Indy Power gets an insider look at the Burren Smokehouse
The Burren Smokehouse is a family run business set up in 1989 by Swedish Birgitta and her Irish husband Peter.
It was the perfect combination, the marriage of traditional Irish and Swedish smoking methods produces arguably the best smoked salmon in the world and I couldn’t wait to visit them and learn more. Their smokehouse is in the beautiful Lisdoonvarna in Co Clare and was top of my list of destinations for my SEAT roadtrip.
As soon as I arrived I couldn’t resist having a fan moment and telling Birgitta how much I loved their salmon and frequently bought it back in Dublin- their hot smoked salmon has been a favourite of mine for years and has a firm place in my fridge most weeks. I clearly had a tasting on my mind but we stuck to the plan and had a tour first.
The Burren Smokehouse exclusively smokes organic Irish salmon from the West coast, a value that first led me to try their products years ago. Buying organic is important to them and their customers, in terms of animal welfare and sustainability, as well as ensuring that the salmon is of the highest quality in terms of health - organic salmon is extremely high in omega 3-fatty acids and the salmon are only fed sustainable natural ingredients. These standards are something Birgitta takes great pride in.
They use two methods of smoking: traditional Irish cold smoking where the temperature never rises above 35C, which gives the fish the smooth texture that we’re all used to and the Scandinavian method of hot smoking, where temperatures rise as high as 80C and the fish has a drier, flakier texture similar to grilled salmon. They use oak shavings for its distinct flavour and custom built smoking ovens.
Talking to Birgitta, it’s clear that she has a great amount of respect for the the environment and in particular the local Burren area. Her business is part of the Burren Ecotourism Network and the shop at the smokehouse sells a variety of products from other local producers, like Wild Irish Seaweeds and Anam Coffee, which I also visited on my roadtrip. The sense of community spirit and mutual support was palpable and it was so lovely to witness a group of local businesses encouraging and promoting each other.
We tasted some incredible freshly sliced, hot smoked salmon and I stocked up for home, leaving just as the sun set over the sea.
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