkish coffee.
“For us, Food the Waterford Way is all about sustainability,” Dvir said. “Why have tomatoes that come all the way from Spain when you can have superior ones right here? We are always looking at our menus to see how we can incorporate the incredible local ingredients that we have on our doorstep, with the exotic Middle Eastern flavours that we know and love.”