Weald Smokery Deli of the Month
Mount Farm/The Mount, Wadhurst TN5 7QL, East Sussex
Try a sliver of Weald Smokery’s cold-smoked salmon on warm brown bread with a squeeze of lemon and you’ll be hooked in no time. What’s the secret? Tradition.
Whether it’s smoked meat or fish, it’s all done on site in time-honoured methods that deliver the best texture and flavour. Firstly, it uses brick kilns because the smoke is absorbed by the walls, allowing for a more developed flavour. It also only uses smaller fish, which results in tighter grains and bigger flavours.
You’ll also find hot-smoked salmon here. The precision in this method is exceptional: the chief smoker chops Kent and Sussex oak kindling to ensure the pieces are the perfect size for an even temperature. Hot smoking makes the fish go flaky, while cold-smoked fish is cured first so you get big, wide slices.
However, owner Andrew Wickham thinks the smoked haddock shows off its methods best because of its beautiful colour. Other brands try to emulate it with dye but you can only get the real golden hue and smoky flavour by leaving the fillets in the traditional kiln overnight.
As for meats, its smoked chicken is great in a Caesar salad and simply serve the smoked duck as part of a mixed-meat platter. Cured in herbs and bay leaves, the duck’s rich taste sings through.
Andrew doesn’t just love smoking though. He says one of the best parts of his job is sampling products. He meets lots of small brands and stocks his favourites, including Tracklements chutneys and Ouse Valley jams.
The deli has also built up a reputation for specialising in English wines. Scan the shelves and you’ll spot the likes of Lyme Bay, Chapel Down, Westwell and Biddenden.
The brasserie only uses food from the deli, so if ever there is a place to order smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, this is it.