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Meet the Supplier: H. Forman & Son

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About H. Forman & Son

When Harry (Aaron) Forman arrived in London's East End from Russia at the beginning of the last century he pursued the trade he knew best - curing fish; in particular, the salmon he imported in barrels of brine from the Baltic. It wasn't long, however, before he discovered a rich source of fresh wild salmon much closer to home: Scotland.

Inspired by the exceptional quality of fresh Scottish salmon, Harry developed a cure that complemented its unrivalled flavour.

The deliciously mild London Cure was born and soon it was the talk of reputable establishments around the capital.

A century later H. Forman & Son remains a family concern, the last of the original London smokeries, with Lance Forman, Harry's great grandson, flying the flag for the famous London Cure. Remaining faithful to principles established in 1905 - the freshest salmon, a little salt, just the right amount of oak smoke - he is upholding traditional values and skills that would otherwise have died out long ago.

 

The Process

H. Forman & Son is, and will always remain, a smoker and wholesaler of salmon with London Cure Smoked Scottish Salmon their signature product. They pride themselves on producing the finest smoked salmon with no corners cut...

The story starts with the fish itself. The Atlantic salmon is the king of fish, and those caught in the estuaries of Scotland are renowned for their flavour. H. Forman & Son purchase the freshest fish with wild Scottish salmon arriving with them within 24 hours of being caught and superior farmed Scottish salmon within 48 hours of harvest. As soon as the salmon arrives it is cleaned, split and trimmed entirely by hand to maintain the highest quality.

Small amounts of rock salt are sprinkled by hand over each fish to dehydrate the flesh. During salting a side of salmon can lose up to 15% in weight over 24 hours. Less reputable producers have been known to inject brine to increase weight (and margins!) and disguise the saltiness with sugar. Lance Forman and his team do nothing of the sort with their smoked Scottish salmon containing no added sugar and only 3% salt content.

After salting, with bones left in to enhance flavour, whole sides of salmon are hung by hand in traditional style ready for smoking. Hanging allows the smoke to circulate freely and penetrate the stretched pores of the flesh.

Controlling smoke is vital - too much and the subtle flavour of the salmon is overpowered. H. Forman & Son's expertise results in a perfect blend of air-drying and dehumidification with precise quantities of smoke produced by friction-burning oak logs sourced from sustainable forests.

Two different methods are employed for smoking the fish - cold-smoking and hot-smoking. London cure smoked Scottish salmon is cold-smoked, but salmon also takes well to hot-smoking. The key to cold-smoking is the drying whereas with hot-smoking moisture retention is paramount. It's this understanding of smoking principles, refined over the last 100 years, that ensures H. Forman & Son's range of traditional smoked fish remains unsurpassed.

Trimming, pin-boning and carving by hand is a labour-intensive process but makes a huge difference. Cheaper sliced smoked salmon is often sold untrimmed with the pellicle (the hard and chewy outer crust that forms during smoking) left intact because it adds to the weight. H. Forman & Son smoked salmon is supplied with the pellicle removed for a far superior taste. Slicing by hand also enhances taste because the slightly uneven surface of each slice releases more flavour.

Finally, the slices are re-assembled, with considerable skill, in the form of the original side and wrapped ready for dispatch. Time is of the essence as the best smoked salmon should be eaten as fresh as possible!

 

 

More than smoke salmon

While smoked salmon remains the heart and soul of the business, gourmet tastes change regularly and H. Forman & Son has always been at the forefront of the curing industry, pioneering new styles and delicacies. The same principles of curing - the best fish, artisan skills - are applied to a wide range of products of exceptional quality including Black Cod in Miso Sauce.

 

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