Skill & Expertise
Empirical, salting food preservation techniques date back to ancient Egypt. For centuries, fish has been salted and then dried with smoke to ensure optimal preservation, respect the fish flesh and unaltered taste.
Natural and used throughout the ages, this method is the only one that can provide authentic products without any additional chemicals. At Établissements JC David, it is the famous “Men of the White”, so-called in tribute to the colour of fresh fish flesh, who adhere to ancestral tradition and delicately salt these treasures from our seas.
VERTICAL & SLOW SMOKING
Once finely salted, the fish pass into the hands of the “Master-Smokers”. Deep in the bowels of the Établissements JC David premises, these fire and smoke experts work carefully. After combing oak logs and chips from the state-owned forests in the Boulogne-sur-Mer region, the “Master-Smokers” take the greatest care when lighting their fire and in keeping a steady, gently fire slowly burning. Upstairs, the fish are slipped behind huge red wooden doors. All that remains is for the smoke to gently swirl up through the coresses…
To ensure a subtle smoking process which preserves the texture of the fish flesh, the “Masters-Smokers” take care to keep the traditional ovens at a temperature below 25 °. From this point on in the process, our workers leave time and magic to do their work.
Depending on the fish varieties, smoking takes a minimum of 16 hours. Établissements JC David are the only producers to guarantee coresse-based smoking for 100% of its cold smoked fish, thus ensuring that the preserved smoked flesh is as tender as the flesh before the smoking process, and guaranteeing our unequalled quality that is sought after by experts.
A task that requires absolute control of every detail. The capricious external atmospheric conditions are scrutinized in fine detail throughout the duration of the process to ensure smoking that is of surgical precision.
Over time, the flesh of the fish impregnated with essence of the wood, a combination that creates a fragrance as rich as it is subtle.
Finely salted then smoked, our fish are ready to be meticulously prepared by the “filleters”. Each gesture is made to get the most out of the precious fillets of coastal herring.
At the top of each fillet, a small hole in the tender herring flesh is evidence that the traditional vertical smoking method has been used.
The skin is carefully removed to reveal the silvery hue of the fish, a sign of optimal smoking.
The packers then gently wrap the fillets up in their traditional packaging: the ballotin, before placing the ballotins in elegant wooden crates.