Food Academy Programme

Aqua Restaurant Howth - Cod

Aoife Carrigy says there’s Something (Deliciously) Fishy Going On Around Ireland This Summer!  

It's great to see innovative food producers being showcased as part of SuperValu's Food Academy programme. A joint initiative between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Office Network, the national programme has been upping its ante this year, with sales for 2016 expected to double those of 2015. The programme test-runs new producers in their local stores before rolling them out nationally.

Of the 53 small food producers recently introduced to Supervalu shelves in their locality, several are tapping into the under-utilised edible resources of our island's waters to offer a 'Taste of the Sea'.

Donegal shoppers can stock up their store cupboards with jars of Shines' excellent Irish tuna preserved in oil or with tins of peppered smoked mackerel fillets from Irish Atlantic Canned Fish. Dubliners seeking a quick fish supper can choose between Simon's Smokies and Howth Cuisine's Thai fish cakes, while down in Cork, the Union Hall brand produces a very decent smoked mackerel pâte.

But it's not just about the fish. Achill Island sea salt, available in 18 stores in Mayo, is a sea salt flaky enough to satisfy Maldon devotees. And several companies are exploring clever uses for Irish sea vegetables.

Aqua Restaurant Howth

Cork's The Laughing Oyster dried seaweed seasoning adds flavour to everything from soups and stews to scrambled eggs, while The West of Ireland Seaweed Kitchen in Galway has developed a low-salt, organic chocolate mousse mix that utilises Irish carrageen for texture. Also in Cork, Roaring Water Sea Vegetable has developed meat-free substitutes for chorizo sausage and black pudding that make great use of Irish wakame.

It's also nice to see one of our seafood-focused restaurants getting some international recognition. Howth is Dublin's most picturesque fishing village and Aqua Restaurant boasts one of its most atmospheric locations, perched at the end of Howth's West Pier with views across to Ireland's Eye. The restaurant recently picked up the title of Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards, which took place at the Grand Kronenhof Hotel, Pontresina, Switzerland.

Mag KirwanAnother great champion of Irish fish, Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm, is gathering trout recipes from women in Ireland and Uganda from diverse backgrounds and professions into an upcoming cookbook: ‘Fishwives’ will be launched at Savour Kilkenny on October 28th, and all proceeds will go to Hospice Africa Uganda. For more details, see

[First published in the Irish Independent 24/07/2016.]


Aoife Carrigy

Chairwoman of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, Aoife Carrigy is a freelance food and wine writer and editor. She is a regular contributor to FOOD&WINE Magazine, The Irish Independent, The Herald and Cara Magazine, amongst others, and was co-author of The Ard Bia Cookbookand general editor of The ICA Cookbook, The ICA Book of Home and Family, The ICA Book of Tea & Company and, most recently, The ICA Book of Christmas. In 2015, she teamed up with Great Irish Beverages to launch the inaugural Dublin Wine Fest and Irish Cider & Food Day.



There are currently no comments

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment
Not a member? Register for your free membership now!
Or leave a comment by logging in with: