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Food

Taste test: British Charcuterie

7 April 2011

12:00 AM

7 April 2011

12:00 AM

Overall, we were a little disappointed at the quality of British offerings, but perhaps it’s not surprising given the newness of our charcuterie traditions. And, in the sparkling setting of Harrods’ new wine rooms, we did unearth a few treats

Panel:

Tilly Culme-Seymour, Deputy Editor, Spectator Scoff (tcs)

Dan Jellinek, Co-Editor, Spectator Scoff (dj)

Bruce Langlands, Director, Harrods Food Halls (bl)

Sudi Pigott, Food writer (sp)

CLASSIC CUTS

Deli Farm Charcuterie: Cornish coppa (£5.30/100g, www.delifarmcharcuterie.co.uk)

This was an odd combination of ‘perfumed, but salty’ (sp). ‘Chewy — doesn’t really melt in the mouth, taste lingers’ (bl). ‘Slightly pepperami texture, quite earthy’ (tcs).

Trealy Farm Charcuterie: lomo (www.trealy.co.uk)

‘Very oily, you can feel it on your hands’ (bl). ‘Flat’ (dj), and ultimately damned with faint praise: ‘Some oakiness, not universally disappointing’ (tcs).

Trealy Farm Charcuterie: coppa (www.trealy.co.uk)

Beautiful marbling, ‘looks the nicest’ (dj). ‘I really like the texture, peppercorns are good introduction, then you get good balance of fat and meat. Delicious.’ (tcs). ‘Rather creamy, and pepper is subtle enough, adding a little bit of heat’ (bl). ‘Melts in the mouth’ (sp). FAVOURITE in this category – and OVERALL FAVOURITE.


Deli Farm Charcuterie: bresaola (£7.60/80g pack, www.delifarmcharcuterie.co.uk)

‘Saltier than their coppa, but flavour stands up to it more, maybe nice with a salty foccacia’ (tcs). But ‘too salty for me’ (bl), and hints of ‘shoe polish’ (sp) – not a good taste for charcuterie.

Dorset Charcuterie Company: bresaola (www.thepurbecklarder.co.uk)

‘Reminds me of those fruit strip sweets’ (tcs). ‘Peppercorns are the nicest thing about it’ (dj). Simply, ‘bizarre’ (bl).

GAME ON

Great Glen Game: Venison bresaola (£5.95/55g, www.greatglengame.co.uk)

‘Plastic, unpleasant, farmyardy’ (tcs). ‘So plastic, like eating a Barbie doll. Didn’t like the flavour’ (bl).

The Real Boar Company: Wild boar salami with sloe gin (seasonal, see www.therealboar.co.uk)

‘Strongly flavoured — you can really taste the gin’ (dj). ‘A lot of bite, though not sure if that’s a good thing’ (sp). ‘Nice taste, unusual, but not sure I’d be going back for more. Too peppery’ (bl – going back for more). One word — ‘Tang’ (tcs). FAVOURITE in this category.

The Real Boar Company: Wild boar salami with red wine (£7.50/100g www.therealboar.co.uk)

‘Powerfully peppery, but strength of flavour equal to it’ (dj), and ‘balanced’ (sp). ‘Can’t taste the wine’ (tcs). But also, ‘I would want to know what kind of red wine they use — I think they’re missing a trick there’ (bl).

Great Glen Game: venison salami (£4.75/100g www.greatglengame.co.uk)

Reference points were not complimentary. ‘Smells like spaghetti bolognese’ (tcs); ‘Like eating raw black pudding’ (bl).

UP IN SMOKE

Dorset Charcuterie Company: smoked Bath chaps (www.thepurbecklarder.co.uk)

‘Overwhelmingly fatty’ (tcs). ‘Has a delicate flavour, a little like lardo’ (dj). But clearly too delicate: ‘Doesn’t taste of anything, leaves a film on your fingers’ (sp).

Rannoch Smokery cold smoked beef
(£5.95/100g, Harrods/ www.taymouthcourtyard.co.uk)

‘Bland, smoky but a bit insipid. Too much hard work to chew’ (sp). ‘Tart, needs something to cut through its flavour, almost tart, needs a pickle or something’ (tcs). ‘Pale, and not very beefy’ (dj).

Artisan Smokehouse: smoked fillet beef (£6.00/100g www.artisansmokehouse.co.uk)

‘I like it, like the taste, melts in your mouth, heathery’ (sp). ‘Texture a bit rubbery, but I like the flavour, nice and mature’ (sp). But not to everyone’s taste — ‘I just get a mouthful of smoke’ (bl).

Rannoch Smokery cold smoked venison (£5.95/100g, Harrods/ www.taymouthcourtyard.co.uk)

‘Lovely sweetness to the smokiness, very fresh tasting’ (dj). ‘Rather off-putting raw meat appearance, but very good’ (tcs). ‘Silky texture, and fruity, cherry flavour’ (sp). FAVOURITE in this category.

SPICEY SPECIALS

The Dorset Charcuterie Company: Paprika coppa (www.thepurbecklarder.co.uk)
“I do like the paprika, but a bit waxey” (bl). “Flavouring more interesting and subtle” (dj). “Good marbling, this would be good on crusty bread” (tcs).

The Bath Pig Company: original chorizo (£3.25/130g, www.thebathpig.com)
Consistency not right (sp); “Too soft, but would cook with it” (tcs). “A little bit of kick to it, but not dry enough for me” (bl). “Tastes quite authentic, but good Spanish chorizo is a hard act to follow” (tcs).

The Bath Pig Company: Spicy chorizo (£3.25/130g, www.thebathpig.com)
“Really powerful, full on” (sp). “Firmer, I can imagine cooking with that” (bl), and in particular, “Would be good with fried eggs (tcs). “Also good for a pre-dinner nibble” (dj). FAVOURITE in this category.

Great Glen Game: Chilli venison chorizo (£3.85/75g www.greatglengame.co.uk)
“Good kick of chilli” (dj). But this just “masks the taste” (bl) – which unfortunately was a good thing. “No complexity of flavour, not a good finish” (tcs).


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