The Chesil Smokery in Bridport is a roaring success thanks to two businessmen – Johnnie Boden (yes the man behind the colourful clothing) and Mark Firth (a businessman with a love for fishing) – who took on restoring an old smokery in the town, saving it from extinction. Their business mantra is simple – source from the most local, ethical and ecological sources, using only the best ingredients.
Just to prove that Mark likes his angling – here’s a picture of him with a net. I’d love to say I met him, he looks like fun, but I got these images from the press team along with a couple of pieces of their smoked fish to sample.
Chesil Smokery trades mostly over the internet where customers sign up for monthly deliveries – obviously the bigger the box, the better the value – allowing smoke-lovers to pick what they want delivered to their door. The website is easy-on-the-eye and really straightforward and simple to navigate, making the picking and ordering experience quite painless and rather a joy. I love the idea of a regular box of smoked fish and meat arriving each month with the emphasis on variety. Although that said, I do like the surprise element from the company Flavrbox.
From cod’s roe to venison loin, if it’s good for smoking and the results are excellent, they’ll hang it, smoke it, and wrap it – in rather nice packaging too. Choose from fishy, meaty or mixed and an a la carte menu – all price points are cash, cheque and credit card – so if you’re having a lean month or feeling like a splurge there’s really something for everyone. A courier ensures it’s as fresh as it when it left the Smokery, with the product protected in a chilled woollen sleeve, and an ice block for company.
I received a cut of salmon and a fillet of mackerel to try. The salmon was sublime, cut perfectly for the soda bread I had it with, and had the perfect level of smoke which left a pleasing after-taste – 100g, D cut was just about enough to get a flavour but on the website’s drop-down menu, you can try a whole side, half side, unsliced, long sliced or even trimmings, in fact the choice really is yours.
The mackerel, of which I’m usually not a fan, had plump flesh and this was lightly smoked in comparison to the salmon. Absolutely no dry ends here, something I’ve experienced in the past with supermarket-bought high-end vacuum packed fillets.
Chesil smoke with oak and apple chips from British trees, specially graded to produce a small-size, giving the best results.
Confident in their product, they entered some of their smoked food into the The Guild of Fine Food Awards, just a little over a year after firing up the smoker. Without hesitation, the judging panel gave Chesil two-star Gold awards for its Smoked Duck Breast and Smoked Chicken Breast and one-star Gold awards for its Hot Smoked Salmon, Smoked Kippers and Smoked Cod’s Roe.
Great for treating yourself (and a gift I wouldn’t mind receiving) I am yearning to try their smoked meat and am hopeful they’ll start to smoke cheese.
If you find yourself in Bridport, and are able to store your purchases, there is a shop at the Smokery which is open on weekdays and weekends by appointment. There’s also a frozen section, purchases from the freezer secure a 10% discount.
Order your box on the Chesil Smokery website.
Pictures courtesy of PR Team at Chesil Smokery.
Chesil Smokery, The Old Laundry, Sea Road North, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3BD
T +44(0)1308 456 306