Once the preserve of our continental cousins, there’s a growing appetite for home produced charcuterie. And with some of the ﬁnest local meats to hand, we Brits are now smoking and curing with the best of them
Where to buy good charcuterie
From the producer
It’s very pleasing buying artisan products directly from the producer, where they are made, and that’s exactly what you can do at Bere Farm in Lytchett Minster, home to The Dorset Charcuterie Company. Stock up on basics such as chorizo, ham and pancetta or go the (ahem) whole hog and pick up a charcuterie platter or taster box.
Buy it online
Artisan charcuterie producers are popping up at food festivals and farmers’ markets across the South West, but if you can’t pin them down in person, these guys deliver: Cornish Charcuterie in Bude and Chesil Smokery in Bridport offer a good range of porky products. Try intriguing flavour combos such as truffle salami from Cornwall’s Deli Farm Charcuterie, and make sure to check out Duchy Charcuterie for its award-winning ‘njuda spreadable salami.
A treasure trove of artisan goodies, a trip to Made By Bob in Cirencester (pictured above) promises a bounty of delicious charcuterie for suppertime – choose between faves such as coppa and pancetta or mortadella and cecina. Bristol’s Chandos Deli is another good call for a sterling selection of European cured meats, as is new kid on the block, Linleys Deli & Eatery in Honiton.
Where to eat the good stuff
Rusty Pig, Ottery St Mary
A cathedral to charcuterie, butchery and everything carnivorous, Rusty Pig near Exeter is a must for die-hard charcuterie fans. Owner Robin Rea not only butchers, cures, dries, smokes – and whatever other tricks he has up his sleeve – a range of meats for local restaurants and artisan delis, he also serves his creations in his rough ‘n’ ready eatery. Tuck into homemade hog’s pudding, sausages, sourdough and eggs for breakfast, find out what’s cooking at lunch after a quick chat with Robin (you won’t find any menus here) or grab a seat at one of the set suppers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Pata Negra, Bristol
We can’t talk charcuterie without a nod to the Spanish – they’re the proud producers of some of the world’s finest after all – and a trip to Pata Negra (pictured above) promises a tempting selection of the country’s meaty bounty. Take time to savour 36-month cured jamón bellota, acorn-fed cured salami and chorizo morcón from the seasonal tapas menu, with a glass of dry sherry or a full bodied Spanish red.
Learn from the pros
Darts Farm, Topsham
Two of Topsham’s foodie faves – Darts Farm and Good Game – join forces on several dates throughout the year to share with budding home butchers the secrets behind the craft of curing. Not only will you get to watch the award winning butchers create chorizo, salami and dried ham – with plenty of tasters along the way, naturally – you’ll leave armed with tips and tricks to make your own artisan charcuterie at home. £115pp.
Somerset Charcuterie, Wrington
If you’re the kind of person who winces at raw chicken in the supermarket, you’ll probably want to avoid Somerset Charcuterie’s course, because you and five fellow amateurs will be faced with butchering a whole pig in this hands on masterclass. After the porker has been stripped in the morning, the afternoon sees the whole animal being put to use with a range of different curing and drying techniques to create pancetta, chorizo and coppa among other charcuterie to take home. £130pp.
River Cottage HQ, Axminster
You’ll not only learn how to cure your own bacon, create homemade salt beef and fillet and prepare fish for smoking at River Cottage HQ’s full-day Meat and Curing Course, you’ll also be taught how to build a smoker at home so you can put your new skills into practice. And the fact that tutees are treated to lunch from River Cottage’s talented chefs in the idyllic Devon countryside is another big plus. £240pp.