Painful experience has gently nudged me away from impulse buys, but one small sample of hot smoked salmon shattered my caution.
Because of my inbuilt capacity for financial self-destruction, I went along to last week’s Food and Wine Magazine show with only €10 in my pocket. Also, it was all the money I had in the world. But hey, I had a free ticket so why not pop along and avail of the lovely samples, and check out the demonstrations?
Some stalls were more generous than others. One, which shall remain nameless, had a bulging display of chocolate and various treats. When I asked for a sample, I was directed to a piddly little bowl of some long-broken-up-and-pounded-to-pieces seed bars. Kudos, on the other hand, to the Hop House, who gave far and away the most generous samples: there was a good, full plate of really delicious food here.
But it was the Burren Smokehouse Hot Smoked Organic Salmon, marinated in dill and honey, which relieved me of my €10 burden.
The business is owned by wife and husband team Birgitta and Peter Curtin, who produce a range of fish and other products for sale in shops around Ireland and in their own shop in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare. Delicious as it was, I was very reluctant to spend €9.95 for 160g salmon. After driving poor Jean insane with my tedious procrastination, I bought it.
Was it worth almost a tenner for a relatively small amount of salmon? Yes, if like me, splashing out means the occasional fancy chocolate, steak, or hand-milked organic natural knitted yogurt. I’m not crazy about salmon, and I particlarly can’t abide the sliminess of cold smoken salmon, but I devoured this. The dill and honey perfectly compliment the salmon, bringing out the best flavours without overpowering the fish. It needed nothing more than a slice of good brown bread and a bit of lettuce and tomato on the side, and I’ve already ordered some for Christmas day. One for the occasional luxuries list.
They also sell smoked mackerel, eel, a very curious wine from a grape grown in Co. Clare, local cheeses, honey, preserves, and gift baskets. Happy Christmas?