A LONDON smokehouse has been awarded coveted European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for its smoked salmon.
In an official ceremony today, attended by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, H. Forman & Son’s London Cure Smoked Salmon joined fresh Scottish salmon and Scottish wild salmon, which already have their own PGI statuses.
It is London’s first PGI protected product, a status enforced by law and 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.
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.
Lance Forman, owner of H. Forman, said: ‘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.’
Michael Gove said: ‘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.’
Forman & Son, which has been operating continuously in East London since 1905, sought PGI status as a continuation of its 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.
Picture: Michael Gove at Forman & Son earlier today