Dutch wholesaler Royal Schmidt Zeevis boasts a substantial presence at the Horeca Trade Fair Gastvrij Rotterdam, with a big stand that looks like a fish market, surrounded by a wall of ice with all kinds of fish frozen into it.
A big rainbow trout is the eye-catching centerpiece, and also the only salmonid in the wall and the fish display.
“In our display here, we focus on Northsea fish,” explains purchaser and communication manager Wil van Merkesteijn.
“Salmon is definitely one of our biggest products, our salmon turnover is very important to our company, but at a Horeca event like this we don’t want to get into price wars, we want to distinguish ourselves with quality. But we will let our guests taste our salmon!”
“There is salmon and salmon,” says Van Merkesteijn.
“There is fast-growing salmon farmed with too many fish per cubic meter of water, and there is salmon that has enough space to swim and develop strong muscles. That’s the kind of salmon we like and of course, there is a difference in price.”
He judges his product by the way it looks and feels.
“The best part is the upper part of the back, that’s where you look for the quality. But I can recognize the quality from looking at the shape of the tail.”
Schmidt Zeevis also sells wild salmon.
“We like wild salmon, but is it’s a minor product, compared to farmed salmon, of which we sell about 20 tons a week. Our wild salmon is mostly from Norway and Scotland. Alaskan salmon is not my favorite product. You can only get it for a short period each year. The rest of the year you can only buy it frozen, which in my opinion is not the best material for smoking, because that means you have to freeze it twice.”
For its smoking activities, Schmidt cooperates with Dutch smokehouse Van Wijnen.
“They smoke the old fashioned way, with dry salting before smoking.”
Ship shaped headquarters
Royal Schmidt Zeevis is one the oldest and best known fish companies in the Netherlands. For more than hundred years the company was situated in the centre of Rotterdam. In 2015 Schmidt build a new headquarters with a shop and restaurant at an industrial park outside the city centre. The ship shaped building is a landmark in Rotterdam, visible from the highway when entering the city. Schmidt Zeevis supplies cruise ships, hotels, restaurants and wholesalers.
Horeca trade fair Gastvrij Rotterdam takes place from 18-20 september. Last year 11.000 people visited the event, that also features the Dutch finals of the Bocuse d’Or gastronomy competition.