Burren Smokehouse are one of the wonderful Irish producers I met at Dublin’s Bloom In The Park last year.

Burren Smokehouse
Birgitta Curtin of Burren Smokehouse

This family business was set up by Birgitta & Peter Curtin back in 1989 and takes the best from the smoking traditions of both Ireland and Sweden to produce a high quality Irish product. Their salmon is sourced from Irish fish farms on the Atlantic coast. Once it arrives it is checked for quality, filleted, salted with pure sea salt to cure and then cold or hot smoked in oak smoke. Finally it’s vacuum-packed to maximise shelf-life.

It’s a quality product and tastes fabulous. I tried a number of the Burren products at Bloom and found them all excellent.

Burren Organic Salmon cropped

 

COMPETITION

Burren Smokehouse have generously offered a side of Irish organic smoked salmon, worth approximately £50, to one lucky Kavey Eats reader. The prize includes free delivery anywhere in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

 

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, sharing your favourite accompaniments to serve with smoked salmon.

Entry 2 – Facebook

Like the Kavey Eats Facebook and leave a (separate) comment on this blog post with your Facebook user name.

Entry 3 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter!
Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win Burren Smokehouse products from Kavey Eats and @BurrenSalmon! http://goo.gl/Qos4K #KaveyEatsBurren
(Please do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the hashtag. And you don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!”)

 

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 29th March 2013.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • The prize is a side of Burren Smokehouse Irish organic smoked salmon and includes free delivery anywhere in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Burren Smokehouse.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Facebook entry per person only. You do not have to enter all three ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Facebook entries, winners must Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page at time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Facebook. If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a sample of smoked salmon from Burren Smokehouse.

The winner for this competition was Rocky (Wildfood).

 

I can think of far better ways of acknowledging St Patrick’s day than dressing up as a leprechaun or downing pints of Irish beer in an Irish-style pub. There’s a wealth of fine food across the Irish Sea and I was sent some samples to review by Bord Bia (The Irish Food Board) and Paxton & Whitfield.

 

Cheese

Paxton & Whitfield are a cheese monger with a very long history, and have shops in London, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon and Bourton on the Water. At each shop, their staff can not only help you choose cheeses that will suit your needs, but also help you learn more about the many cheeses they stock.

Their Taste of Ireland selection (£32) includes generous hunks of Cashel Blue, Gubeen and Mossfield Organic, and whole Cooleeney and Gortnamona. All five of these cheeses are made using vegetarian rennet and all are pasteurised except for the Cooleeney. (You can buy the selection in their stores, or via the website).

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Cashel Blue is a medium-strength cow’s milk blue cheese; creamy and salty with a pleasant mellow flavour, not as complex as some blues, but one we enjoy regularly.

Cooleeney is a soft cheese with bloomy white rind, in the style of Camembert. Although the inside was soft and ripe, though rather bland, the rind was dusty, brittle, hard and chalky. We usually love the rind on this kind of cheese, but just couldn’t stomach this one. We cut and threw away the rest of the rind and used the inside for cooking.

Gortnamona is another soft cheese with bloomy rind and just like the Cooleeney, the rind was brittle, chalky, papery, cardboard-like. Very unpleasant. Unfortunately, this time the interior didn’t seem at all ripe either, and was similarly chalky and papery in texture. Sadly, this cheese was thrown away as it just wasn’t palatable.

Gubeen is one of Ireland’s famous cheeses and for good reason. It has a firm but flexible texture and a fantastically rich, almost meaty flavour, with hints of nut and caramel. We found this cheese very satisfying, and we’ll be looking to buy it more regularly.

Mossfield Organic is a hard cheese, with a great full flavour that comes from age. It’s much like a great aged Comte – rich, nutty, sweet, oily with a deep flavour that’s utterly delicious. This was our favourite from the selection, and we definitely want more of this cheese in our bellies!

 

Smoked Salmon

This Irish Organic Smoked Salmon is produced by Ummera Smoked Products in County Cork.

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Thickly sliced, the salmon had a rich, soft, buttery texture, a kick of smoke without the atringency you can sometimes find in cheap smoked salmon products, a rich salmon flavour. Fantastic!

 

Chocolate

From Pandora Bell, a chocolatier based in West of Ireland, we received a cute praline chocolate egg and a bar of chocolate-coated honey nougat.

It was the praline chocolate egg that we loved, presented as it was in a real egg shell that we tapped onto a plate to break and peeled just like a hard-boiled egg. Inside was the most delicious chocolate praline, smooth and rich and gone far too quickly. More please!

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Although I thought the packaging absolutely beautiful, the honey nougat was just too sweet for me. This coming from someone with a very sweet tooth. I don’t want to waste it, so am currently considering whether I can chop it into tiny pieces and incorporate it into an ice cream for an upcoming bloggers scream for ice cream challenge.

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Black and White Pudding

I’ve long been a fan of black pudding, though came more recently to white pudding, when we visited County Cork a few years ago. So I was very happy to receive one each of the famous Clonakilty black and white puddings.

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The black pudding had a good flavour, a lovely texture with a slighy chewiness from the oats, that I liked very much. The white pudding was excellent, with great flavour from both pork and pork fat.

We enjoyed these as part of a Sunday brunch fry up. They set us up for the day!

 

Sarah’s Honey

Sarah’s Scrummy Honey with Sour Cherries is produced by Mileeven Fine Foods, based in Kilkenny County. A label on the jar explains that the family have been producing honey for many generations, and are now keen to share.

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Preserving the sour cherries in honey seems to have taken away their usual astringency, so those looking for a combination of sweet and sour may be disappointed. But I have a sweet tooth, and enjoyed the product, using it where I’d normally use jam or plain honey, in a toasted brie sandwich.

It would also be nice served with vanilla ice cream, or might work mixed into a cake.

 

Drinks

Pop over to Pete Drinks for reviews of Irish beers and whiskeys.

 

With thanks to Bord Bia and Paxton & Whitfield for review samples.

 

We got back on Sunday from a week in County Cork with friends…

Dinty’s in Union Hall
A tiny, simply decorated, casual pub restaurant on the harbour in tiny Union Hall, the setting belies the excellence of the food. On the first night several of us had deep fried brie as a starter – two tranches per serving, each one the size one would normally buy for a cheese board, about 6 inches long and utterly delicious. The other half of us had crab claws in garlic butter served with brown soda bread. So good I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. For mains two of us had the smaller seafood platter each – so large I couldn’t finish even half and had some of the leftovers for dinner another night – my plate was piled high with a huge mound of fresh crab meat, a pile of succulent king prawns, another of crab claws, 3 smoked mackerel pieces, 2 hot smoked salmon pieces, a mound of regular smoked salmon, several pieces of regular cooked salmon fillets… Others had the fish pie, the very tender and generous sirloin steak and the breadcrumbed plaice – a serving of 4 large fillets – 1 alone a normal perhaps slightly small serving, 2 a generous main meal, 3 already excessive and 4 too big even for 2 to share! With (limited) drinks, the bill was less than 35 Euros per person and well worth it. We went a second night and many of the same dishes were enjoyed as well as a generous chicken wing starter, some tasty breaded mushrooms and a T-bone steak (though second time around, we knew to share some of the dishes as they were just too large)!

Max’s Wine Bar in Kinsale
Recommended by someone on the BBC Food Chat board, this was a very elegant and adult place, the opposite in decor and style of food to Dinty’s. Four of us enjoyed a fantastic lunch there. The brown soda bread was as good as that at Dinty’s. My dublin bay prawn salad very tasty (though I did pick the celery out), my foie gras (second starter instead of main) the equal of any I’ve had in France, freshly sauted, served with a port or sherry sauce on a small bed of tagliatelle. The saffron monkfish special one friend had was beautifully cooked and presented. The omelette and saute potatoes Pete chose were also very well executed as was the creamy chicken pasta chosen by our other friend . The chocolate orange gateaux (we ordered two between us) oozed hot liquid centres which went well with the vanilla ice-cream. The cheese plate was delicious too. With wine the bill was only just over 30 Euros per person. Oh and for those who like dessert wine, the taster glasses are plenty big enough – you won’t need the full glasses, as we’re glad the waitress advised us. Fantastic meal, would go back in a heartbeat.

We also ate well elsewhere in County Cork enjoying simple home-made lasagnes, a delicious crab mornay, gubeen cheese crumbed and fried, seafood chowder, sandwiches, ice-cream and snacks in various cafes, pubs and restaurants.

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