Craster kipper


Craster kipper
A plate of smoked kippers.JPG
Craster kippers served with buns
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Region or stateCraster
  • Cookbook: Craster kipper

Craster kippers are kippers from the Northumberland village of Craster. They have been acclaimed as the best British kipper.[citation needed]


Like the Newmarket sausage or the Stornoway black pudding, the Craster kipper (sometimes called by aficionados simply "the Craster"[1] ) 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,[2] 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.[3] There is, however, some dispute over this – other places, including the nearby town of Seahouses, also claim this distinction.

Preparation and characteristics

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.[4]

The preparation process begins with selected raw North Sea herring, known locally as "silver darlings".[5] These are split, gutted and washed,[6] soaked in brine, and then taken to the smokehouse where they are cured over smouldering oak and white wood shavings for sixteen hours.[7] The famous smokehouse is unmistakable — a stone building often with white plumes pouring out of the wooden vents in the roof.[8]

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.[1] The flesh has a distinctive reddish-brown colour.[9]

Gastronomic properties

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",[1] 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."[10]

Craster kippers have been described as "the best",[citation needed] although that claim has also been made of other British kippers such as Loch Fyne kippers.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Waitrose Food Illustrated. John Brown Contract Publishing. January 2001. Retrieved 6 December 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Winpenny, David (1997). Northumbria Papers (Great Britain Guides). McGraw-Hill. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8442-4882-0. Craster oak-smoked kippers are famous, but the fresh fish is brought in from elsewhere
  3. ^ Dickson Wright, Clarissa (2012). Clarissa's England: A gamely gallop through the English counties. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1-444-72909-2. If you go up the coast further you will come to Craster, the birthplace of the kipper CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Paul Gogarty (28 April 2008). The Coast Road: A 3,000 Mile Journey Round the Edge of England. Anova Books. pp. 194–. ISBN 978-1-905798-09-4. Retrieved 6 December 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Country Life. Country Life, Limited. May 2002. Retrieved 6 December 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Bill Griffiths (2006). Stotty 'n' Spice Cake: The Story of North East Cooking. Northumbria University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-904794-13-4. Retrieved 6 December 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Gemma Hall (18 September 2012). Bradt Slow Northumberland & Durham: Including Newcastle, Hadrian's Wall and the Coast. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-84162-433-4. Retrieved 6 December 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Hall, p. 78
  9. ^ Andrew McCloy; Stephen Whitehorne (30 January 2009). Coastal Walks Around Britain. New Holland Publishers. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-84773-127-2. Retrieved 6 December 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ The Connoisseur. 214 (863–868). 1984. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Lesley Anne Rose; Michael Macaroon; Vivienne Crow (28 November 2011). Frommer's Scotland. John Wiley & Sons. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-119-97259-4. Retrieved 6 December 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links

  • The commercial web site of L. Robson & Sons Ltd (Craster kipper producers)