The Arbroath Smokie originally came from the small fishing village of Auchmithie, 3 miles North-East of Arbroath. Local legend has it that a store caught fire one night, destroying barrels of haddock preserved in salt. The following morning, the people of Auchmithie came to clean up the ruin and found some of the barrels had caught fire, cooking the haddock inside. Further inspections revealed the haddock was edible and quite tasty.
In reality, it’s much more likely that the villagers at Auchmithie are of Scandinavian descent as the ‘Smokie making’ process is similar to methods of smoking which are still carried out today in areas of Scandinavia.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the fishing industry in Arbroath was in terminal decline, this prompted Arbroath Town Council to offer the fisherfolk from Auchmithie land in an area of the town known as the fit o’ the toon, they also offered the fisherfolk use of the modern harbour, this together with the better prospects on offer in Arbroath saw much of the Auchmithie population relocate to Arbroath, bringing the recipe for the Arbroath Smokie with them. Today, there are around 15 businesses producing Arbroath Smokies in the town, making them widely available through major supermarkets in the UK, and worldwide via the internet.
In 2004 the European Commission registered the designation “Arbroath Smokies” as a Protected Geographical Indication under the EU’s Protected Food Name Scheme, acknowledging its unique status.