Just after Christmas I popped over to visit a close friend of mine living in Ireland. A native Irishman, my friend lives in the Cork area on the southern edge of Ireland – I’ve been there before a few years ago with my family, but this time it was just a quick trip on my own
As a producer of artisan smoked meats myself with plans of shortly releasing my own meat hampers, I’m always on the lookout for others to discuss ideas with, to share my insights and to learn from theirs, so I thought I’d check out some of the local Smokehouses, relying on my friends local knowledge to find some great local food producers.
What were the main foods being produced locally around Cork?
This being Ireland, there was a great range of locally produced salmon – both wild and farmed fish – providing great raw materials for the Smokehouses.
It wasn’t just salmon though, we also happened upon some delicious smoked salami, cheeses and even butter – all produced in the same area.
Who were the artisan smoked meats and fish producers who especially impressed me?
All the owners of the smokehouses my friend and I visited were really friendly and welcoming.
Like most Artisan food enthusiasts, myself included, they were only too happy to share their experience, tips and ideas which made it a great experience.
A few Smokehouses really stuck out for me, leaving me thoroughly impressed by their depth of knowledge and the quality of their products.
Ummera Irish Smokehouse
The Ummera Smokehouse is run by Anthony Creswell, whose father set up the business almost 40 years ago.
They started out smoking wild salmon, later switching to organically farmed salmon due to concerns they shared about overfishing and sustainability .
Anthony was very welcoming and we had great discussion about our shared passion for Smoked foods.
The Gubbeen Smokehouse
Just like my Norfolk Smokehouse the Gubbeen Smokehouse is based on a family farm run by the Ferguson family for several generations.
The smokehouse part of their business is run by Fingal Ferguson (Great name!) who, once again, could go on for hours about his delicious smoked cheeses and meats.
The Hederman Smokehouse
Frank Hederman smokes his foods the old-fashioned way, in a traditional timber smokehouse (apparently the only one in Ireland).
Like both of the other smoke houses I’ve mentioned, his smoked fish is fantastic – but he also does an interesting line in smoked butter too (something I will definitely consider doing myself at some point).
It is also worth noting he has some delicious looking, simple recipes on his website!
Is there anywhere in particular you are planning on going next year?
Having enjoyed this trip to Ireland so much I’m definitely considering another “business” trip shortly!
The next destination will probably be Scotland – my Dad’s homeland – famed for its Salmon and smoke houses. I just need to find a long lost cousin still living up there to stay with for a few nights!
What are your favourite smoked foods?
One of the great things about Artisan foods is there’s always something new to discover!
Do you have any favourite smoked foods or preparation tips?
If you do get in touch and let me know – you can do it on Facebook or Twitter too!