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Coincidence and a Smokehouse Tour!

Ummera Smokehouse - Tours

The Collins English Dictionary definition of Coincidence is “A chance occurrence of events remarkable either for being simultaneous or for apparently being connected”

We had an email yesterday from a friend and customer from Waterford saying that a couple of days ago he was listening to The Right Hook, a current affairs program on Newstalk Radio, and heard Ummera Smokehouse mentioned, along with Stonewell Cider, my brother-in-law’s very successful craft cider business.

Curiosity grabbed me and I tracked down the Podcast of the show. The only relevant one was entitled “Manchan returns, and takes George to Irish breweries”, relevant because of the Stonewell Cider connection to craft breweries.

Manchan Magan stood as a Green Party candidate in the recent General Election and is a broadcaster on travel on The Right Hook. However, in yesterday’s programme he was talking, after a few minutes discussion on his Election campaign, about Craft Brewery Tours in particular and he mentioned Mia Tobin of Brewery Hops, a small group tour business specialising in such tours. And Manchan mentioned Ummera Smokehouse as one of the stops on their way from Kinsale (home of Stonewell Cider and also Blacks Brewery) to Killarney!

Ummera Smoked Products

Last year we were very happy to receive several groups with Mia for a smokehouse tour. One of the visitors came from Hawaii and we were more than happy to send her a side of smoked salmon in September! The last time we sent something to Hawaii was smoked eel in 2011 just before they became an endangered species. Read about it here! There was also a couple from Italy who were setting up an Irish Country Pub in Liguria and were planning on serving up real Irish food.

Now this is where the Coincidence comes into play because a few hours after the Right Hook show, and Manchan and George had finished talking about brewery tours, lo and behold we received our very first order from Sabrina and Eugenio in Liguria, Italy!

Do you really believe that they were listening to George Hook and Manchan Magan yesterday?

No, just Coincidence!

Listen to the podcast and all about Irish Craft Beers by clicking here.

 

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Ballymaloe LitFest

Ballymaloe LitFest

Ummera Smoked Products Ireland

This weekend Ballymaloe House and Cookery School in East Cork plays host to an amazing gathering of food and drink lovers at the secondBallymaloe Literary Food and Wine Festival.

You will find us in The Big Shed! Look out for a large orange umbrella – we will be underneath it, tempting you to a taste!

We are very privileged to be taking part in one of the events on Sunday afternoon from 3:30pm to 4:30pm in the Drinks Theatre:

‘Smoked Salmon – with a glass of wine, or a Ball O’ Malt or artisan cider?’ – talk and tasting with Dave Broom, Whiskey Writer, Leslie Williams, Wine Writer, Daniel Emerson of Stonewell Cider and Anthony Creswell, Smoked Salmon producer – includes smoked salmon tasting with wine, whiskey and artisan cider.

For full details, click here: http://www.litfest.ie/events/smoked-salmon-glass-wine-or-ball-o-malt-or-artisan-cider

Do you have your favourite drink with smoked salmon?

If you do, please let us know what it is before this Sunday, May 18th. Whoever has the most original suggestion will  have a side of our Smoked Salmon sent to them to enjoy with their recommendation!

 Email your suggestions NOW to [email protected]

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Smoked Chicken Drumstick Day

Last Thursday, September 8th, Ummera took part in a superb Good Food Ireland showcase at the British Ambassador’s Summer Party in Glencairn Sandyford, Dublin. Some 40 members of Good Food Ireland presented the very best of Irish food to over 1,200 guests. The event was a spectacular success and the full list of participants and the “menu” can be viewed at Good Food Ireland

Ummera’s offering was Smoked Chicken Drumsticks as our contribution:

Having spoilt some of Dublin’s citizens with our smoked drumsticks, we felt it was only fair that we should let our locals try them as well.

So today, Saturday, September 10th., you may find – if you are early enough – the following locations offering you the chance of  tasting something rather special!

Pure Sushi Stall at Midleton Fair

Seaview Cafe, Kinsale

Rohu’s Market Shop, Innishannon

Urru Culinary Store, Bandon

The Quay Food Shop, Kinsale

Make it Smoked Chicken Drumstick Day!!

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Gold! Gold! Gold!

We are really thrilled to report that we have been honoured with a Gold Award in this year’s Great Taste Awards in the UK for our Ummera Smoked Silver Hill Duck Breast.

Ummera Smoked Duck
And not just a Gold Award, but a Three Star Gold Award – can’t get much better than that!

With over 6,000 entries, only 91 products were awarded a 3 Star Gold Award.

We did an initial test smoke of duck breasts from Silver Hill Ducklings in Co. Monaghan, back in July last year. In November 2009 we tasted it with many  wine lovers who attended the Cork Wine Show, and such was the reaction that we knew we had something very special. Since then we have been smoking duck in partnership with Silver Hill Foods; whenever we have tasted it in public, be it the UK at Mortimer & Bennett in Turnham Green last January, Birmingham at the FoodExpo in March, or here in Ireland at various venues, the reaction has been the same: “Where can I buy it?” or  “Who stocks it?”.

And now our Ummera Smoked Silver Hill Duck has received the highest honour by getting this three star award at the Oscars of the Food World!

Receiving this Gold Award for our Smoked Duck,  now means that every single one of our products has received an award from the Guild of Fine Food!

Of course, Ummera wouldn’t have been able to win this award without our great team here, Anat, Andrzy, Jonathan and Marcin. Thanks to you all!

A list of retail stockists can be found here: Retail Outlets

Or you can order direct from our online shop.

Great Taste Awards 2010

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It’s the time of year to …Think Irish

A new online initiative has been launched, intended to help consumers make informed choices in their buying decisions to support jobs in Ireland and economic recovery.

ThinkIrish.ie is a consumer-driven campaign and on-line resource designed to provide consumers with the information they need to identify and source Irish products.

Those behind the campaign believe it could potentially create 20,000 jobs in Ireland.

It is a not-for-profit initiative developed by retail entrepreneur Jonathan Stanley. He is joined by Dublin accountant Eamonn Freaney, Paul McArdle of The Panel, Peter Kruseman of Mindstars and Alan Graham, a senior marketing executive.

The campaign advocates playing to the strengths of the Irish economy by supporting domestic Irish business and producers. “It is not a question of protectionism, we know imports are a critical part of this country’s success and in particular our export success,” said Mr. Graham.

“We’re not advocating support for any domestic product that doesn’t offer equivalent or greater value to the imported one. Switching €20 need not cost a cent extra – provided people are equipped with the right information. For example, we still import 25-30% of the bottled water we drink, yet it’s often more expensive to drink imported bottled water than a domestic brand – so switching will actually save you money.”

Launching campaign, its director, Alan Graham, said: “ThinkIrish.ie seeks to consolidate and channel consumer power to drive economic recovery and empower ordinary people to take an active role in our economic recovery through their buying decisions. By switching just €20 of their weekly purchases to Irish goods and services, consumers can help to generate 20,000 new jobs across the country.”

The central function of ThinkIrish.ie is to give consumers can access a web-based forum where they can and share accurate and relevant information about Irish sourced goods and services. This includes Ireland’s first online directory of Irish products that will allow consumers search for Irish alternatives for the everyday products they buy.

The idea is being promoted by a group of Irish business people who believe that Irish consumers are capable of making a positive impact on economic recovery and job generation, Thinkirish.ie seeks to leverage this collective buying power of consumers by providing information and encouragement to choose locally-sourced products.

Mr. Graham said,“ThinkIrish.ie is different to other ‘Buy Irish’ campaigns. It’s not a commercial tactic, it’s about Irish consumers finding a voice and a platform to effect change, and raise awareness about how powerful consumer spending can be.”

He added, “We want consumers the length and breath of the country to get involved, share information and make more informed purchasing decisions.

Mr Graham insists that ThinkIrish.ie is not a commercial tactic, but a tangible means by which local people can help support the thousands whose jobs are dependent on Irish industry.

“Irish people have a basic in-built desire to support local manufacturing and the farming community. We want to tap into this national trait and empower consumers to decide for themselves what they can and want to do to help support Irish business and Irish jobs. Thinkirish.ie is ultimately about helping people to help themselves,” concluded Mr. Graham.

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Smoked Chicken and Tea?

Wanting to help a customer last week,  I asked if there was anything we could do to increase his sales.

He promptly replied:  “Yes, you could herd a few thousand people into our half deserted center…….!”

So in the continuing spirit of goodwill, I asked him how he used our smoked chicken – and back came the reply:

We use Ummera smoked chicken for sandwiches and for a salad. We make it with iceberg lettuce, the chicken and a few pieces of Italian semi-sundried tomatoes (marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs). This way no other ingredient is distracting from the fine smoked chicken flavour.

This is by far our bestseller. We get proper first class breads from a french producer to make sure the whole package is on the same quality level (baguette, ciabatta, sour dough bread which we daily bake on the premise).

In the salad we just use iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, garnished with the same sundried tomatoes and we use the very aromatic olive oil from the tomatoes as dressing. Another dressing option is our own jasmine tea dressing but this works better with normal green salads.

Smoked chicken goes well with almost any tea. Especially finer black teas, e.g. Darjeelings, Chinese black teas (have a sweet-smoky flavour), Chinese green teas (not so much Japanese green teas) and above all fine Oolongs (between a green and a black tea with distinctive peachy notes).

And so wrote Martin Mehner of The House of Tea in the CHQ Building at the IFSC Center in Dublin 1

Check out the House of Tea website to learn more about Martin’s teas and do drop by and enjoy one of his amazing Smoked Chicken Sandwiches!

Ummera Smoked Chciken

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A modest food hero of West Cork

Last night, RTE’s Nationwide had a piece on Val Manning of that famous institution, Mannings Emporium at Ballylicky, West Cork.

Anyone travelling on the road north of Bantry on the way to Glengarrif, Kenmare and Killarney will have passed this little shop with the grand name; anyone with a modicum of interest in food will have been compelled to stop and enjoy Val’s company and stories.

To those of us working with food in West Cork ( and further afield) Val has been the mecca for artisan producers over the last 30 years and it is right that he should have been given such warm coverage last night. Val gave support and encouragement to many over the years.

Click Nationwide to watch the clip.

And I’ve just heard that Carmel Somers of The Good Things Cafe in Durrus has just been on TV3, s0 West Cork really hitting the news!

And a reminder to those readers in the UK that as from March 1st we have our very own Swansea Cork Ferry coming back.

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Give thanks …..and support!

“This holiday season we would like to give thanks to those responsible for real change in the choices available to us for food.
These individuals and businesses do not author feasibility studies, they do not organize conferences or write newspaper articles to talk about the change they want to see.
They are the change.
Oftentimes we forget the names of the real soldiers who create alternatives to commodity standards and remember the names of those who write about them.”

This quote comes from today’s Newsletter from Heritage Foods USA and applies equally to many producers in Ireland and across Europe. It is thanks to these “soldiers” that we continue to have real food here. Support them this Christmas and throughout the year.

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Our favourite Organic Porridge wins…..

Congratulations to Flahavans for winning the Exporter of the Year Award 2009 last night; their organic porridge gets me going these dark and damp mornings!

Ummera Smokehouse was one of the Nominees for the Seafood Exporter of the Year Award along with Burren Smokehouse in Co. Clare and Glenmar Shellfish in Co. Cork. The winner was Burren Smokehouse for its success in exporting 60% of its products. Congratulations!

One of the challenges that we, as a small producer and player in the export field, have to face continuously is the amount of paper work; certainly since the EU this has been reduced dramatically for exports within the EU, but move outside the EU and it’s a minefield!

When exporting to the USA, for example, not only do we have to be registered with the US FDA, but for every shipment, be it 1 kg of Smoked Salmon heading over to the US as a Christmas present or a 40′ container, we have to apply to the US for a Prior Notice approval; this can be done on line and is reasonably speedy. However, that’s the easy part. We also have to apply to the Irish SFPA (Sea Food Protection Authority) for a Health Certificate and a Certificate of Origin 48 hours before shipment. The inspector from the SFPA then has to visit us and physically inspect the Smoked Salmon and then issue us with 3 sheets of paper.

Apart from the infuriating delay in waiting 48 hours to get the paperwork, there is also the unbelievable cost factor of sending an inspector from the SFPA to inspect 1 kg of product with a value of €50.00; if it was a pallet or a container, then fair enough but for one small pack! Whilst we enjoy the visit of our inspectors, we do feel that their time would be better employed in more cost effective operations.

It is the “One Shoe Fits All” mentality of bureaucracy that persists in making life very difficult for small producers.

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Network West Cork with Krishna De

Last night many West Cork entrepreneurs gathered  for the third Network West Cork event at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery to listen to the highly respected and articulate social media marketing and branding expert,  Krishna De.

Ummera and the Celtic Ross Hotel were the nominated Business Box featured, so we each had 5 minutes to give a brief presentation! Initially, we were to come after the keynote speaker, Krishna De, which would have been a hard act to follow, but happily at Krishna’s request, we were the first to go! We could then relax and  learn much from Krishna’s pearls of wisdom!

I did make a special offer to those attending the meeting, so if you are reading this and were there, remember you will have to subscribe to our Newsletter or join us on Twitter (@ummera) to take advantage of it!!!

If you are really adventurous, come and Wave at [email protected]!

It was a great surprise when I got back home to see that Krishna had posted to her blog during the evening, and I was much encouraged by her comments!

So what else can I say but introduce you to Krishna’s blog page!