Maldon-based Lambton & Jackson’s smoked salmon named the best in the UK

Salmon cured and smoked by Lambton & Jackson. Picture: Lambton & Jackson

Salmon cured and smoked by Lambton & Jackson. Picture: Lambton & Jackson - Credit: Archant

Top chefs and hotels are flocking to buy duo’s award-winning Maldon-made smoked salmon.

Writer, cook and restaurateur Tim Hayward recently gave his seal of approval to Maldon-based Lambton & Jackson, naming it the best producer of smoked fish in the Great British Food Awards.

A small batch, artisanal approach to smoking is what set the business, run by Darcy Lambton and Sean Jackson, apart in this highly competitive category, and the duo are now proud to be supplying top London restaurants and chefs.

“It was a great endorsement for us,” says Darcy of the award, adding that while he comes from a shellfish background, Sean has been smoking salmon professionally virtually since he left school – so he really knows his oak.

“I knew Sean professionally and of his reputation and skills,” adds Darcy, “and we decided back in late 2013 to look at the market for smoked salmon and what we could do differently. Smoked salmon is everywhere, you can’t move for it, but most of it is mass-produced, so we felt there was an opportunity to go back-to-basics, producing a genuinely artisan product.”

After finding a site in Maldon, the experimentation began in 2014, and they were soon selling their product, and building up a strong, regular client base, including Mark Froydenlund at Marcus Wareing’s flagship restaurant in Knightsbridge, where their salmon has become a part of the eatery’s month-long Taste of Christmas menu.

Darcy and Sean produce several different smoked salmon products – Maldon Cure, Maldon Deep and Juniper Smoked – which is more Scandivanian in style. And as well as seeing the product on menus at hotels such as the Four Seasons, customers locally can buy the salmon at Blackwells Farm Shop near Coggeshall, Calcott Hall and Lathgates.

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Using Scottish salmon as a base, Darcy says: “We use a blend of different woods and different smokes. For example, with the juniper we use a combination of alder, beech and juniper, and for the other core products its beech and oak. There’s a degree of mystery about how we dry cure our salmon but I can tell you when we smoke it we tend the fires, and manage each and every batch. We nurture the smoking process from start to finish.”

If you’re looking for a new best friend at the breakfast table for a luxurious start to any weekend, the duo recommend a few slices of their Maldon Cure salmon as served in the mornings at swanky London hotels.

But the Maldon Deep is the most popular in the range, going through a longer smoking period than Maldon Cure. “It’s got a very strong, moreish flavour. I think it’s very distinct. It’s not like other types of smoked salmon. Some can be wet or a bit bland and they betray the process that’s gone into them. We use a longer process for a more robust flavour.”

How should we be serving this award-winning gourmet product? Darcy says keep it simple. “You don’t want to do too much to it. I always think a bit of red onion or some cornichons sliced thinly on the side go nicely with it. Or a bit of crème fraiche and some dill or horseradish blended in. But the flavour speaks for itself. It’s gone through a long process to produce a very distinct taste so we want our customers to enjoy that as much as they can.

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