Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cowra Smokehouse


Just on the Great Western Highway as you come into Cowra, an old converted train warehouse houses one of Cowra's biggest successful small business. (I know the last sentence sounds a bit of an oxymoron) This is none other than the Cowra Smokehouse. It opened ,mid 2004 if I remember correctly, and started out mostly as a trout farm as well as selling mostly smoked trout and smoked trout pate made on the premises.

We, the city folk craving new experiences checked it out soon after it opened. We tried catching our own fish with handlines from the "adult" tank. No its not the tank for fetishes ... its the tank where trout grown to a certain size are placed so people know they are mature and a good size for eating. It was $6 a fish if you were successful and they helped you clean and gut it too!

As you can see the tank is still here today but they don't do the catching thing anymore as they are pretty busy promoting their goods all over NSW. When we went before, we got a tour of the place and Tim, the owner explained how smoking worked, what kind of bark they used etc. I caught a glimpse of him on Sunday but he just waved as he was unloading goods off a truck as he had just been to markets in Wagga Wagga. They also travel once a month to Sydney's Pyrmont markets and got a brief mention in Grab Your fork one of the better and more popular food blogs in Sydney.

What was here today was a tasting platter and I see that they had actually increased their range and included sundried tomato, smoked salmon and mushroom pates to their flagship smoked trout pate(AUD $4.50 each). They had also added their own line of sheep fetta, separate to the COWRA label, produced by a local farm. The fetta was absolutely delicious!! I tasted the basil and garlic flavour that was there and immediately bought a jar.(AUD$9.50) There was also olive and plain available. The tubs on the left contain the 'large' size of their sundried tomatoes. These were also dangerously addictive as they are marinated in spices such as garlic, and cracked black pepper.


The place is nothing much to look at and most of their wares are held in this refrigerator. The fish are on the left....

And the right side contains the other goodies such as the cheese, the pates and on the lower shelves you can find the smaller packet of sundried tomatoes ($5) smoked chicken ($8.50 for the maryland), available in plain, spanish or morrocon spices. Also, smoked duck ($8.50) for a piece about the size of the average palm.

I noticed that prices had risen a bit since the last time I was here. (The chicken used to be $6.50.) Hence, the pleasure of the food was not as high as the last time. Its funny how if you find a good eat that you consider cheap or reasonable, you enjoy it so much more than if it was expensive because you expected it to be good anyway?

I am glad though that Tim managed to start small and think big and has risen to the challenge of the growing demand for fresh, unusual gourmet foods. I am sure that the high demand for this produce at markets everywhere are a testimony to that. If you ever chance upon it, it is defintely worth a try as all the flavours are unique, tasty and fresh.

7 Comments:

At 3:20 AM, Blogger milgwimper said...

Rachel,

Thanks for the review. Hmmm my mouth is watering at the thought of smoked trout. I have never had smoked trout. Here it is always salmon. The sundried tomato sounds really good.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger RON said...

really an astute move on the part of the proprietors to set up shop in the empty train warehouse. I bet it's probably quite spacious insides as well. To begin with, nobody likes to see an abandoned property lying around their neighborhoods. It's likely that they got a reasonable rent in the deal. And too, curiosity alone might bring in a few customers. Rachel, that "show original post" option on your comment page really comes in handy.

 
At 12:23 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

Hi milly! Thanks for stopping by. Your finals should be over soon huh? Smoked trout is very tasty. Hope you can get some over there. Its also one of the fish used in gravlax. Sorry been busy so no new posts recently. Hope to see some activity on your blog soon :)

Hi ron thats an interesting observation on the train warehouse. Yes it was quite big on the inside, I guess thats why its easy to place smoking machines and be able to mass produce smoked fish and meats.

 
At 3:10 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hi Rachel - I don't think I would have ever left the tasting table......

 
At 12:34 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

LOL kirk!! Sometimes in singapore I can wander around supremarkets just getting food from the ladies cooking it for tastings. They don't seem to do that in Aust though :P

 
At 3:38 PM, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Great "virtual tourist" post on Cowra Smokehouse. Their dips are very tasty! And aww shucks, thanks for the plug too =)

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Hehe Helen tis true though! You should try and make a weekend retreat ofthe country sometime. And if you do, pop round this way and give me a holler !

 

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