September 10, 2014

The British Salami Scene

For years the world questioned if Britain really had any discernible cuisine? Carbohydrate heavy, doused in gravy and somewhat stodgy, our dinner was berated by European cousins and seen as rather twee by those on the other side of the pond.

Thankfully things have changed – although equally reassuringly, the Yorkshire Pudding most certainly hasn’t – now restaurants and homes across the country serve up food finer than any fine art.

Brits have actually been rather clever: allowing other countries to devise menus and then we’ve sauntered along several decades later to snap up the best bits. In business it’s useful being the second mouse and eating the proverbial cheese, or should I say fromage?

Of course it’s impossible to have someone else’s cuisine without also utilising their products, a realisation soon discovered and exploited during the days of the empire. For years we enjoyed ‘exotic’ food, regardless of the fact we weren’t eating or cooking it correctly.

So food products become in-vogue and if we’re importing them, then why not make them ourselves?

Results from a poll by Olive Magazine in 2013 showed the food most people hadn’t heard of ten years ago but now couldn’t live without was… chorizo, topping the charts with a whopping 42%.

The British chorizo and salami scene has been quick to pick up on the new national obsession for spiced, cured, porky goodness and now artisan producers pepper the countryside. What’s more they’re producing some seriously good food, banish from your mind any thoughts of peperami, this is real talk.

Take the lovely folks from Curious Foods. Owner, creator and crafter Mat Leaver spent a childhood travelling to France indulging in European meats and in later life couldn’t help wonder why we weren’t doing the same in the UK.

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Like many others Mat sought to change the imbalance and has taken a concept and added to it. Curious Foods’ product list is a thing of almost Wonka-ish fantasy but it’s real, and to my taste buds totally works.

Quinoa, Beetroot and Caraway (seriously good IMHO), Cider and Tarragon and Fennel and Cumin all feature.

An eclectic list but one that fully subscribes to the principle of taking a donkey and transforming it into a racing thoroughbred with truly British finesse.

Et voilà! The British chorizo and salami scene has flourished in a similar, but slightly more meaty way, to the microbrewery boom. It’s a fantastic state of affairs and one for which we should be very grateful.

So thank you to the pigs, thank you to the producers and thank you to the French, Spanish and Italians for doing all the hard work for us! You can however, carry on fermenting the wine.

If you’re looking for some super salami from Yorkshire then I’d always recommend Three Little Pigs

Want to do spaghetti carbonara justice? Chris Wildman at Paganum Produce is your man – grab yourself some Guanciale!

Of course this blog wouldn’t be possible without Curious Foods, check out their products and tantalise your taste buds…

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