British Food Fortnight kicked off this week and if you haven’t already heard of the campaign, well the name sort of speaks for itself.
Pure and simple, the main aim is to celebrate and promote the benefits of buying and eating from our home-produced British larder. From the farmers who diligently plough fields and tend to their herds. To the small and individual artisan producers, who turn these ingredients into glorious, delicious food.
To say that this sort of thing is right up our street would be an understatement. Since the beginning, the main principle behind Cannon and Cannon has been to shout and sing about British charcuterie and to spread the word on the producers who take pride in sourcing their meat from quality, local, ethical and sustainable sources. From up and down the land.
There is that term though – British charcuterie – that still sometimes gets people’s knickers in a twist.
‘C’mon,’ they say. ‘Aren’t we simply borrowing techniques and methods from the continent though? We don’t have the same sense of provenance, do we? Or the history and tradition?’
To which we say ‘Non!’ (Or should that be ‘Nah, mate’?)
We produce some of the best meat in the world, we are a farming nation and there is absolutely no reason why we should be importing cured meats, when we can make even better salamis and sausages here.
In the words of Sean, our founder:
‘The revolution in British charcuterie over the last 10 years proves the very point that a coppa style ham from Cumbria now more than equals any Italian rival. An aged chorizo from Norfolk smashes anything that comes out of Navarre these days. And beer sticks! Who else is inventing the plethora of beer sticks to compliment the vast array of craft beers that are now available? We are!
Walk into a bar in say, Brittany, you know you can barely find a skinny saucisson behind the bar to wash down with a cold Kronenburg, right?
(At this point, we had to restrain Sean and ask him to calm down. He is a passionate chap.)
What does constitute in our mind then as a thoroughly British cured meat? One that is worth celebrating for British Food Fortnight? Well, they all do really. At least the ones that we supply.
But here is a small selection that we feel really hit the mark.
According to Paul, our General Manager, if you want to find a salami that has a definitive sense of ‘terroir’ it must be this one. Combining rare breed heritage pork with beef from ancient Cornish cattle is one thing. But flavouring with seaweed gathered off the coast of St. Ives and locally produced North Coast Cider is another. This is a proper Cornish sausage.
For Tim, Head of Sales, it has to be the luxurious forcemeat produced by Isabelle and Richard, who own the award-winning Highland Charcuterie and are masters of their art in both soft and hard charcuterie. For him, highly sustainable venison meat mixed with local foraged ingredients and a dash of peaty whisky is a dream. In other words, it is rural Scotland in a jar.
OK, the chaps from Kent do add a sprinkle of Malawian chilli to their beer sticks. But listen to Dan, our social media man, wax lyrical about the amount of London beers that you can pair with them, you’ll soon understand why that tickle is important. ‘Ever since eating some alongside a pint of Fourpure Juicebox, it was so good, I don’t think I’ll ever, ever…ever reach for the pork scratchings again.’
We also asked him how many pints it took to reach this conclusion, but he declined to answer.
So, there you have it. A short list of cured meats that are more than worthy to highlight for British Food Fortnight. All of which are available online and at our stalls at Borough Market and Kings Cross.
Get stuck in!