If sailing out to sea, catching your own fresh fish and then sampling the fruits of your labour just two hours later in a mouthwathering paella sounds like your idea of foodie heaven, then a new tour called A Taste of Portrush is a must.
On a day when the north Atlantic was doing a very good impression of the Med, we boarded the Causeway Lass and were welcomed by skipper Richard Connor and his right-hand-man Charlie Adgey.
After sailing out past The Skerries, a small crop of rocks off the Portrush coastline, we were entertained to some maritime stories while tour organiser Wendy Gallagher circulated with tasty treats such as Glens of Antrim Potatoes crisps and samples of ales from Portrush’s Lacada Brewery, named after Lacada Point on the north Antrim coast where the Spanish Armada ship the Girona sank.Then it was down to the business of catching our evening meal and in no time at all, the tour members had netted a plentiful supply of pollock. I unfortunately reeled in nothing, but was happy to enjoy the sunshine and Wendy’s next round of appetisers - artisan chutney, Dart Mountain Kilcreen Cheese from Feeney and Corndale Farm chorizo from Limavady. Back to dry land and a short walk from the Harbour to the award-winning Ocho Tapas Bistro on Main Street in the resort, we were greeted by husband and wife team Sean and Trudy Brolly who, after welcoming us with a glass of champagne, home-made sourdough bread served with Broighter Gold rapeseed oil and Spanish olive oil, tomato salsa and North Coast Smokehouse flavoured salts, then taught us to make authentic paella and sangria. Trudy lived and worked in Spain for 20 years before returning to Portrush and, we were soon cooking up a storm with our paella. While the paella cooked, Sean instructed us in the art of making genuine Spanish sangria. Then it was time to savour our paella, served with the pollock we had caught just TWO HOURS previously along with a flavoursome, fresh lobster. Stunning scenery, a side-show of porpoises, seals and seabirds, a chance to have a go at angling and then back to land to enjoy local produce at its absolute freshest, that’s a taste of Portrush!