A group pictured at the launch of the extension to the Taste the Atlantic – A seafood Journey, The Surf Coast, on a tour of Wild Atlantic Shellfish’s Farm, in Sligo.
BIM and Fáilte Ireland this week launched ‘Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey’, the ‘Surf Coast’ in the beautiful surroundings of Lissadell House, Co. Sligo. This dedicated seafood trail on the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal town to Erris in County Mayo includes five new seafood producers and 14 seafood restaurants and joins the already successful ‘Bay coast’ route launched last year from Erris to Galway Bay with six producers and 28 restaurants.
‘Taste the Atlantic–a Seafood Journey’ aims to educate visitors and Irish consumers as to how our seafood is caught and farmed as BIM’s CEO Tara McCarthy explains; ‘The Wild Atlantic Way is the ideal platform to promote and celebrate the best of Irish seafood. BIM are particularly excited about this new route as it focuses on our less well known but exceptional fish and shellfish farmers who expertly cultivate premium oysters, abalone, mussels and Irish Organic Salmon. This trail is all about meeting the producer, understanding where the seafood is caught or farmed and recognising the contribution these producers deliver to our economy. With over 250 shellfish and fish farming businesses in operation valued at €150 million last year alone (an increase of 27% on the previous year), this trail is a snapshot of the many excellent producers we have dotted along our coast’
Included on the trail are restaurants that source their seafood from the following celebrated seafood producers including Wild Atlantic Shellfish, Yummy Oyster Company, Mungo Murphy’s, Blue Stack Oysters and Clarke’s Smokehouse.
John Mulcahy, Head of Food Tourism for Fáilte Ireland stressed the importance of initiatives like these in further developing the Wild Atlantic Way –
“The Wild Atlantic Way has quickly become a huge draw to international and domestic visitors alike, and a unique food experience is a big part of this. Taste the Atlantic provides a great opportunity to deepen visitor engagement and encourage those who travel along the route to slow down, dwell longer and immerse themselves in the local seafood traditions and practices of the west coast. As food tourism continues to grow in popularity, it is truly heart-warming to see local seafood placed at the centre of the visitor experience along this section of the Wild Atlantic Way”
From Irish Organic salmon smoked using traditional methods in Ballina to the unique sustainable farming of abalone in Galway to the skill required to cultivate premium oysters in Lissadell, Sligo; the trail gives visitors an insight into the dedication, craft and passion that goes into Irish Seafood.
Tara McCarthy emphasised the agency’s objective for Taste the Atlantic; ‘Our aim in BIM is to utilise this trail to build a greater appreciation and understanding with visitors and Irish consumers alike for the diversity and provenance of our seafood. This will result in restaurants along the Wild Atlantic Way championing locally sourced seafood on their menus and will in turn lead to an increase in domestic sales for our producers’
In addition to promoting the trail, BIM and Fáilte Ireland will be providing training to participating chefs and front of house staff including on-site trips to the local mussel and oyster farms to build and improve their knowledge of seafood and to advise the chefs in particular, how to plan a seafood menu within their allocated budget.
There are 11 seafood producers and 42 restaurants in total participating in ‘Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey’. To learn more about the trail and the producers involved and download the brochure and map on www.wildatlanticway.com/stories/food/seafood-itinerary/