Copen­hagen’s won­der­ful gravlaks

Fish Farmer - - Brussels - Seafood Expo Global 2017 -

them­selves” ex­press

FRENCH chef Hugues Le Bourlay brought his Dan­ish gravlaks to Brus­sels in his brief­case and gave Fish Farmer and Wester Ross Fish­eries’ Bar­bara Gaborova an im­promptu tast­ing in the Scot­tish pav­il­ion.

‘Let the flavours ex­press them­selves,’ he said, as he ex­plained the prove­nance of his prod­uct, mar­keted un­der the brand Ogravlaks.

Made from ‘red la­bel’ (La­bel Rouge) Scot­tish salmon, and pro­duced in Paris to Le Bourlay’s own recipe, in­spired by Dan­ish tra­di­tion, the gravlaks are served in the Dan­ish and Swedish embassies, and to the House of Caviar.

They will also be fed to roy­alty when Den­mark’s Princess Alexan­dra vis­its the French cap­i­tal in June.


Le Bourlay, a chef for 25 years, had a Dan­ish grand­fa­ther and first went to Den­mark in search of his roots. He ended up liv­ing there for sev­eral years, learn­ing the lan­guage and teach­ing cook­ing.

He also dis­cov­ered the se­crets of good gravlaks, which evolved from the cur­ing pro­cesses of the Vik­ings, who wrapped fish in cloths with salt and sugar and buried them in the riverbed to ex­tend their shelf life.

‘They found ev­i­dence of buried salmon from around 950 to 1050 AD,’ said Le Bourlay. In Copen­hagen he sam­pled a gravlaks that was the best he had tasted and he de­cided to in­tro­duce the prod­uct to France. Over the past three years, he has per­fected his gravlaks, based on that Copen­hagen recipe, and ‘adapted it for in­dus­trial scale pro­duc­tion’. In Paris he im­ports 150 tonnes of salmon from Scot­land, of which about 20 per cent is pro­cessed into gravlaks. ‘It has got bet­ter and bet­ter,’ he said, but now he is look­ing for a tra­di­tional smoker in Scot­land, which is what brought him to the Scot­tish pav­il­ion.

Above: Hugues Le Bourlay

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