ffd charcuterie 2010 supplement

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Authoritative, committed and rarely afraid to express opinions, Fine Food Digest magazine has been the voice of speciality food and drink for a quarter of a century. Now incorporating Artisan, the magazine for speciality food producers, it is the single, most essential read for all buyers and sellers of fine food


  • Guide to British & CONtiNeNtAL

    ChArCuterieCooKED HAM Air-dried hAMs SALAMI sMOKed POuLtrY &


    Create a winning selection in your speciality food store

    Published in association with The Charcuterie Guild and its trade sponsors

    digestat the heart of speciality food and drink


  • 2At one time, the word charcuterie referred exclusively to pork butchery but nowadays its

    generally associated with all types of cured meat. Originally, curing was developed to preserve meat in the days before refrigeration. By raising acidity inside the meat through salting, drying and

    the addition of bacteria like lactobacilli, pigs fattened and killed in autumn could feed

    families through the winter.In Italy, Spain and France, the

    volume of charcuterie consumed is enormous. In the UK, our knowledge of this type of food was, until relatively recently, confined to cooked ham. While this remains our biggest and most loved charcuterie product, we are increasingly buying into the Italian concept that every good meal starts with a plate of cold meats, a glass of Prosecco

    and a conversation.

    Bob FarrandNational director, Guild of Fine

    Food & uK Cheese Guildw www.finefoodworld.co.uk

    3Guide to Charcuterie | FINE FOOD DIGEST

    For every 100 books written about cheese, there are just a handful on charcuterie and even fewer take the time to explain the traditions and delights of traditional British hams. Set up almost a decade ago, The Charcuterie Guild, run by the Guild of Fine Food, delivers a similar level of retail product knowledge training to that of our longer-running UK Cheese Guild.

    Knowledge is power, and for delis, food halls and farm shops it is the one certain way to provide a better shopping experience for customers. The Guild of Fine Foods charcuterie training courses are open to all and deliver an insight into

    retailing high quality British hams and Continental charcuterie.

    The one-day training seminars are held around the country and feature extensive tutored tastings, advice on stocking, storing and display. The accompanying distance learning manual acts as a lasting tool to help deliver the highest standard of product knowledge in your store.

    For information about upcoming dates please visit www.finefoodworld.co.uk

    CooKED HAM

    in the UK, many Continental countries and much of North America, cooked ham is the biggest selling cured meat. Recent estimates tell us that in 95% of British households where pork is eaten you will find a few slices of cooked ham lurking in the fridge.

    But the vast majority will be mass-produced and, to a large extent, lacking texture or flavour, which presents the average deli or farm shop with a golden opportunity to compete head-on with supermarkets.

    To do this, you need to understand the fundamental difference between traditionally cured and mass produced hams. And the first point is be wary of what most wholesalers tell you, because many of them dont understand the difference either.

    Most of todays wet cured hams are made from fast-matured cross-bred pigs and the pork is cured by directly injecting brine into the leg using a multi-needle injection process. As well as salt, the brine cure contains small amounts of sodium nitrate and nitrites, phosphates, sugar and quite often flavourings such as honey or mustard.

    Often, these hams are not whole legs but have been re-formed from separate pieces of muscle meat. Pork pieces are injected with brine and massaged or tumbled to draw sticky enzymes to the surface, which helps bind them together, then packed into a conveniently shaped moulds and cooked. The finished product takes almost no time to produce, can be any shape like the shape of a sandwich loaf and is dead easy to slice

    on a machine. Often it is also bulked out with added water.

    By contrast, your ham should be one of your signature products. If 95% of pork-eating households buy ham each week it can be a great footfall driver and provides you with a story few if any supermarkets can match. Apart from a handful of farm shops that cure their own pork legs, most independent retailers either buy in cured legs (gammon) and cook them to their own recipe or buy in ready-cooked hams. Whatever you do, the same questions need to be asked of your supplier.

    Your customers want provenance, so make sure you know the breed of pig (which should not be fast-growing crosses, but traditional slow-maturing breeds, outdoor reared and naturally fed), how long it lived and how far it travelled to slaughter. And you dont want boar meat, which has too much off-taint: the best ham is made from sows meat.

    Most high quality hams are either dry-cured or Wiltshire-cured (the latter is milder and a little less salty) and neither process can be hurried. For a leg to cure properly in a Wiltshire brine bath youre looking at two to three weeks. Dry curing demands up to six weeks, during which time salt is massaged into the leg every other day. Both types of ham need a period of conditioning to relax the meat and allow the ham to properly mature a lengthy process few supermarkets entertain.

    Fearful of food legislation, most mass-market producers blast-chill their hams immediately after cooking. This

    BUYERS CHECKLISt Ask your ham supplier the following key questions: Breed of pig - look for

    traditional breeds, not fast growing hybrids

    Gender look for gilts (uncovered females), not boars

    Location - free range outdoor, not indoor-reared

    Feed - natural fodder, controlled diet

    Age at slaughter needs to be 26 weeks-plus for better texture and flavour

    Distance travelled to slaughter - the shorter the better

    Length and type of cure Wiltshire or dry-cured, the longer the better, not multi-needle injection

    Conditioning the longer the better

    Method of cooling avoid blast-chilled ham

    FINE FOOD DIGEST | Guide to Charcuterie

    Published by: Great taste Publications and the Guild of Fine Food, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 9FE. tel: 01963 824464 w: www.finefoodworld.co.ukWritten by: Bob Farrand editor: Mick Whitworth design: Richard Charnley sales: Sally Coley, Becky StaceyPrinted by: Advent Colour, Hants

    Great taste Publications Ltd and the Guild of Fine Food Ltd 2010. Reproduction of whole or part of this magazine without the publishers prior permission is prohibited. the opinions expressed in articles and advertisements are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

    Introductory OfferWeve been hand making and delivering award winning, high quality cooked meats for over twenty years. As a wholesaler were also in the unique position of being able to give you direct prices for premium products no middle man, just great cooked meats straight from our kitchens to your business.

    These are just a few of the special prices were offering at the moment. If you visit our website you can find even more

    Dry Gammon Award winning, traditional cure 6.65p/kg Farmhouse Gammon Award winning, traditional cure 5.95p/kg Grange Gammon Low salt and lower fat ham 5.60p/kg 30 Second Bacon Multi-award winning cooked bacon 10.90p/kg Southover Cooked Streaky Affordable quality bacon 10.70p/kg Topside 100% Natural award winning beef 12.60p/kg Saltbeef One of our most popular products this year 9.60p/kg

    www.southoverfoods.com 01273 596830 good local food

    WELCoMEby Bob Farrand

    Traditional Suffolk Hams and Bacon since 1820www.ebacon.co.uk

  • 54 FINE FOOD DIGEST | Guide to Charcuterie

    prevents the meat relaxing as it would if cooled slowly and the flavours coated on the outside or under the skin cannot permeate through the meat. If you buy hams ready-cooked, ask how the producer treats them after cooking. Good ones never blast chill: they let the meat cool slowly to the point when it can be chilled normally, regularly checking temperature and pH level for safety. Properly cured hams (as opposed to fast cured mass-market hams) also have higher acidity levels, offering greater protection against harmful bacteria.

    If you decide to cook your own hams, your EHO will insist you keep records showing how each one was handled, but you too can largely avoid fast chilling by investing in probes to measure temperature and pH level in the centre of the joint. Keep monitoring the meat as it slowly cools to the point at which it becomes vulnerable to bacteria, at which stage you should chill it as soon as possible.

    CooKED HAM

    Stocking cooked hamsIdentifying the core ham for your store is worth spending time on. If you cook your own, it is important to gauge customer reaction by regularly offering tastings. Is it too salty, too dry or weak in flavour or texture? Do cutomers instantly tell you its special and make a point of asking for it?

    If the reaction is ambivalent, play around with your recipe until you get it right. Remember, customers who decide they do not like your ham rarely tell you they just buy it somewhere else.

    With ready prepared hams its easier to mix and match until you are comfortable with your core offer. But in any event, regularly stock guest hams, particularly if you make sandwiches or have a caf. A different, perhaps richer flavoured ham may help identify a sector of the market you are not currently satisfying.

    Carve out a nicheHand-carving a bone-in ham to order is part of the theatre of a good deli although some retailers claim customers are often unwilling to wait while its done. Whether you sell de-boned hams and slice them on a machine or choose to hand-carve, you need to make sure the quality is better than anything sold in local supermarkets. Regularly buy th