Ireland’s biggest dessert export is a seaweed you can turn into a pudding

It’s no cruffin, we’ll give you that. 

However, Ireland’s most revered dessert ingredient in culinary circles does have a certain charm.

Carrageen moss is the common name for chondrus crispus, a red algae (stay with us) that grows on the rocks of the Altantic in southern Ireland.

Mmmmm.

Image: Ballymaloe

Long ago in Ireland, the common way of serving was to boil it in milk to release its gelatinous properties before mixing it with sugar to create a slightly wobbly, jelly-like treat.

While not as appealing as, say, a slice of Guinness chocolate mousse cake, it is rich in vitamins and iodine and many people believe it’s an effective cough and cold remedy.

Carrageen moss is not hugely fashionable now (we haven’t seen a carrageen moss donut yet) but some of the world’s best chefs are absolutely wild about it.

In fact, you can find it in the ‘home of Irish cuisine, Ballymaloe, where it is a regular fixture on their sweet trolley and often on the ingredients list in the Cookery School.

The Yellow Pepper Restaurant in Letterkenny keeps it on the menu all year ’round, topping it with Baileys and butterscotch sauce, while at Dunmore House in Clonakilty, you’ll find it in the breakfast buffet.

At Brasserie on the Corner in Galway it’s served with buttermilk and fresh berries.

Meanwhile, in Cafe Paradiso, one of the country’s best vegetarian restaurants, they use it to make panna cotta.

If you fancy trying a little sweet seaweed concoction of your own, you can order a bag of carrageen moss online or pick it up in most gourmet stores.

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