Picture and article from The Daily Local News
|Smoke on the water
|Food artisan gets national award
|By MARY BIGHAM
When does something so smoky taste so sweet? When it’s the taste of victory for Sugartown Smoked Specialties’ award-winning natural-smoked Tasmanian trout.
California’s Gallo Family Vineyard is sponsoring its third annual Gallo Gold Awards, which recognize excellence across a variety of food categories and honor the highest caliber of artisanal food producers.
Artisinal foods are high-quality foods produced in a non-industrial, traditional and typically small-scale manner. These are foods crafted without mainstream industrial food production. The food world can credit these craftsmen to tasty favorites like farmstead cheeses, handmade jams and marmalades sold at specialty shops, farmers’ markets, natural food stores, co-ops and by catalog. It’s tough work, a passion, a way of life for the producers.
This year, Scott Hattersly of Sugartown Smoked Specialties Inc. in West Goshen is a Gallo Gold Medal Award recipient in the Outstanding Fish/Seafood category with his natural-smoked Tasmanian trout.
“We are very excited about this award because it will add to the expanding culinary horizons of the greater West Chester area,” Hattersly said.
Hattersly went to school for economics and financial management but has always been a cook, a fisherman and a hunter, so it was only natural for him to combine his passions and start a hobby of smoking fish and meats. This led to the 1992 opening of Sugartown Smoked Specialties.
As these things sometimes go, his search to perfect his smoking techniques to a circuitous route: He called on an expert in the West Indies who gave him the number of someone in Chicago who gave him the name of his current “smoking mentor” who happened to be a mile and a half away from his home.
After spending a year researching in Historic Sugartown, the preserved 19th-century village in Willistown, and meeting with his mentor, he fine-tuned his smoking process. “Originally smoking was used to preserve food before refrigeration. There are two ways or preparing the product for smoking. I’ll either cure the meat with a dry rub or use a brine, which is a mixture of water, salt and sugar. Both preparations help to remove moisture from the product which helps to retard the bacteria, keeping it shelf-stable.”
With his perfectly seasoned products, Hattersly soon made the jump to “the Mercedes-Benz of Smoking Machines” that he imported from Germany so he could produce larger amounts of his products to keep up with demand.
Hattersly has created an inventory of more than 15 preservative-free, USDA, FDA and PDAG items seasoned and smoked with secret house-made recipes at Sugartown Smoked Specialties.
This year, he entered his products into the following three Gold Medal Categories: Outstanding Meat and Charcuterie with his natural wood-smoked boneless duck breast; Outstanding Fruit or Vegetable with last year’s runner-up hickory-smoked portabellas; and Outstanding Fish and Seafood with his winning entry, smoked boneless Tasmanian trout.
“We had everyone in the office taste each product to see what we wanted to submit for the awards. It was a unanimous vote to send the Tasmanian trout. It’s different, unique and not a lot of people have heard about it. That’s what we’re all about and I’m glad the judges agree.”
Award winners receive $5,000 toward product development as well as bragging rights and an invitation to the New York City awards ceremony luncheon. The awards luncheon will feature dishes comprised of finely crafted ingredients, such as fruit nut crostini, sour cherry lambic sorbet, glooma goat milk cheese, sourwood honeycomb, duck proscuitto and, of course, smoked Tasmanian trout.
“When I first started I used to throw a lot of things away, trying to get just the right taste. It’s been a while since I’ve had to throw anything away so I think that’s definitely a good step in the right direction.”
More information about Sugartown Smoked Specialties is available at www.shop.smokedfoods.net.
Natural Smoked Tasmanian Trout Dip
— Ketmala’s Kreations Personal Chef Service
½ pound Sugartown’s Natural Smoked Tasmanian Trout, crumbled
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Fresh cracked black pepper
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco
½ tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Mix well and chill. Serve on pumpernickel toast points, garnish with lemon capers.