Ark of taste
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Bakskuld is a salted, dried and smoked fish preparation produced on the west coast of Denmark. There are two theories on the origin of the product’s name. One is that it comes from bakschuld, from Friesland (northern Germany and the Netherlands) where the word for flatfish is Scholle (German) or bakschol (Dutch). Another theory comes from the Danish word bakke (referring to a tray on which fishing lines were kept) and skulder, the dialect name for a species of flounder.   Plaice and related flounder species are used for this preparation, which has been documented since the 18th century. On the island of Fanø, it has been a common food for centuries and part of the daily diet. Bakskuld is even mentioned in the song Imellem Esbjerg og Fanø (“Between Esbjerg and Fanø”). In the 19th century, production shifted to Esbjerg, on the western coast of Jylland (Denmark’s main peninsula) and today is no longer produced on Fanø. Currently in Esbjerg and nearby areas of Jylland there are fewer than ten active producers selling bakskuld through fishmongers and specialty shops.   Bakskuld is usually prepared without the head and intestines, but with the fins and tail. The smoking process gives a slightly greasy surface to the outside of the fish. The smoky taste is mild and the fish has an overall complex, savory flavor. The flesh is firm, particularly compared to similar preparations of other fish species. It can be served as the main feature of a dish, or as an ingredient in a more complicated recipe. It is often fried, or wrapped in paper and cooked over an open fire.   Bakskuld risks being lost due to the small number of producers who still know how to prepare this local specialty. It is mainly eaten by older generations, but recently younger generations are starting to appreciate this traditional product. However, unless this “re-discovery” of bakskuld translates into younger producers, this product’s future is uncertain.

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Fish, sea food and fish products

Nominated by:Hardy Jensen, Slow Food Convivium Aalborg