Preserving Traditions

Smoked SalmonFoods have been preserved by smoke-curing since before the dawn of recorded history. People in cultures the world over have relied on the smoke-curing of mostly fish and meats to enable the long-term storage of food.

During the middle ages in Europe and Britain, various heavily smoked and salted foods were relied upon to carry people over the lean times of late winter and into spring. At this time, the only way fresh fish and meats could be transported any distance from the port of landing was if they were preserved.

With the rapid growth of logistical infrastructure such as railways and steamships beginning in the 1840’s, transportation of perishables became possible. As a result of the sudden widespread availability of fresh fish and meats, the popularity of heavily smoked and salted products, after being a mainstay for hundreds of years, began to decline.

In the same period (mid-1800's), the smoked fish products we now regard as traditional came into being. These were mildly smoked and dried and contained minimum salt as a condiment. Where the primary reason for smoking fish had been formerly for preservation, it was now mainly to impart a pleasant mild smoky flavour. Rapid transportation for foodstuffs meant preservation was no longer so essential. The distinction had been made between smoking for preservation and smoking for flavour and texture.

All sorts of foods are now smoked and can include items such as cheeses, vegetables and ingredients used to make beverages such as beer and lapsang souchong tea. These are examples of the creativity that has resulted, providing  contemporary smoking sensations. Many homes boast their own hot smoker either commercially purchased or hand made from various bits and pieces to allow personal experimentation with seasoning and slow cooking of different foods.

A variety of woods is used globally e.g. alder, oak, beech, hickory, mesquite, pecan maple apple, cherry and plum. Other fuels besides wood can also be employed, sometimes with the addition of flavouring ingredients. Chinese tea-smoking uses a mixture of uncooked rice, sugar, and tea heated at the base of a wok. Peat is burned to dry and smoke the barley malt used to make whisky and some beers. In Iceland, dried sheep dung is used to cold-smoke fish, lamb, mutton, and whale. The list goes on!

We are committed to using local produce when possible, and so we smoke our tomatoes using sustainable Jarrah woodchips – normally considered waste. Jarrah is a hardwood indigenous to the South West of Western Australia and imparts a flavour that perfectly balances the robust tomato.

The actual art of smoking has changed very little since the beginning of time, and we pride ourselves on continuing with the traditional methods that ensure the quality product you have come to expect.