As I mentioned in my post on Bloom earlier this week - it is only now appropriate to post about my amazing experience in Spanish Point, County Clare during the Slow Food Clare festival since to my delight Spanish Point Sea Vegetables had a booth in the artisan food market at Bloom. Ger Talty, seen here above with Birgitta Curtin of Burren Smokehouse - is one passionate man about seaweed! His family has been farming it on the coast of Clare for four generations.
A group of us met at about ten o'clock on a blustery Saturday morning, 26th May. Quite chilly for the end of May but then what do you expect in Ireland. Thankfully I had thrown a wind proof jacket and wellies into the back of our car when we headed off.
Several from our group and dinner from the Wild Honey Inn joined us - in the middle Dr. Stefan Bergleiter and his wife Janice, to his right, Sofie Larsson and Donal Skehan. On the far left is Sean Monaghan - who I met later and he's done a brilliant book with Andrews Gleasure called A Taste of Cork - AGourmand's Tour of Its Food and Landscape - it's available on Amazon.
Sophia with her hood on tight - behind her is the blogger Mark Graham from A Year of Festivals in Ireland blog - he's on an ambitious project to go to 3 festivals every weekend for a year and then blog about them. Believe me - there are more than 3 festivals every weekend here in Ireland so whether you are visiting or living here full time - you should never be complaining about a lack of things to do on the weekend. In fact, I just nominated him on his page for Best Newcomer Blog for the Blog Awards Ireland that will be running in October. Now back to seaweed.
The seaweed master - Here Ger shows us some Sugar Kelp which is found in the extreme lower shore and in gullies and rock pools.
A selection of different seaweeds at Ger's feet.
The shoreline was beautiful and we walked along looking onto rock pools - Ger picked out bits of seaweed along the way and talked about them.
Sea "asparagus" which grows in the rocks along the shore - we all picked some on our way - delicious and fresh.
Back at HQ we saw the drying room where long seaweed like the Sugar Kelp and Wakame hung and sea "salads" lay on drying rack.
We got to taste a variety of the seaweeds - we were first served a seafood chowder with seaweed in it and even brown bread with seaweed - all delicious. Sea spaghetti has been sautéed with ginger - there was jelly too. I headed home with several packets of seaweed along with their Seaweed Bath product. I'm going to do some experimenting with cooking with it - particularly interested in using the sea spaghetti as a side dish.
Three generations of the Talty family with Donal Skehan at the end of our tour - Ger on far left, his father to the right of Donal and Ger's son Evan.Spanish Point Sea Vegetables is on Twitter under two different handles - @Spointseaveg and @seaweedsafari - which promotes their sea foraging. Do give them a follow.
Also, just a side note - nominations for the Blog Awards Ireland 2012 are now open so please head over and nominate blogs in Ireland that you love. I'm personally interested in the Lifestyle Category because, while I do blog about food - I weave a lot more about other things into my blog. I'd appreciate your support. There's a button at the top of my home page that will give you the direct link.
Happy Friday everyone - although another rotten one weather wise here . I'm off to Russborough House tomorrow morning to meet up with fellow blogger, Lorna Sixsmith - who writes a blog for her company Garrendenny Lane - she's also one of the key organizers of the Blog Awards Ireland along a dear friend who does a lot of freelance writing.