Fresh Fare From The Food Isle - Ireland
Fresh Fare From The Food Isle – Ireland Cuisine
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It has been said that in the early 1980s Irish cuisine started to change for the better. Always blessed with naturally wonderful ingredients, chefs started a revolution incorporating nouvelle cuisine, flavors and techniques of the world, and then all roads leading to a new level of ever evolving spectacular Irish fare.
As this was my first trip to Ireland, a primary gauge was the five pounds this extremely picky eater gained in less than two weeks without ever drinking a Guinness! Outstanding game, grass fed beef, fresh vegetables and fruits, outstanding cheese and dairy (hmmm double cream, Irish butter), and as one is always close to the sea, rivers, and lakes providing pristine fish and seafood.
Féile Bia is an Irish food organization with a commitment to quality. Their program emphasizes the importance of where food comes from before it reaches the hotels, restaurants, pubs and workplaces throughout Ireland.
Féile Bia organized with the Restaurants Association of Ireland, the Irish Hotels Federation and the support of the farming community in response to growing consumer concerns about the quality and origin of food offered when dining out. An issue we should all be concerned about wherever we live.
Members provide details confirming the quality and origin of the food used in their kitchens. Féile Bia participants are committed to sourcing meat, chicken and eggs from recognized Quality Assurance Schemes and gladly supply any customer requests for country of origin information.
Chefs and consumers throughout Ireland take care and pride in using products grown, raised and produced locally. One of those we visited was the Burren Smokehouse.
The Burren Smokehouse is located in the legendary County Clare town of Lisdoonvarna, on Ireland's west coast, a family run organization started in 1989 by Peter Curtin, a local man and his Swedish wife, Birgitta. Lisdoonvarna is also home to the world's best-known matchmaking festival that you can check out at www.matchmakerireland.com/festival. It is a picturesque and historic stop popular with tourists any time of year. The town and Burren are totally free of industrial pollution so prevalent and makes this the cleanest environment in all of Western Europe.
After researching the smoking traditions of Ireland they patented their own process. Nearby the Curtin family has owned the Roadside Tavern for about the last 100 years also the first place to serve their smoked salmon. Their belief in the finest quality food products, customer care and a great group workers ensures a continuous high standard.
We made our stop first at their Visitor Centre to watch the video showing how salmon is smoked, starting from filleting to finished product. The program is available in English, German, French, and Italian; the centre has space for about 50 people. We were able to test a little wine and several varieties of smoked products with additional explanations by Birgitta. Actually we loved it all except for those of us too “chicken” to try the eel. The smoked cheese was also wonderful.
According to Irish mythology (of which there is no end) only one creature was wiser than man. This was the fabled "Salmon of Knowledge" which had fed upon the acorns of the Tree of Knowledge. It was said that whoever tasted of the salmon would inherit its wisdom and foresight.
An old man had devoted his life to capturing the prized fish. Having finally achieved his goal, he entrusted the preparation and cooking to his young apprentice, with a warning that he must not taste its flesh. But, while cooking the salmon it got very hot and blistery. The boy touched those blisters and burnt his finger. To relieve the pain, he placed his finger in his mouth thus becoming the first to taste the fish and to benefit from its magical powers.
The boy was Fionn MacCool, who later became the great warrior prince of ancient Ireland. Fionn devoted his life to the spreading of wisdom.
The Curtin’s carefully source local raw materials for the Burren smoked salmon, trout, mackerel, eel, and cheese with control quality standards and regular testing from independent laboratories and inspections by certification organizations.
In the store and online, they sell high quality locally produced crafts including leatherwork, knitwear, pottery, woodwork, jewelry, CDs, and books of local interest. There is also a full gourmet selection of locally produced fine foods, including Burren’s own specialties. Select from cheeses, jams, chocolates, and a fine selection of wines to remind you of your visit to Clare. I carried home a huge slab of the smoked salmon and shared it with my neighbors and friends much to everyone’s delight.
After checking out the samples we walked perhaps 200 feet to the Curtin’s Roadside Tavern for a little “shake off the chill” libation and to mix with the locals.
Burren Smokehouse ships within Ireland and to countries all over the world with Japan as one of their biggest markets.
The Burren Smokehouse
Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0) 65 7074432
When you’re home try this simple but tasty recipe for using your Burren’s Smoked salmon:
Drimcong House Restaurant
Moycullen, Co. Galway
Warm Smoked Salmon Salad:
8 slices smoked salmon
Mixed lettuce leaves, shredded
For the dressing:
50g (2 oz) fresh spinach leaves
100ml (4 oz) sunflower oil
1½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
Warm Smoked Salmon Salad.
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By Mary Gallagpher – Read Jetsetters Magazine at www.jetsettersmagazine.com
About the Author
Mary Gallagher - Join the Travel Wrtiers Network in the logo at www.jetsettersmagazine.com