Sampling Seafood Chowder in Ireland
One of the best – and most unexpected – pleasures we discovered in Ireland was Seafood Chowder. How had I not heard of the popularity of this, in all my web searches, forum readings, guidebooks? From the very first day I sampled seafood chowder in Doolin (McGann’s, which set the standard for me), I was
hooked. I barely ate anything else when we dined out – always, the seafood chowder drew me in. What is it about seafood chowder?
First: Seafood chowder is ubiquitous, at least in the west, where we visited. We sampled Seafood Chowder in Co Clare, Co Limerick, Co Kerry, and Co Cork. Each bowl was alike in being creamy, hot, and steaming; different in the taste. Some had more fish than other seafood, while other bowls were chock full of shrimp and less visible fish.
In Kenmare (O’Donnabhain), the shrimp stared at us with sightless eyes, and we had to peel and behead. Still delicious, just a bit more work (and messy). In Sneem, my seafood chowder was punctuated with shouts of delight from fellow diners at D. O’Shea’s, rooting on the football team on TV. In Portmagee, a less chunky soup was a bit easier to eat – good for boating excursions to Skellig, no?
They all were delicious.
Second: Seafood chowder is often accompanied by that super yummy brown bread, and of course Irish butter. Sigh. Pure delight. This makes a very full meal, enough to tide you over during those long mountain drives and all that stopping to take photos.
Third: Seafood chowder in Ireland is pure gold. Try Cullen skink in Scotland (delicious, but not the same); New England seafood chowder (lots of potatoes, also delicious, not the same); and fish stew (my own, for instance) – NOT THE SAME. It’s the creamy base, the variety of seafood, the essence of Ireland in each bite.
What makes a good Irish seafood chowder for you? Most importantly, do you have a great recipe to share?
Submitted by Dr. Jessie Voigts, publisher of www.WanderingEducators.com