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Through the wonders of modern logistics, refrigeration and jet transport the top tables of all of the great cities of the Far East are within reach of the produce of Scotland's pristine sea lochs and rivers and the craft processing plants that add value.Exploitation of this opportunity, turbocharged by the internet and the burgeoning marketplace of ecommerce, has barely begun, but it is already showing signs of being a significant Scottish industrial breakthrough.
Around 42% of this is latter figure is from Scotland, a proportion with room for growth given that over 60% of all the fish and shellfish landed in the UK are landed in Scotland - and can be branded accordingly.A Japanese journalist had been and gone by the time this newspaper joined the tour, Hairnetted and white-coated, we are visiting Inverawe Smokehouse, a showpiece family business that has stuck determinedly to the old - almost rustic - methods of smoking salmon, is an example of the happy marriage of quality and craftsmanship.As Patrick Campbell-Preston, who now runs the royal-warranted business started in the 1970s by his parents explains, there are probably more profitable means of production, but the fetching and carrying of oak logs and the choice of smaller, more flavoursome fish and labour-intensive preparation and packaging.Along with the smokery shop, and Patrick's enthusiastic spiel, it all exudes "story" and "experience" as well as taste, and that, they agree is worth paying a premium price for.
Conversations over Cullen skink-and-venison dinner with Asian high-end food experts invited to Scotland last month revealed that the campaign to add succulent salmon, langoustines and scallops to the checklist of feelgood Scottish "cues" that mark out the country in the increasingly crowded and noisy global market place (see also whisky, kilts, golf) seems to be progressing well.
All of this explains why the Sunday Herald was been invited to join a chef tour and media group, touring the celebrated Inverawe Smokehouse in the company of a Chinese journalist, a Singaporean chef, the Chef de Partie at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the influential head of the Hong Kong restaurant association along with SDI's impressively expert and enthusiastic in-market and sector leaders who reinforce the impression of a national effort that knows what it's doing.