Marvellous Hampshire Artisanal Producers – Chalkstream Trout
With the world all turned upside down, we Brits are having to turn a little closer to home for our culinary fun. We have some fabulous artisanal food products made locally, here in Hampshire, and we have decided to showcase a few of our favourites by creating “Dine in the Vines” – a Celebration of Hampshire Produce. We have wonderful soft cheeses from Tunworth at Herriard in Hampshire, a camembert style cheese that is really full textured and winner of many awards. Our Hampshire charcuterie producer is Parsonage Farm Charcuterie, who have been making fabulous Hampshire Charcuterie for 20 years.
Our sparkling wine producer is, well us. Our wines have beaten most of the leading Champagne brand names in blind tastings including Veuve C, Taittinger, Moet and even Krug and Dom P, but our top wine (Hambledon Premiere Cuvée) last year beat the crème de la crème of Champagne’s grower producers in a blind tasting, with Jancis Robinson and other key wine tasting experts. So try some, you might be surprised. England really can make truly world class sparkling wine.
But today we want to focus on our smoked trout producer. Hugo Hardman (ChalkStream) lives in Hambledon and has known our vineyard owner, Ian Kellett, for over 25 years. They even ran the Marathon du Médoc together in 2005 and survived to play golf and boules afterward. There was once even a 5-a-side football injury, but we don’t talk about that…..
The chalk streams of Hampshire are world famous for their trout fishing. The fact that the main body of fly-fishing trout rivers and streams in Southern England is in Hampshire, is a key clue to our geology. It is Hampshire, not Kent or Sussex, that has the main body of chalk in Southern England. That chalk is fundamental to both Champagne and English sparkling wine geology (terroir). It is also crucial to the trout that Hugo produces.
ChalkStream was founded by Hugo in 2015. Hugo makes incredibly flavourful, succulent, hot and cold smoked trout, whole sides or sliced, that in our opinion are the beating of the vast majority Scottish smoked salmon any day the week.
The quality of the trout produced by ChalkStream is directly related to the quality of the water and the high flow rates of the farms. Similar to terroir in wine, it is the pure chalk stream water that gives their fish a unique clean taste. And much like wine, it's takes time to create perfection. Grown over two years in fast flowing chalk stream water, ChalkStream's trout are raised in conditions as close to the wild trout of the Test and Itchen as it is possible to create, to produce an exceptionally lean well defined trout low in fat.
But why Hampshire?
Hampshire contains the main body of the chalk in southern England. The Hampshire chalk streams, and the two main aquafers beneath them, represent the world’s largest chalk stream aquafers. The base of Upper Cretaceous chalk runs to a depth of 500 metres or more in Hampshire. The purity, quality and minerality of the water produced is a unique resource. It presents the most ideal environment for producing rainbow trout. The chalk also happens to be ‘pretty good’ for making some of the world’s finest sparkling wines.
So come on down to Hambledon, see our chalk, and taste the fine Chalkstream smoked trout paired with the Hambledon Classic Cuvée rosé – a wine and food pairing made in Hambledon (or heaven, you decide).
Click here to book now.
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