London’s first PGI protected product will be H. Forman & Son’s London Cure Smoked Salmon.
The hallowed European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, enforced by law, is designed to protect and celebrate traditional regional foods, such as Gorgonzola in Italy or Champagne in France. In order to receive this status, the entire product must be processed within a specific region. London Cure smoked salmon has to be produced in the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney or Newham. This status confers a great honour on London Cure salmon, and recognises that UK and London cuisines are globally important cultural artefacts.
Fresh Scottish salmon and Scottish wild salmon already have their own PGI statuses. Smoked salmon originated in Jewish communities in the East End of London at the turn of the last century, so this internationally renowned gourmet food finally has a designation reflecting its century old origin and craft.
As Lance Forman, owner of H. Forman, says: “Mass manufacturing has upended the way salmon is made, and not in a good way. As the fourth-generation leader of a family business, we have seen traditional smokehouses in the East End of London dwindle from a multitude to almost none. Our business is not just to smoke salmon, but to act as keepers of an extraordinary tradition, with the mission and desire to educate the public on how this traditional food should be made”.
The ingredients in the London Cure are PGI-protected Scottish salmon, oak smoke and salt. PGI status protects consumers from buying cheap imitations that are not of equivalent quality, have additives, preservatives or sugar.
In order to be considered London Cure, the salmon must be smoked and processed entirely by hand. In keeping with tradition, the smoke acts as a seal to lock in the taste of cured salmon rather than to flavour it. As such London Cure salmon is milder and more delicate than mass produced products.
Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, states: “London Cure Smoked Salmon has been cherished by food lovers in the capital for generations and the traditional skills used to produce it today are testament to the rich culinary heritage we have in this country. It will now rightly sit alongside Cornish sardines, Conwy mussels and Whitstable oysters as examples of the world-class produce that uphold our reputation as a great food nation.”
H. Forman & Son sought PGI status as a continuation of their educational aims. The business regularly invites the public to visit the smokehouse, with tours and open days, so they can understand the manufacturing process. A viewing gallery is installed over the factory, so that any visitor can see the end to end process.
London Cure Smoked Salmon is available to purchase directly from the business via its home delivery service Forman & Field, and is also stocked nationwide at top food retailers. It also graces the tables in fine dining establishments both in London and around the world and is served in eateries which focus on food provenance.