Three Northern Ireland companies, all Food NI members, gained eight awards, including two golds,in The British Charcuterie Awards, the first ever national awards.
The awards were launched to celebrate and encourage the growth of charcuterie and other cured meats in the UK. The awards were announced during a BBC Countryfile event at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
The successful Northern Irish producers were:
Corndale Free Range Charcuterie, Limavady, Co Derry which won gold for its Wild Sika Venison Salami and bronze for its chorizo;
Hannan Meats, Moira, Co Armagh which won three silvers for its Sweet Cured Ham Hock, Black Belly Bacon and Lamb Bacon and bronze for Pastrami Brisket; and
Ispini Charcuterie, Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone which gained gold for its Mace and All Spice Coppa and bronze for its Paprika Coppa.
Alastair Crown, the founder and managing director of Corndale Free Range Charcuterie, commenting on the success of his products, say: “The awards will help raise our profile in Britain, our target market. We’ve been focusing resources there and will also benefit from our most recent success in the Great Taste Awards.”
Jonny Cuddy, who formed Ispini Charcuterie with sister Janice in 2016, adds: “The awards demonstrate that Northern Ireland now has a vibrant charcuterie sector that’s producing outstandingly tasty cured meats.”
Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats adds: “There’s a growing interest in cured meats because of the rich flavours resulting from the curing process. The awards show that Northern Ireland companies are at the forefront of this developing movement and are producing innovative products with exceptional flavours.”
The event was organised by food experts Henrietta Green and Charlotte Sharpe-Neal to encourage farmers, butchers, meat processors and chefs to compete in the nine different classes.
The judging team comprised 20 leading food, retail and hospitality experts including Head Judge John Gower, who set up the New York’s Charcuterie Masters; British Bake Off co-judge Prue Leith; and chefs Angela Hartnett, James Lowe, Ben Tish, Adam Handling.
“British charcuterie is showing such dynamic development, we feel the time is right for all producers, artisanal or larger-scale, to have an appropriate public showcase for their diverse ranges,” says Henrietta Green.
There are estimated to be over 300 British charcuterie producers in the UK at present, and the sector is growing. “British charcuterie is much more than just mirroring our foreign cousins. Our producers create great-tasting products, some new with distinctly different ingredients and characteristics, and others echoing our heritage. Our award categories are designed to reflect this complexity and quality,” says awards co-founder Charlotte Sharpe-Neal.
Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats in Moira
Alastair Crown of Corndale Free Range Charcuterie in Limavady
Jonny Cuddy of Ispini Charcuterie, Aughnacloy