5th July 2016
Our Pop-up restaurant opening is fast approaching (the first evening is 22nd July) so now is just the right time to showcase another one of our talented local suppliers. Chalk Stream Foods are providing the trout, sure to be the star ingredient in the Amuse course on the Sky Dining evenings. We sat down with Arthur Voelcker to find out more…
How did Chalk Stream foods begin?
Hugo Hardman used to sell coffee and when he sold his business, Darlingtons, looked to promote something from Hampshire, which has always been his home. Whilst asking questions and talking to people he came across a friend who has been farming trout in Hampshire since the mid 70s. Having always loved trout, the idea to get this quintessentially British fish that has sadly been forgotten about back to menus was born and Chalk Stream Foods started in October 2014. Our mission was always to supply the freshest fish and when we are taking orders from our customers, the fish are still swimming! We do sides of hot and cold smoked chalks stream trout as well.
Can you tell us about the way you rear your trout?
Our trout are raised next to the world famous Chalk Stream, the river Test. The water from the Test is rated Class A, the highest quality grade possible and this gin clear water is continuously flowing through the farms (roughly 36 million gallons a day!) providing the perfect habitat for our fish to live and grow. As a result of this water, they are continuously swimming and very lean with a pure and clean taste. We also take great care with returning the water back to the river in the same Class A and have settling channels that allow us to do this. We are also a net producer of fish so every one kilo of fish feed gives us in excess of one kilo of edible trout.
What’s the perfect accompaniment to a fillet of rainbow trout?
We love it served simply, fried with a light seasoning with some Hampshire watercress and new potatoes – delicious!
What’s in store for the future of Chalk Stream?
We are continuing to dispel the myths about trout being muddy and a lesser fish to Salmon, converting chefs and eaters alike to back the trout once again. We are lucky that with the amazing farming practices and husbandry paired with the beautiful water, we don’t have this muddy taste and it’s brilliant to see peoples’ views completely change. Our fish are also much bigger at around 2.5 kilos, so you can be really creative with their fillets – from sushi to curing, we are seeing it all. Apart from championing the trout we will are also starting to supply Hampshire watercress, crayfish and water buffalo along with a range of smoked products…
To find out more about Chalk Stream foods, visit their website at www.chalkstreamfoods.co.uk.