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Smoked salmon is fit for any cause..

A quirk of fate, and an email and Ummera finds itself jointly sponsoring the Smoked Salmon at tonight’s Parliamentary Palace of Varieties at the Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane, London in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Parliamentary Palace of Varieties has become a must in the Westminster calendar. It is a fun, entertaining evening when members of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons generously give their time to share their amazing, and frequently unexpected talents.

In previous years audiences have been entertained by Cabinet Ministers who tap dance, a folk singing Foreign Secretary, classically trained MPs, a jazz playing Peer and a Parliamentary Rock Band – which includes MP @IanCawsey, as well as listening to poems and laughing at monologues and sketches performed by mixed party politicians from the newest MPs to the Lord Chancellor.

Ummera is jointly sponsoring the smoked salmon with Uig Lodge Smokehouse on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland.

Students of Irish and Hebridean history are well aware of the synergies between the two regions, but here the synergy exists between the two smokehouses as they were both founded by my father, Keith.

From Cork in Ireland, Keith Creswell crossed the sea to advise son-in-law Malcolm. Under Keith’s instruction, the Uig Smokery was established. They smoked on both the shores of Cork & The Isle of Lewis. Two houses joined over a single question: “Which salmon smokes best: Irish or Scottish?”

On a wild Atlantic edge, Guardian of the Uig Smoke, Kenny MacKay tasted his way through endless concoctions. He found the recipe for a dry cure that’s best for Scottish salmon. He’s always seeking to perfect his recipe…

Back in Cork, where the River Argideen turns tidal to the sea, the Creswell branch steeped salmon in a brine of Portugese sea salt from Tavira. They mixed in a little raw Costa Rican organic cane sugar – until the fish was right. Dried in Cork air, smoked for hours over sawdust of oak…

Today, both smokeries are led by Anthony (in Cork) & Dickon (on Lewis), sons of their founders. An older generation’s experience (inspiration?) has smoked its way through to the fish.

The families may be in competition to provide the most subtle & tasty fish.

Both addicted, both obsessively focussed on the beauty of top class smoked salmon – produced with love.