Kilkenny couple row in behind trout caviar, egged on by restaurant feedback

Wed, Mar 7, 2012, 00:00

THE CULTIVATION of caviar at a time of deep recession might be regarded as a foolhardy venture but it has not stopped one enterprising Kilkenny couple.

The trout caviar has been developed by Ger and Mags Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown and will be available in Irish restaurants over the coming weeks.

The definition of caviar is a contentious one. For commercial purposes, only the expensive roe of the sturgeon fish is regarded as caviar, although the Oxford English Dictionary defines caviar “as the pickled roe of sturgeon or other large fish, eaten as a delicacy”.

The trout caviar will be available for tasting in high-end restaurants this week. Although it is considerably cheaper than the world-famous Beluga caviar, which can sell for €200 per 100g, if you can source it at all.

A 100g tin of trout caviar will cost €19.95.

The trout caviar was handed out to Russians at a recent Bord Bia showcase event in Dublin.

The Kirwans harvest the trout from their independent commercial trout farm in Goatsbridge, Co Kilkenny, which Mr Kirwan inherited from his father 50 years ago.

The couple got the idea from a visit to the Sunburst Trout Farm in North Carolina last year. They learned to extract the eggs from maturing hens with the help of a team from Sunburst and Teagasc.

Ms Kirwan said feedback from restaurants had been positive. “We’ve had a lot of interest.

“Be brave while all those around you are fearful,” she added.

“We built a new factory in the middle of the recession last year. It is a boost. We’re going to be ready for the market when it turns.”