Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend the International Boston Seafood Show, which I documented here. During the show, and at a reception following, I had the pleasure of speaking with the team from the Scottish Development International, and organization committed to expanding their reach into US markets.
I talk a lot, a lot, about buying local. So it might seem strange to change my tune a bit here and promote not only out of the state, but out of the country. When I first began corresponding with the Scottish Development International (SDI), I had a similar question- why Scotland? We have fantastic Salmon from Alaska, why should I look at this import? One of the most beautiful aspects of seafood, as with other food related products, is how much the environment affects their flavor. The ocean waters of Scotland are vastly different than the waters of the northern Pacific, and the flavors cultivated in those waters are also different. Scotland has long been regarded as having some of the best Salmon, among other seafood delicacies, and has been achieved the position of second largest seafood exporter in the world.
Their Salmon is really their crown jewel of their seafood export, and at the IBSS, it was clear that their pride is well placed. During the conference and at a reception held on Monday evening, I had the pleasure of taste testing several varieties of smoked salmon provided by the Grieg Seafood Hjaltland/Shetland Products Ltd. By far, this was the best smoked salmon I have ever tasted. All too often I find smoked salmon to have an unpleasant texture, a gummy feel, an almost too fishy flavor. This was strong in texture and flavor. The mouth feel was almost crisp, and robust. It was clean on the palate, and artfully produced. The flavors were also perfection- the pastrami salmon was addictive in its peppery deli style- I could imagine it being the ultimate answer in a New York Deli for the person who is craving both a pastrami on rye and a bagel with lox- the joining of the two would be the best of both worlds.
Speaking with the producers and representatives of the companies there it was obvious why their product was so much better than others that I have tried. The care and attention that they put into their processes, as well as the fish that they raise is far beyond that of many other companies. Scottish Salmon is under rigorous scrutiny, and if it doesn't match the stipulations of their government, as well as meet the seal of approval from the Queen, it isn't able to bear their seal. One of the key differentiators? Scottish endorsed smoked salmon is completed, start to finish, in Scotland. Their salmon is raised in their waters, prepared by their hands, and smoked with their chips. It is a completely Scottish product. There are not many producers that can claim that.
That really is the beauty of this as an import. The flavors imparted in their salmon are unique to Scotland, we cannot replicate them here in the US, nor should we try. Their processes are age old, and have been perfected for their seafood over time. If you see a certified Scottish Salmon product in a store, purchase it- I doubt you'll be disappointed.