Ireland the Food Island
“You can’t separate the artisan food business in Ireland from our geography… our landscape is at the heart of what we create. What we have in Ireland is wonderful raw material and we have the skills to bring those raw materials on, through husbandry”
Wild Irish Atlantic Salmon
It’s extremely important to us to source the best quality locally from a sustainable supply. From 1982 when fish stocks were abundant, Frank smoked only wild Irish Atlantic salmon caught at sea. Since 2006, when drift netting at sea was banned, we have been smoking Irish salmon farmed organically in some of the world’s most remote and untamed sites in the Atlantic Sea, off the west coast of Ireland.
Draft net wild fish, caught in estuaries with a net shot in a loop from the shore is a centuries old tradition that continues to this day, sustaining fisherman and their families during the short summer season. From May to mid August we buy fish caught by local fishermen in the estuary of the River Lee, County Cork, where quotas are tightly controlled and stocks monitored year on year.
All year round we also source salmon farmed in Ireland. Compared to Scotland and Norway, where mass production dominates in still-water loughs and fjords, Ireland’s small, mostly organic farms on the wild Atlantic coast collectively produce a tiny one per cent of Europe’s fresh salmon.
Irish husbandry and the conditions for deep sea cultivation are amongst the best in the world and from our experience produces the only farmed fish that is good enough for hang smoking. Even with organic fish, there are variations in quality. We buy the finest grade from the most experienced producers, and we are proud of our association with Marine Harvest Ireland.
Strong currents, the exposed sites of the west coast, and low stocking densities practiced by our suppliers are essential to healthy fish with toned flesh. These conditions also reduce the risk of disease and environmental degradation. The salmon are fed a natural marine and vegetal feed, free from GM products and chemical additives or preservatives, and they are matured for a minimum of three years. The result is non-fatty, flavourful fish with good muscle tone, ideal for hanging.
Within a day of harvesting the fish are in the smoke house in Cork being filleted and cured, so they are smoked when as fresh as possible. We use a pure, dry-salt cure which kills any bacteria, flavours the fish and acts as a natural preservative. The sides are then washed and hung in small batches on tenterhooks in the smoke house for as long as they need.
Anything other than the best quality fish cannot withstand our hanging process. Indeed our method is the litmus test for our raw ingredients. In turn, we are confident that the unique conditions of our smoke house, and our hanging tradition make the fish the very best it can be.
For more information, please visit SmokeHouse
Made Entirely by Hand
When we say hand made, we mean hand made. Experienced people, rather than automated machines, fillet the fish for salting. We do not skin our fish, nor remove the collar bone as these add flavour and are the means by which we hang the salmon. We trim and pin bone by hand, all of which takes time, but which conserves the delicate flesh. We only offer cuts which preserve the natural seals of the smoked sides and are less wasteful. You, the customer, can witness the quality of the fish by the healthiness of its skin and the firmness of its lean flesh.
Similar quality simply cannot be achieved with industrially farmed fish pummeled through machines, ultra-trimmed, or sliced and interwoven with plastic.
Irish Mackerel & Mussels
Our mackerel are wild, winter fish, caught by trawls in the Atlantic Sea. Crucially they are not feeding which means they are digestible as well as delicious. They are frozen at sea to preserve their freshness as naturally as possible, which also means they are available year-round.
Our mussels are Irish organic rope grown mussels. They are cooked, shelled smoked and preserved with a flavourful whole-grain mustard vinaigrette.