InStore – Consumer issues and best buys by Joanna Braniff
If you love everything about food, drink and shopping then make sure then the mouth-watering, palate-tingling, celebrity-chef-spotting, gastro-shopping BBC Good Food Show is your ideal day out.
Irish company, the Connemara Smokehouse, will be among the food producers exhibiting at the show for the fourth time, having pride of place in the Food Heroes section. Perched on the water’s edge of the wild Atlantic coast, the Connemara Smokehouse is a leading manufacturer of high- quality seafood, using only traditional methods.
“We have actually been promoted to the status of Superhero,” a proud Graham Roberts says.
“As a Superhero you still go into the food heroes area but in the Food Heroes area you have only got something like 15 or 20 stands, out of a total of 6-700.”
The superhero status for the Galway company came about after an inclusion in the prestigious Bridgestone Guide, as Graham explains.
“I’ve been in this business all my life and we have always had a policy of producing high quality produce and I was unaware of the Bridgestone Guide but at a seminar in Cork about six years ago some people said to me if you want to get noticed you have got to speak to John McKenna of Bridgestone.
“There was a queue of about 20 people lined up bombarding him with produce to try and endorse. I sat down, had a couple of pints and waited until he was free.
“We were doing a new product and I wanted his opinion on it
“I went over and introduced myself and said I’m not looking for anything at all except your opinion.
“He said ‘no problem, send it down and we will have a look at it’. He sent us the feedback and I sent him a few of my products as a thankyou for his input. I thought nothing more of it and a few weeks later the local radio station phoned us up and congratulated us on our Bridgestone Guide award.”
A place in the Good Food Show quickly followed.
Graham was delighted to meet fellow producers, celebrity chefs and of course the 135,000 visitors to the show who previously voted Connemara Smokehouse as their favourite speciality producer.
“It’s great to interact with people who are appreciative and there to find good food,” he added.
While all their products are free from artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, Irish whiskey is used in the marinating process. I asked Graham if that was the secret of their success?
“The history behind the tuna is that my dad and I started the line fishing in Ireland to develop an environmentally friendly way of catching them and we developed the smoking from there.”
Among the locations they have delivered to are America, the Vatican and the European Parliament.
But Graham’s passion is producing quality produce, not money making.
The Good Food Show takes place from November 22-26 at The NEC, Birmingham, which conveniently for Irish visitors is located adjacent to Birmingham International Airport.
You can discover unique recipes, get top tips, indulge and partake. There will be a number of inspiring demonstrations and entertainment provided by the likes of Antony Worrall-Thompson, Jamie Oliver, Gary Rhodes, Paul Rankin, Ainsley Harriott, Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes, Jean-Christophe Novelli and James Martin. Ideas for the forthcoming festive season will abound and there is even a special festive drinks cabinet area to make it easy to stock up for all the seasons entertaining. For tickets and further information visit www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com
Warm Honey Roast Smoked Salmon served on a bed of noodles
50g or one bundle of rice noodles (Sharwood’s Thai stir-fry noodles)
100g/4oz sugar snaps, (halved lengthways)
one small red pepper (seeded and thinly sliced)
200g Connemara Smokehouse Honey Roast Smoked Salmon Dressing:
3tbsp olive oil finely grated zest and juice of half a lemon
one heaped tbsp mayonnaise.
Boil the kettle and tip the rice noodles into a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water to cover. Leave noodles to soak for four minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk live oil, lemon zest and juice and mayonnaise, season if needed. Drain the noodles and return to bowl. Throw in the sugar snaps, red pepper and basil. Pour in half the dressing and toss. Divide the noodles between two bowls, break up the salmon and arrange on top of noodles.
Drizzle over the remaining dressing and serve.
For more information on the Connemara Smokehouse or to place an order visit www.smokehouse.ie