Blue Ocean Seafood currently provides three recognised “Regional Products”: Flemish smoked halibut, white- and sweet herring. The smoked halibut earned its recognition in 2015 and the white- & sweet herring followed shortly after in 2016.
To get recognised as "official regional product" you have to meet extremely strict criteria:
- Prepared with regional raw materials
- Considered a regional product by the people that live in the area and the surrounding areas
- Prepared in a traditional way according to the old-time recipes
- Prepared in the region of origin
- Having historical recognition as regional product for a period of at least 25 years
Flemish smoked halibut
As a result of Flemish fishermen mainly fishing for cod on the Icelandic waters, the black or Greenlandic halibut was introduced on the Flemish market in the 70s. The big flat fishes were used as a cheap alternative to turbot or to smoke. It was generally served as an alternative to smoked salmon. Smoking halibut unfortunately didn't get widespread recognition, mainly the North-French, Flemish and Danish market commonly use this product. At first this was a cheap product intended for the common man in the street. Local bar owners used to serve this as a snack with a nice cold beer. Nowadays halibut has become a delicacy, a real contradiction in comparison to how it was used many years ago.
Flemish white & sweet herring
Herring has been an important North Sea fish for many years, especially for the everyday consumer. Due of the copious amounts there was need to preserve the fish and stretch its durability. This was done by pickling and smoking.
All over Northern Europe and the United Kingdom, herring is being smoked. Every country with its own specialities and traditions. In Flanders the smoking of herring was less common, but even though Blue Ocean Seafood has been smoking herring since 1885. Nowadays Blue Ocean Seafood is one of the only ones left. Apart from the renowned brown herring, we specialise in white and sweet herring. To achieve the perfect herring, it is essential to use a “full” herring, this means a pubescent herring that is caught in October or November. These herrings are not gutted, but completely frozen straight after capture. Once the fish arrive on the mainland, they are defrosted, pickled and dried. This results in a white herring, if preferred the smoking process continues resulting in sweet herring.