A new food and drink trail has launched with the aim of putting one of Angus’ most well-known delicacies on the map – Arbroath Smokies.
The Arbroath Smokie Trail, takes visitors from the Arbroath Signal Tower Museum along the coastline to Auchmithie.
Along the route, there are five locations that tell the story of the smokies, including the museum itself, which allows those participating to learn more about the local fishing industry and what makes a smokie a smokie.
Visitors then make their way along to Arbroath Harbour, where the surrounding fisheries produce the famous smokies.
Further along the route, visitors are able to taste is for themselves at the Fit o’ the Toon, before heading along to Arbroath Cliffs.
After this, the final stop is the small village of Auchmithie, around three miles north-east of Arbroath, which has supported a fishing industry long before the town was seen as the main fishing hub in Angus.
Creating the trail
It is thought to be here that the idea of smoking fish over barrels first started as Scandinavian settlers travelled across the North Sea, bringing the technique with them.
On the creation of the Smokie Trail, one of the organisers, Sophie Thomson from Appetite For Angus, said: “The tail is part of the work we do for Scotland Food and Drink where we said we would work on three food and drink trails to promote Angus as a food and drink destination of choice in Scotland.
“There was an older leaflet about the smokies so we have brought that up-to-date and made it a lot more engaging. We’ve taken the business listings out of the old one and will make those part of the digital side of the trail, on the website we’ll be launching soon.”
Free to attend, the trail has been put together by Appetite for Angus in partnership with Visit Angus, Angus Tourism Cooperative, ANGUSalive Webster Memorial Theatre and Venues, local hospitality businesses and a collective of local community groups, including Auchmithie HAAR and Fit O’ the Toon Community Association.
Arbroath Smokie ambassador Iain Spink, says an Arbroath Smokie has to be made from haddock and goes through a lengthy process before it is ready to be served.
He said: “It starts off as a haddock which has been gutted, at sea ideally, then we head them, we clean them, we salt them for several hours, tie them in pairs, wash the salt off, hang them on these special sticks and let them drip for a short while.
“Then we cook them over a hardwood log fire in the barrel. The barrel method I’m using is an original way to do it – it’s an exact recreation of the original process, thought to have started possibly by the vikings.
“Nobody knows truly when the Arbroath smokie started. My theory is it came across with the vikings and slowly evolved over the years into the Arbroath smokie we know today.
“Smokies are meant to be eaten within a relatively short space of time, rather than the old ones which are much heavier salted and much heavier smoked but they had no fridges in those days so had to find some way of preserving them.
“These ones are lightly salted, lightly smoked and eaten straight from the fire, which is the absolute best way to get them, or they can be kept for up to a week in your fridge.”
The trail is in its pilot phase of the project, with more destinations expected to be added to the route in coming months, with the full launch to occur next year as part of Visit Scotland’s Year of Storytelling.
The website will also launch in the near future, however, in the meantime, for more information visit Appetite for Angus Facebook page.