Caviar in a recession!

“Let them eat cake”, Marie Antoinette announced when she was told the public has no money to buy bread.

In a terrible recession, who thought there would be a market for caviar in Ireland?! Well, Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Co Kilkenny has developed the new trout caviar.

Caviar can make a great luxurious snack to have with a glass of champagne to celebrate a special occasion.

Caviar is processed, salted fish roe or eggs. It is regarded as an ancient gourmet treat. There are several types with the best-known form of caviar coming from sturgeon. In recent years, Trout caviar has grown in popularity across the globe.

“Trout caviar is good enough to eat off the spoon. It has large, golden-orange beads and a subtle flavour with a nice ‘pop’ when you bite into it. We are thrilled to be the first making it in Ireland and believe it represents the sort of innovation required in the food industry here,” said Mags Kirwan of Goatsbridge.

Russian buyers gave good feedback after sampling the caviar at a recent Bord Bia food showcase in Dublin. “That is the ultimate accolade for us. We weren’t sure how the Russian visitors would respond to the Irish-made caviar but the samples went down a treat with them and this has given us confidence that we can achieve strong export sales as well,” she said.

The owners, Mags and Ger Kirwan were inspired by the success of Sunburst Trout farm’s production of caviar in North Carolina in the USA in 2010. Goatsbridge which was started 50 years ago by Ger Kirwan’s parents, Rita and Padraig Kirwan, is one of the few commercial, independent trout farms in Ireland.

“We had been planning to launch a range of trout products on the Irish market and were very taken with the story of Sunburst which was making its name in the United States using their delicious trout caviar to highlight the fantastic high quality products they were producing” said Mags Kirwan. “We had a lot of similarities with Sunburst in terms of our business structure and the fact that the water flow through our farm was just like their farm in North Carolina.”

Ten months later, the chef from the Sunburst Trout Farm development came to Ireland to help Goatsbridge harvest their trout roe.

It will be available in restaurants in Ireland over the next few weeks for tasting and feedback. The caviar will be available in shops in Ireland at the end of the year.

The Kirwans are hoping that Irish people will acquire a taste for eating caviar as it is not an Irish tradition.

This caviar story shared the news today with the Working Abroad Expo in Cork city yesterday, where thousands of desperate job hunters queued from 5.30am in freezing temperatures to attend the international jobs fair. So let’s keep our fingers crossed that the Russians (and other countries) buy lots and lots of Irish caviar to help us escape this recession!!!

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