|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Region or state||Craster|
Like the Newmarket sausage or the Stornoway black pudding, the Craster kipper (sometimes called by aficionados simply "the Craster" ) is a British food named after, and strongly associated with, its place of origin. Although the herrings used for Craster kippers may not be strictly local, the defining characteristic of the Craster kipper is that the smoking process takes place in a smokehouse located in or around the village of Craster.
Clarissa Dickson Wright has named Craster as the birthplace of the kipper. There is, however, some dispute over this – other places, including the nearby town of Seahouses, also claim this distinction.
Although a long-standing tradition in Craster, commercial kipper production is currently only continued there by L. Robson & Sons, using their 100-year-old smokehouses.
The preparation process begins with selected raw North Sea herring, known locally as "silver darlings". These are split, gutted and washed, soaked in brine, and then taken to the smokehouse where they are cured over smouldering oak and white wood shavings for sixteen hours. The famous smokehouse is unmistakable — a stone building often with white plumes pouring out of the wooden vents in the roof.
In appearance a Craster kipper is still recognizably a fish; the head is preserved and the natural colours of the skin are tanned golden by the oak smoke. The flesh has a distinctive reddish-brown colour.
It has been said that comparing the Craster kipper with a common commercial processed kipper is like "comparing a fillet steak with a cheap burger", and that "on the tongue, the [Craster] kipper is as delicate, as sophisticated, as the finest smoked salmon in the world and costs but a fraction of the price."
Craster oak-smoked kippers are famous, but the fresh fish is brought in from elsewhere
If you go up the coast further you will come to Craster, the birthplace of the kipper