Ever smoked salmon, caviar, veal and foie gras – what’s the story?

There was a time not long ago when to enjoy some of the greatest pleasures of the table meant putting aside good advice about diet and about the ethics of food production. That is if you thought about your food at all before tucking into the amazing range of superbly fresh and well-prepared food available to Londoners and visitors to the city alike, both at home and when dining out.

Not so anymore. Where farmed salmon were once full of half poisonous feedstuffs, now organic farmed salmon enjoys a wholesome diet. Conventionally reared farmed salmon to have a habit of escaping from their cages and mating with their wild cousins, so degrading the quality of the wild fish. Organic farmed salmon do so less. They are stocked at much lower densities per cubic meter of sea-water and so have the more athletic body of their wild cousins – unlike the fat and fatty meat of ordinary farmed salmon.

Caviar was for a long time a no-no as sturgeon stocks in the Caspian depleted from overfishing. Now, clever fish farmers in France, Italy and elsewhere are producing very acceptable farmed caviar in all our favorite varieties – Beluga, Oscietra and Sevruga. At the same time, caviar marketing has taken a leap forward with a wider range available.

For years, veal, the tender pale meat of young bull calves, was the unacceptable face of meat eating and has been avoided by thinking diners. No longer. Now, we are shocked at the waste in simply slaughtering and disposing of this delicious source of gourmet food. If you have enjoyed rose veal – a pinker shade of meat than the old fashioned white veal bred from crated – in restaurants in Holland and Belgium, then you’ll be able to enjoy the experience now in London’s restaurants, clubs, and hotels.

Most contentious of all for some animal lovers has been meltingly delicious foie gras – the fattened lovers of goose and duck. Now, using a combination of the goose’s own instincts that prompt it to fatten up before its annual migration, and a diet rich in fats, a breakthrough foie gras natural has emerged on the London market. More details and a tasting report will follow soon.