Black Mountains Smokery


So, this website, I keep saying it’s my love letter to the people, products and places that make the UK great.

And it is. 

But sometimes I need to remind myself that there apparently is more to life than shoes and suits. 

Now I’m only joking, I know there is more to life than shoes and suits, I mean you have shirts and cars as well.

Of course, if I was sensible and ploughing a targeted media furrow, we’d stop here, perhaps have a little discourse about cigars and negroni recipes and well, Robert would be your mother’s brother.

Sadly, my mother’s brother is called Edward, which unfortunately for any media strategists means that this isn’t targeted. 

But, this targeted stuff got me thinking, apparently there are words that you ought to use for search engines, the problem is, they aren’t the words which actually help you make your point. 

To me that all seems a little bit naff, I mean no one is just into shoes or suits are they? 

Because how can you appreciate these things without a well rounded sense of taste and a variety of interests?

And if you care about your cloth, you surely care about what you eat and drink and read and do.

All of this – well the eat and drink - was running through my mind this morning whilst walking the aisles of my local supermarket.

I went through a period a while back where I stopped using supermarkets, I was convinced that I could get anything and everything I needed from elsewhere. During said period I was a bit of a pretentious unmentionable, but what dawned on me was that you could get most things elsewhere but, sometimes what was the point? Baked beans are baked beans. So off I trotted, tail between legs to the supermarket for those things it really didn’t make sense to get elsewhere.

It did teach me a lesson though, that the big stuff, the tasty stuff, the life affirming and suit tightening items, well they are always best from people you know. 

Of course this was when I lived in London with all of its wonderful food trends and stores to cater.

Now I live in a small village in Wiltshire and probably eat better. Eggs from our chickens, vegetables grown by a local lord - yup posh round here – relationships with farmers and couple of local butchers which leads to exceptional meat, game and dairy

Talking of dairy, some of the best stuff Neal’s Yard Dairy used to sell me in London, comes from down the road.

Our local beer, although slightly biased and more to come on that soon, is astonishingly good. 

Brilliant Cider and Gin as well locally. 

I mean it’s like ‘The Good life’, taken from Suburbiton and surrounded by Range Rovers, shotguns and black Labradors. 

But what unites all of these is, like the fantastic suits and shoes, they’re made with passion and from beautiful things. 

Which brings me on to what I wanted to talk about. 

Smoked Salmon. 

A wag once told me that people of my particular vintage couldn’t live without avocados and coffee. Not together obviously, but the close and frequent proximity of those two items around about 11am each weekend in separate vessels was why everyone had bought a house or something. 

I understand the metric but I disagree with the argument, it’s boring, facile and untrue. 

Because at 11am most weekends I don’t want avocado I want smoked salmon. The problem is that the majority makes a warm glass of dishwater appetizing. Salty, slimy and with that chemically smoky taste which is the food equivalent of plug in your dash in-car air fresheners. 

So what’s a boy to do?

Well I like what I know and what I know sometimes happens to be the best - pretentious unmentionable again – and that’s Crickhowell’s Black Mountains Smokery, which is where I  point my browser on the 56k dial-up to order a side. 


Arriving the next day to be dealt with. Well portioned. Normally split into 6, one for now, one for fridge and four for freezer - although this never quite works, and I want to eat it all.

The fish, well it tastes and has a texture like smoked salmon. Well at least how you think in your head smoked salmon ought to taste, clean, fresh and subtly smoked over Welsh oak. 

It doesn’t need nor want for accompaniments, just a squeeze of lemon juice and a smile.