Always going upstream against the current – part 1
Pescatarians listen up.
How do I love thee?
I cannot possibly count the ways.
This series shall follow my travels to salmon relevant territories, shedding light on quality producers, restaurants and products.
Salmon. The common name for several species of ray-finned fish in the family Salmonidae.
A temperate species.
Red to orange in colour, oily and praised for being a nutrional marvel for its high-quality protein, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
Typically they are anadramous, i.e. they live in the sea and migrate into fresh water to spawn.
Folklore has it that the fish return to the exact spot where they were born to spawn.
A mechanism that has been attributed to their olfactory memory.
They evolved in the cool, high latitude waters of the North Atlantic, an environment which provides well defined seasons that drive life rhythm of the salmon.
Although far from the Atlantic Ocean – unspoilt and remote – the pristine waters of the Huon River, Hideaway Bay and the Southern Ocean in Tasmania Australia have proven to be a suitable location to raise healthy and flavoursome Atlantic salmon.
With water fed by tributaries that start in World Heritage Wilderness Areas, air that’s refreshed by the Roaring Forties, the strong westerly winds found in the Southern Hemisphere, and fertile soil that spawns flourishing apple orchards, Atlantic salmon thrive in the still unspoilt environs of Tasmania.
Tasmania is also free from a number of parasites and diseases that have affected some salmon colonies around the world.
Atlantic salmon was first introduced to Tasmania and New South Wales for sport fishing in the 1800s.
My recent trip to Tasmania led me to Huon Aquaculture, which was founded in 1987 and has grown to become one of thee most prominent salmon producers in the Southern Hemisphere.
The holding pens of Huon belong to the largest in the world when it comes to salmon farming and they make a deliberate effort to move them to new locations on a regular basis to make sure that the surroundings are fresh and provide what their salmon stock needs, a process that is known amongst experts as “fallowing”.
The Huon Aquaculture Group produces over 17,000 tonne of fresh salmon per year and my favourites of their delicious range includes among:
- Huon Premium Smoked Salmon with the Atlantic Salmon slowly smoked for up to 40 hours over red-gum logs. Sliced vertically - perfect for immediate consumption.
- Huon Premium Hot Smoked Salmon: The Salmon fillets are dry salted and left to cure, then smoked with red-gum logs in kilns using traditional slow-smoking methods. The fillets are double-smoked which helps retain the natural oils of the salmon. They are boneless and ready to go.
My favourite emission out of the house of Huon is their whisky cured salmon, which celebrates the coming together of salmon with one of the world’s finest whiskys, Tasmania’s Lark Distillery, which runs an 1800 litre copper pot still along with a 500 litre spirit still. The range of distilled products includes the flagship Lark Single Malt Whisky and Forty Spotted Rare Tasmanian Gin. Huon fine salmon is marinated with the award-winning Tasmanian Lark whisky for up to two days to produce a taste sensation for both salmon and whisky connoisseurs.
The smoky notes of the barrel in the whisky marry with the subtle flavours of the delicate Huon salmon to produce a product that is without par when it comes to salmon creations.
Talking of cured salmon - the rich sweetness of their Reserve Selection Honey Cured salmon will get you as soon as you open the packaging.
Both delicate in texture and rich in sweet overtones, the salmon is drizzled in fine Australian honey and cured for up to 24 hours.
Once the honey has done its work the salmon is lightly smoked and carefully packed as a whole fillet by hand.
Trust me, it is a delectable experience indeed.
Watch out for the second instalment of Always going upstream against the current.
Photos from Huon Aquaculture website