One of the things about the Anyfish business that we’re most proud of is the fact that we have our very own smoke house. Chuffing away throughout the year, it’s based just up the road from the Bishop's Waltham fish shop, situated in a lovely converted brick barn. When we set it up, we were lucky enough to be supported by the DEFRA Rural Enterprise scheme which meant our cottage industry was soon up and smoking.
The smokery part of Anyfish began when Peter had a bash at cold smoking the fish he’d been out catching. He set up a mini smokery in a converted old metal dustbin in the back garden and soon discovered that the technique really did give the fish a delicious flavour and texture and the process was actually quite good fun. A friend joked that it might be fun to do as a hobby but not so much if you were doing it on a larger scale - and Pete took this as a challenge. This was around thirty years ago and since then Pete’s been honing his technique and getting to grips with smoking a wide range of different products; meat, fish, poultry and cheese - all with the rich, woody flavour that comes from the smoking process.
Smoking is a food preservation technique which has been around for centuries. Using salt and wood smoke (both naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal) not only helps the food last longer, it also enhances and changes the flavour. The Anyfish smokery can produce both hot-smoked and cold-smoked products - hot smoking (temperature not spice) gives a flakier texture and cold smoking a more velvety, moist texture.
Take the Anyfish Smoked Scottish Salmon for example. Organically fed and Freedom Food accredited, it's brought in fresh as beautiful, huge whole fish, direct from the Wester Ross lakes. Pete will start by filleting them and curing them with his secret blend of salt and sugar, waiting until precisely the right moment to stop the curing process. Next he washes the the salt away and loads the fillets up into the smoker to develop the rich flavour you’d expect from our delicious Anyfish smoked salmon. Next the smoked salmon is sliced and packed up, all ready for customers in the shop to buy, for delivery to our Winchester customers, for local shops and businesses and for turning into our fabulous smoked salmon pate. Our smoked salmon graces the tables of plenty of popular local cafes too, featuring on the menus at Josie's in Bishops Waltham, Lily's in Wickham and Black White Red in Winchester.
There’s no end to the tasty treats you can smoke - and we’ve smoked plenty at the Anyfish smokehouse. Our Smoked Scottish salmon is a top choice but we also have smoked chicken breast, smoked duck breast and some fabulous smoked hams. Smoked mackerel and kippers are always a favourite as are our hot smoked trout, mackerel or salmon fillets.
As Christmas is now well on its way, the Anyfish smokery will be even busier than usual. It’s the perfect time to place an order so you have fabulous smoked fish or meats for the Christmas table or for your festive celebrations. If you like to start Christmas morning with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, if you’re planning salmon canapés for your New Year party or if you’d just like a little bit of smoked salmon to add to your crackers and brie when the festivities are coming to a close. Why not pop into the shop and have a chat with Stu about your smoky requirements, or give us a call on 01489 896111 to order some special smoked goodies.