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The Smoke House Lewes - course review

On 24 Feb 2013 at 9:51am Mackerel wrote:
Well, just finished the food smoking course at the Lewes Smoke House - not actually in Lewes but on a farm just north of Cooksbridge but I loved the rural setting.
The course itself covers curing and smoking and we even learned how to prepare mackerel fillets - no gutting required!
We played with different grades of wood chippings and sawdust and even set some on fire with varying degrees of success...
And then we made our own smoker - a large cardboard box, some fire-resistant board, some builder's mesh and some garden stakes. Simple but effective.
And finally, lunch, prepared by Annabel - strangely most of it was smoked - we had smoked duck, trout, cheese and even rape seed oil (with garlic).
Our 'facilitator' was David - to say he was enthusiastic about his craft would be an understatement!
Would I recommend their course? Yes! Would I recommend their products? YES! See them at the Farmers' Market in Lewes...
Oh, and try their chilli nuts - they're to die for. ??????????
[I have no connection to this business]

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On 25 Feb 2013 at 12:13pm brixtonbelle wrote:
I'm glad you enjoyed the smoke house course.
I'm not sure if they are the same people who sell at the Friday market but I was disappointed by their smoked salmon. I asked where they sourced the salmon from pre smoking and was told (not as a joke) that it was the cheapest they could get from Tesco ! I haven't been back.
On 25 Feb 2013 at 7:08pm Mackerel wrote:
They are the same...
Why were you disappointed? Smoking imparts a flavour and changes the texture of the fish - it would overpower any subtle flavours that you might be paying extra for in the original fish.
Same goes for cheese - you could buy expensive cheddar or cheap, bulk cheese and smoke both - again you'd be hard pushed to taste the difference.

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On 26 Feb 2013 at 8:37am Kipper wrote:
brixtonbelle - That doesn't surprise me, and if you compare there smoked prices, they're quite high for a small independent producer.
Mackerel - I think the point is, if you're buying from a farmers market you expect to buy a special premium product, otherwise what's the point, you may as well go to Tesco.
On 26 Feb 2013 at 12:47pm brixtonbelle wrote:
Kipper is right. If Im paying a lot of money for a premium product I expect it to be a good quality base to start with - not the cheapest mass produced/ farmed supermarket offering. I would be more interested if the smoke house used (for example) freshly caught fish from Newhaven boats, which is easily available and often much cheaper than supermarkets.
It's even more important to me in the wake of of the horsemeat scandal that the fish and meat I buy is from a source I can trust and preferably local. Frankly I have no idea of the provenance of the cheapest Tesco salmon (and don't shop there anyway because of the Porter family shenanigans with Westminster council etc.)
On 26 Feb 2013 at 2:21pm Smokehouse man wrote:
Just for clarification. I am the man at the Friday market and I would never say that Tesco is where I get my salmon from. Its not cheaper, I don't know where they get their fish from and they can't supply the quantities I need. All my fish is sourced locally and as far as possible caught locally. Salmon doesn't live down here so its sourced from Scotland from suppliers that have excellent sustainability credentials.
It would be foolish to try and sell products that are anything less than amazing because,as you say, you can go to the supermarkets for a cheaper and inferior product.
I run my business to provide local people with a local product where they can be sure the product they are buying is of the best quality.
On 26 Feb 2013 at 4:34pm Kipper wrote:
Smokehouse man - Obviously Mackerel didn't pick up the importance of using quality ingredients from your teaching last Saturday, as they seem confident in saying it makes no difference. I smell something fishy going on here!
On 27 Feb 2013 at 12:55pm brixtonbelle wrote:
smokehouse man - well maybe you said it as a joke then, but I certainly wouldn't make it up, I was appalled to be honest.
Where do you source your salmon then ?
On 27 Feb 2013 at 4:56pm smokehouse man wrote:
From MCB in Newhaven.
And just a word about quality of ingredients. If selling to the public it is your duty to use the best possible ingredients but historically smoking food has been a way of preserving foodstuff and food that was 'on the turn' was often used so that it didn't need to be thrown away. Recycycling almost.
And another thing, if you're learning to smoke stuff at home, whats wrong with trying it out using cheap product?
On 27 Feb 2013 at 6:03pm Kipper wrote:
So this is where you get your fish - How about the cheese, is it from a local farm?
On 27 Feb 2013 at 8:25pm Mackerel wrote:
I wasn't condoning the use of cheap foods - I actually stated that you'd be hard pushed to taste the difference. Certainly I will be learning my new hobby on cheap fish and meat as there's bound to be disaster or two. I doubt that it'll be from Tesco though! ;-)
Get down the market and try the smoked foods - you will love it...

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