It was more than twenty years ago that I first tasted “uncooked” meat on a hill top in the South Tyrol, Austria. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to try it but everyone else seemed to be tucking in so …in it went. Soft, spicy, strong and most definitely morish! It was simply served on a piece of wood with lots of mountain cheese, and flatbread. They cured the meat in an old shepherds hut, not something they can get away with today with all the regulations, and wine but it was a memorable meal nun the less.
The word for Charcuterie is translated to “pork butcher”. This has led to a mistaken belief that charcuterie can only involve pork. It actually refers to products particularly, not limited to, pork specialities such as pâte. These products are usually found in the deli areas of shops or delicatessen-style shops called a charcuterie!
The history behind this way of preparing meat goes back to the first century AD. Intended as a way to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration. Today it is prepared for the flavours derived from the preservation processes.
This meat is now produced almost everywhere, even here in the UK – I know, I was surprised too. Here at Farmer’s Choice we have a fantastic range of this style of prepared meat.
Our Pork comes from Scott Free Range Farm in West Sussex. The pigs are born and reared outdoors and are Free Range Quality Assured pigs that enjoy the fresh air, freedom and a natural, additive free diet throughout their lives. Richard, our farmer, has carefully developed a style of husbandry that means the pigs live a healthy, unstressful life. The pigs are free to roam and can get onto to do what they do best – eat, sleep and dig!
The Beef products come from the MACDUFF, a family of Scottish farms who have joined together to set themselves a uniquely high standard of beef production. The cattle are reared naturally and fed only on grass and grass-based products. This natural diet ensure the full, rich flavour of beef as it used to taste before the introduction of intensive farming techniques. MACDUFF beef gains further richness and succulence from being matured the traditional way, on the bone.
Our pork and beef is delivered to The Dorset Charcuterie Company in Lytchett Minster in Dorset. The Dorset Charcuterie Company was started in 2010, with the help from the Princes Trust, they have firmly cemented themselves as producers of fine, local, seasonal and ethically sourced British charcuterie.
They season, cure, dry, smoke and mature all the products from start to finish, coupling age old traditional methods with state of the art modern techniques in their purpose built on farm charcuterie.
The Dorset Charcuterie aren’t the only producers of fine British air-dried meats but are amongst a growing number of artisan curers and smokers that are, together helping put Britain firmly on the Charcuterie map. Not in the past noted for our Charcuterie, we do in Britain produce some of the finest meat in the world to the highest of welfare standards and so there is no reason why we shouldn’t also produce unique world beating Charcuterie.
At Farmer’s Choice we have a selection of Charcuterie meats. All of our British air-dried charcuterie is made with prime cuts of free range meat and preserved in a number of ways, including salting, smoking, drying and cooking, with extra care taken to ensure that our charcuterie products have the correct level of maturity, texture and flavour.
How about something special for the festive season, our Free Range Reserve Whole Ham…a fantastic centrepiece.
Our range of seasoned olives, including garlic stuffed olives, paprika chilli olives and sweet basil olives are prepared using a savoury blend of spices and herbs and are a perfect accompaniment our free range charcuterie meat. So supplement the cheeseboard at your next dinner party with some of our selection of tasty olives and local smoked and air-dried meat products such as free range pork chorizo, Dorset coppa, salami and Dorset air-dried ham.
In the fridge in a tupperware type container or wrapped in paper or muslin. Slices are best eaten straight away as they tend to dry out quite quickly – not that there will be much left once you open and start snacking! Our meats are vacuum packed to keep them fresh 30 days when kept refrigerated.