HOW LONG WILL SMOKED FISH KEEP?
Smoked salmon, trout, mackerel etc. usually keep for four weeks as long as the pack is sealed and chilled in the refrigerator. This is due to the salting, smoking and vacuum packing of the fish (see also “How we smoke our salmon”).
HOW LONG WILL SMOKED FISH KEEP WITHOUT BEING REFRIGERATED (DURING TRANSPORT)?
It will keep for 2 to 3 days even in warm and hot weather conditions because of the special process it has been submitted to: the salting, smoking and vacuum packing. The sailors of old salted their meat to preserve it for long journeys, and it kept for quite a while (even without being vacuumpacked!). So even if your smoked fish arrives with a temperature that equals the forehead of a feverish child, there is no problem with enjoying the fish after keeping it in the chill on arrival.
WHY DO WE USE COURIER SERVICES FOR SENDING OUT THE SMOKED FISH PRODUCTS?
Courier services have the advantage of delivering within 24 to 48 hours. Postal Services would be too slow – as outlined above, vacuumpacked smoked fish products keep for up to 2-3 days without being chilled, so courier services are the only way to go. We use Nightline for all Irish and Northern Ireland destinations, and UPS for all deliveries outside the island of Ireland.
HOW LONG WILL A DELIVERY TAKE?
For deliveries to Ireland and most countries of “mainstream” Europe, shipments take 24 hours to arrive. For deliveries to the US and Switzerland, we count 48 hours.
WHAT ARE THE DISPATCH DATES?
We send out our fish products on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays (except for holidays). We do not dispatch on Thursdays or Fridays because we want to give the courier service plenty of leeway before the weekends just in case of a delay of delivery.
CAN I FREEZE SMOKED FISH? OR CHEESE?
Yes, you can. It will freeze beautifully for up to 3 months. You can also divide big packs into smaller ones, freeze them and take them out when you need them. Just make sure you wrap them tightly and airfree. When defrosting, do it slowly in the fridge over 24 hours or so. It is recommended not to leave the frozen salmon in hot water or a hot environment to defrost.
Cheese and salmon pate freeze as well. Though they are safe to consume, they might change texture after defrosting. Here as well it is recommended to defrost them slowly.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLD AND HOT SMOKED SALMON?
The terms COLD and HOT refer to the temperature of the smoke. Cold smoking is the way the salmon is traditionally smoked in Ireland and Europe: at about 32 degrees Celsius for about 8 hours. The Scandinavians are having their own way of smoking: at about 75/80 degrees Celsius for about 4 hours. The salmon that is smoked this way is called hot smoked (or some people call it also barbecued) salmon. It has nothing to do with hot spices, just with the temperature at which the salmon is smoked.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN (HOT SMOKED) PLAIN AND SPICED SALMON?
Plain hot smoked salmon has no added spices on top, it is ideal for those gourmets who like the natural taste of the salmon as it is. The spiced hot smoked salmon features crushed peppercorns, paprika, herbs and mustard seeds on top all of which add a delicious flavour to the salmon.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WILD, FARMED AND ORGANIC SALMON?
Wild salmon has been caught by fishermen in the Atlantic off the Irish coast. There is a ban on driftnet salmon fishing since the end of 2006 which takes the pressure off the wild salmon population and gives it a chance to recover.
Farmed and organic salmon are both – well, farmed. Both are very high qualities: Irish salmon has one of the lowest fat content of all salmon. The organic salmon is grown based on the organic principles (small amount of fish in the cages, organic food). They present a very good alternative to the dwindling stocks of wild salmon. See here for more information about organic salmon, and to read more about farmed premium salmon click here.
WHAT IS GRAVAD LAX?
Gravad lax is a Scandinavian specialty – marinated salmon. Instead of smoking the salmon, we marinate (or cure) it with salt, sugar, cracked pepper and plenty of dill. As the salmon cures, the moisture turns the dry cure into a highly concentrated brine, which can be used in Scandinavian cooking as part of a sauce.
The word Gravad comes from the Norwegian, Danish and Swedish word grav which literally means grave or hole in the ground. During the Middle Ages, gravad lax was made by fishermen, who salted the salmon and buried it in the sand above the high-tide line. Lax (or laks) means “salmon”, thus gravad lax is “salmon buried in the ground”.
WHERE DOES OUR FISH AND OUR OTHER PRODUCTS COME FROM?
Our fish and also the other products that we sell in our Visitor Centre come from Ireland. We try to source our products as close to home as possible. As to the raw materials, we are convinced that the Irish fish is the best quality we can source, so why stray somewhere else to buy it?
ARE THERE ANY CHEMICAL OR ARTIFICIAL PRESERVATIVES IN OUR FISH PRODUCTS?
No, we do not add anything to our products except for salt, smoke and some spices which are potent preservatives in themselves. For the organic salmon, we use organic salt only. We do not believe in spoiling a perfect product that nature gave us with manmade chemicals.
HOW CAN WE USE SALMON IN DISHES?
Salmon is one of the most versatile foods we can imagine. Many vegetarians appreciate salmon as a “substitute” for smoked ham or any kind of meat in the dishes. You can use it in almost any savoury dish, be it cold, warm or grilled, or just with some bread as it is. Try our hot smoked salmon in summer salads – simple and at the same time very sophisticated. Or the cold smoked salmon with asparagus, new potatoes, sauce hollandaise and parsley sprinkled on top – a great variation on the traditional German dish of asparagus and smoked ham. We can make quiches out of it, or just eat it with pasta and a white sauce.
For more recipes, please refer to our Recipe Corner.
WHAT WINES WOULD WE RECOMMEND TO GO WITH SMOKED FISH?
Basically, white wines are recommended for fish dishes. This should be dry wines, not sweet(ish) wines. Gewuerztraminer (from Alsace for example) are renowned for going really well with smoked salmon, as it is a kind of full and strong-bodied white wine. Best choose a wine that is a bit on the heavy side, not too light, because the fish itself has a strong taste, and you want an equal companion for your fish dish.
WHAT IS PART OF THE HEDIN-CURTIN FAMILY BUSINESS?
In short: the Burren Smokehouse and the Roadside Tavern. The Roadside Tavern has been in the Curtin family for over a hundred years, and still today it looks like a pub from 50 or more years ago. In 1989, Birgitta Hedin-Curtin and her husband Peter Curtin set up the Burren Smokehouse which is going from strength to strength.
WHAT COUNTRIES DO WE DELIVER TO?
We deliver to Ireland, all European countries, the US and other oversea destinations.
We do not deliver to Australia due to customs regulations. There are countries and islands, however, where we have experienced delay in deliveries due to customs formalities, various delivery obstacles, remote areas etc. Please ask us if you are not sure about the possibility of delivery.
HOW TO CALCULATE THE FREIGHT?
The freight costs depend on two variables: the destination and the weight. The first kilo is always the most expensive one, every following kilo to the same address gets charged at a lower rate. Also, the weight is rounded up to the next full kilo (2.5 kg = 3 kg in shipping weight terms).
For this reason, it makes sense to bundle orders if possible, and gather orders from your family, friends and work colleagues. For orders over 20 kg, we offer a special discount on the smoked fish price and the freight: read more about our Salmon Buying Club.
See here for more information about freight - you will find downloadable information on how to calculate the freight. When you place an order on this website, the system will automatically come up with the freight costs, so there is no need for you to calculate them. The freight will be displayed during “Checkout”.
WHY TO WE ASK FOR THE TELEPHONE NUMBER OF THE RECIPIENT?
This is for the benefit of the recipient. If the courier service cannot reach the recipient at the delivery address, he will be able to call the number and arrange an alternative delivery. So please always make sure that you give us the telephone number, and that it is a DAYTIME or MOBILE number – no use calling a home number if everybody is at work… We will not be able to assume responsibility for a delivery gone wrong due to a missing or wrong telephone number.
CAN I CHECK THE PROGRESS OF MY DELIVERY?
We have the possibility of using the UPS facility to send you an email that will give you a tracking number. With this tracking number, you will be able to check the progress of your shipment on the UPS website (www.ups.com). This provides we have a valid email address from you.
Nightline, the company we use for deliveries within the island of Ireland, also have a tracking system similar to the one UPS is using. Provided we have your email address, we will have email updates sent to you by Nightline.
WHY DO I NOT GET AN ORDER UPDATE?
When placing an order over the internet, you will receive an email with a summary of your order. This email will be sent to the email address you put into the order so please make sure there are no spelling mistakes. After this, there will be no more updates given as to the progress of your order.
IS THE WEBSITE – IN PARTICULAR THE CHECKOUT PAGES – SECURE?
Yes it is. Everything that needs to be encrypted is encrypted. Your credit card details are not saved on the website, so nobody can have unauthorised access to them.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY PERSONAL DETAILS?
Nothing untoward – all we do with them is use them to process your order. We have a very strict policy to not pass them on to others.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHAT MY CURRENCY IS WORTH IN EUROS?
In the top right corner of each page, you can select the currencies you want displayed, either €uros or US Dollars. If your currency is different, you can go to www.xe.com to for an up-to-date exchange rate and currency calculator.