As a self professed foodie, I’m always keen to try out new dishes and cuisines – especially if it’s something really different! I LOVE my sushi, and seaweed finds it’s way into salads as well these days, but I admit I may have gotten a little excited when I came across “Seamore” on pozible recently – Seaweed as a Pasta? This is something I WANT to try!
They’ve taken seaweed from the side of the plate and turned it into a main dish with their product “I sea pasta” – swapping carbs for veggies (the pasta has been a big hit overseas with Vegans and the health conscious alike – it’s even been a hit with children as well – and they can be mighty fussy eaters at times!)
Amsterdam-based entrepreneur Willem Sodderland discovered the ‘himanthalia’ species when he mistook seaweed for green pasta in a salad. His thought was immediate, simple and disruptive: what if we start eating it as pasta? We’re eating too many carbs and not enough veggies, so why not swap one for the other? The company Seamore, and the first product “I sea pasta” were born. A large crowd and huge publicity enabled the first harvest in a Dutch/German crowdfunding campaign.
In just 6 months, I sea pasta has gone from its first webshop sales to 500 Dutch supermarket shelves. The same is happening in Berlin, London and Copenhagen. Michelin star chefs have started to cook with it. Consumers and chefs alike are surprised by the subtlety of the taste, the ‘al dente’ bite and the similarity to pasta or noodles, making it very easy to cook with.
The ‘pasta’ is sustainably harvested in Ireland, one of 6 countries in which it grows. This species grows on rocks and is handpicked following a sustainable harvesting protocol. It is only rinsed and dried, no other processing takes place. The seaweed naturally looks like green tagliatelle and can be used in the same way. It is organic, gluten-free, very low on carbs and calories, rich in vitamins, minerals, omega3 and iodine. On top, seaweed is seen as one of the planet’s most sustainable foods: it requires only sunshine, no land, no fresh water, pesticides nor fertilizer.
Sean Heylen, an Adelaide entrepreneur, met Willem when attending a conference of entrepreneurs. Following Willem’s adventures on Facebook, he was the first to pick up on the seaweed story and asked for some samples to test I sea pasta for himself. Sean’s first dish: I sea pasta with South Australian grown garlic, herbs from his own garden, and olive oil from the Adelaide Hills. The response from his wife and kids, then friends and chefs was pretty universal: fantastic to have a tasty, healthy and easy to cook with alternative to pasta.
Sean is now the driving force behind the Pozible crowdfunding campaign. He explains the choice for ‘crowd-harvesting’:
“Our idea is to make seaweed really accessible, also in price. We want to move it from the edge of the plate to the centre. If we gather enough demand in Australia we can compensate for the high transportation cost and ship enough to make it widely available.”
The word “crowd-harvest” is more than a catchy phrase: whether the crowd-funding in Australia is successful will influence how much is harvested in Ireland. People can order various packs of I sea pasta with a few extras such as organic wine, aprons and cookbooks. Now at 20% of the targeted funding, Sean is looking to trigger a total of AU$15000 in pre-sales. Funders are the first to receive the product and at the best price.
You can learn more about the campaign here – want to ‘try before you buy’? Paleo Cafes across Australia will be serving I sea pasta on their menu during March and April so that interested foodies can try it out for themselves prior to pledging. To find your nearest Paleo Cafe, simply click here and select your location.
Food photography by Saskia van der Wal. Food styling by Oliver Knight.
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