How Glen got into producing Bloaters and why he chose this particular product:
Glen is first and foremost a fisherman, and while he runs Cley Smokehouse he can largely be found on his boat off the coast of East Anglia. Glen regularly delivered crabs and lobsters to the smokehouse at Cley, a tradition his family had held since the smokehouse was opened by Mike Rhodes – an eccentric artist with a passion for fishing. Glen never intended to take over the smokehouse but after an off-the-cuff remark to Mike offering to take over the smokehouse. Mike happened to be looking to sell, and while Glen wasn’t prepared for the challenges ahead of him in taking over the smokehouse, he somewhat naively accepted. After finding the funding to take over the smokehouse, getting 3 months of initial training, in which he also had a daughter, Glen finally took the reigns at Cley Smokehouse in 2002. Traditionally smoking all types of fish, especially herring into kippers, Bloaters, red herring, & sweet pickled herring is how the smokehouse has built it’s reputation, it is a tradition not many people were prepared to take on but one that Glen has relished. Glen chose to produce Bloaters because of the immense local history that surrounds them along the East Anglia coast. Fishing has always been close to Glen’s heart and seeing the decline of a once great industry and it’s rich community is motivation for Glen to continue fishing and producing smoked fish in the traditional way.
The challenges that Glen is facing producing Bloaters
With all traditionally cured and smoked food the processes are longer and more expensive, some of the challenges are simply being able to compete with modern methods whcih are quicker and cheaper but cut corners on quality. Glen believes there will always be small artisan producers willing to keep the tradition of curing & smoking alive, but training like minded people will be a different challenge, and Glen worries about how much will be lost in translation.
Products that Glen is offering:
Cley Smokehouse has a range of smoke fish and seafood products all available to buy on the website. As well as Bloaters there is a range of smoked products from smoked prawns, mackerel, trout as well as modern examples of traditional recipes such as fennel cured salmon. Visit the website to see the full range of products.
Glen’s favourite Bloaters recipe:
When Glen was still in the early days of running the smokehouse, one customer explained the best way to prepare them:
“this is wot you wanna tel em boy, you wanna wrap it in damp paper, plenty of it, throw it on bak o fire & by the time you buttered ya bred that ole be dun. still tickles me to this day”
Address: High Street, Cley, HOLT, Norfolk, NR25 7RF
Phone: 01263 740282