Plate up for St Patrick’s Day with delicious Irish food choices
Celebrate St Patrick's Day in your own home this year with a menu of great food products from SuperValu, guaranteed to give you loads to cheer about
Putting the icing on it are Brian, Philo and Oliver Seery, from Seerys, based in Carlow.
This year St Patrick’s Day is set to be a bit different – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be special and at SuperValu, the focus is firmly on the food. Each store is packed with tasty Irish options, many stocked under its own labels.
In fact, SuperValu was Ireland’s most awarded retailer in 2020 with 253 awards from SuperValu suppliers and Food Academy producers at the Great Tastes, Blas na hÉireann, Free From and NPPA awards.
Each Signature Tastes product is carefully selected from Irish and international suppliers who have undergone a rigorous auditing process to ensure a top quality, top-tier food product for consumers.
So from pork and bacon to tuna, cakes and much more, this March 17th, you can enjoy a day of celebrating our national saint and our excellent food suppliers too. That sounds like a win-win.
Have your cake and eat it
The Seery family has been making cakes since boss Brian Seery was a lad. “It was my job to taste the mixes growing up, I didn’t get paid for it though,” he laughs.
The business was set up by his mother Philo in 1989, a keen baker who had previously worked as a home economics teacher. She began baking her delicious cakes in the family kitchen for family and friends, before going on to supply local coffee shops.
Such was its success that her husband Oliver soon joined her in the business, converting the family garage into a bakery. Today the bakery operates from a custom-built factory close to the family home in Carlow.
When Brian Seery joined his parents in the business in 2005, it had 20 staff. Today Seerys employs 80 people, but its family ethos remains the same.
Our ethos is to replicate the taste of home baking
Its partnership with SuperValu has helped it grow and it supplies a number of SuperValu’s Signature Tastes cakes, all freshly made with free range eggs. These include the Coffee and Walnut Cake, hand finished with butter cream icing and nibbed walnut pieces.
There’s also a Signature Tastes Chocolate Cake made with Belgian chocolate buttercream icing and marbled chocolate curls, which scooped a Blas na hÉireann Silver award in 2020. Then there’s the scrumptious Signature Tastes Carrot Cake, a lightly spiced sponge covered in rich cream cheese icing, topped with walnut pieces.
“All are variants on my mother’s original recipes,” says Brian Seery. “People work hard and like a little indulgence, and our ethos is to replicate the taste of home baking for them.”
Fishing for delicious
As a former fisherman and chip shop owner, John Shine knows all about catching, preparing and serving up tasty fish. It’s what gave him the idea to set up Shines Wild Irish Tuna, the family business he runs with his wife Marianne in Killybegs, Co Donegal.
To help develop their idea he joined Food Academy, a food business development programme supported by SuperValu, Local Enterprise Offices and Bord Bia. In 2015 he started to sell Wild Irish Albacore tuna in SuperValu stores.
Without SuperValu’s help I don’t think we’d be where we are today
Unlike skipjack tuna, which comes from southeast Asia, wild albacore tuna is fished by Irish fishermen off Ireland’s south west coast.
It tastes completely different, Shine says. “Skipjack has been described as more aggressively ‘fishy’ which is why people use mayonnaise to calm it down. It’s like comparing cooking apples to eating apples.”
With SuperValu’s encouragement, the company has added yellowfin tuna and sardines to its product range and is currently developing a new mackerel line too. “Without SuperValu’s help I don’t think we’d be where we are today,” he says.
Shines also produces a special range of tuna for SuperValu’s Signature Tastes. “It’s co-branded so our name is on it as well, which grows the brand overall,” he explains. “From a consumer’s point of view, there’s an element of confidence with Signature Tastes, because SuperValu sets the bar very high.”
A meal in minutes
Ballymaguire Foods is a sister company to well-known agri-food business Country Crest and was established in North County Dublin in 2008. Under managing director Ed Spellman, an award-winning chef, it has developed a range of luxury dining options for SuperValu. These include main dishes with slow cooked Irish meats and sides with seasonal ingredients meticulously sourced from local producers.
A firm believer in the quality of homegrown ingredients, Ed dons his chef’s whites to develop dishes for SuperValu’s Signature Taste range, including standouts such as its Beef Stroganoff, with slow cooked Irish beef strips in a rich and creamy white wine sauce topped with parsley and roast mushrooms. His Signature Tastes Lamb Tagine is made from tender Irish lamb slow cooked with sweet apricots, sultanas, and tomatoes.
Don’t miss his rich Beef Bourguinon, slow cooked diced Irish beef in a rich bourguignon sauce with Chianti wine, smoked Italian pancetta and Irish button mushrooms, which comes in a recyclable tray.
It is top-tier cuisine, all infused with Spellman’s commitment to quality and seasonality. Every portion is hand-produced to ensure restaurant quality food at your dining table this St Patrick’s Day.
Oatstanding in their field
Siobhan Lawless started The Foods of Athenry when a local restaurateur who knew of her baking skills asked if she’d make brown bread for his business. That was in 1997. Before long she was supplying her products across Galway, including to local SuperValu stores, with husband Paul giving up farming to help out.
In 2018, having passed the stringent auditing process SuperValu requires of each private label supplier, she began creating a premium range of granola for SuperValu’s Signature Tastes range.
Irish people really like to buy Irish
These include a Hazelnut Black Forest granola, with cocoa coated oat clusters. “It turns the milk brown, like Coco Pops for grown-ups,” she laughs. Other recipes in the range include one with raspberries and toasted coconut flakes, and one with honey, almonds and multi seeds.
A good private label arrangement is good for the supermarket, and good for the supplier businesses too, she says. “For us it’s an extra string to our bow. SuperValu has an amazing range of private label products across multiple suppliers and it’s all very high quality, a fact we can testify to, having won Great Taste awards for ours,” Lawless says.
“Consumers like Signature Tastes too because they like the transparency of knowing who is behind the product - and Irish people really like to buy Irish.”
Bringing the bacon home
Partnering with SuperValu has been a huge part of its success. Products Oliver Carty supplies include Cherrywood Smoked Dry Cured Rashers, and Irish Pork Maple Flavoured Smoked Streaky Bacon, both made under the Signature Tastes range. Each ham is rubbed with Carty’s special blend of spices and left to cure, before being sliced and packaged for sale.Ted Carty’s Athlone-based business, Oliver Carty Pork & Bacon, was started by his father Oliver in the 1950s, cooking hams at home on a part time basis to generate additional income for his family. “It was out of necessity,” recalls Carty. Today the business employs almost 160 people – including the third generation of the Carty family – and has a turnover of €50m.
All the pork we use is Bord Bia quality assured
“We are always researching new trends and in 2017 introduced new Hampshire and whiskey dry cure rashers,” says Ted.
Sustainability is key for the Oliver Carty business, and this year will see it replace all black meat trays with clear plastic recyclable ones, taking 6,500 tonnes away from landfill.
“All the pork we use is Bord Bia quality assured and we pick the feed for the farmers,” says Carty, who points out that the Hampshire pigs used are bred exclusively for SuperValu. “And they’re farmed close by, to reduce food miles too,” he says.