Smoked fish is synonymous with Scotland, and this finesse with fish has continued for centuries and one that today is as popular as ever. Back in the 1800’s though, this method of preserving fish was a necessity as refrigeration was not possible. In Auchmithie, near Arbroath, the fishwives originally smoked the fish, which was haddock, in halved barrels with fires underneath, trapping the smoke under layers of hessian sacking, to create what is now known as the “Arbroath Smokie”.
The cooking time is usually a minimum of 30–40 minutes but only an experienced “smokie” maker, like Ian Spink, who regularly attends local shows, like this one at Portsoy, to demonstrate and sell the finished product, knows exactly when they are ready. Having watched and photographed this process myself, from start to finish – a “smokie” like this eaten straight from the stall, comes highly recommend and worth the wait.
This year, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy is being held over the weekend of the 4th and 5th July 2015, under the banner of Visit Scotland’s “The Year of Food and Drink 2015”, and offers a chance to celebrate the North East of Scotland’s fantastic natural larder and exceptional produce, with fish being high on the agenda. All the fishing villages in this area, as well as Portsoy, are wonderful evocative places to visit like Cullen, Sandend, Penan and Crovie, and makes for an excellent day’s touring. Other shows in this area, include the Turriff Show, which is being held on the 2nd and 3rd August 2015, which last year celebrated its 150th year as an agricultural show.
For accommodation in this north eastern part of Scotland, what about staying at this Impressive Fortress, with over 400 years of history, it would be like stepping back in time in a historical novel. With a Great Hall and amazing wood panelled rooms, this is a delight for up to 10 adults to stay on a self-catering basis for a week. With 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, everyone is catered for in style and even some comfort within the selection of four poster beds. As for the kitchen and dining room, the perfect place, to cook and eat the selection of smoked fish which you can buy locally at Banff or MacDuff. Feasting on fine fish at the fortress can be arranged by contacting Scotts Castle Holidays today.