What happens when a couple of dedicated Pig farmers get together to discuss how to increase the value of their produce?
They embark on a trans-continental quest to learn how to make the best charcuterie in the UK, and win more awards and praise than you could shake a stick at.
And that's what happened.
Trealy Farm Charcuterie started out in 2005, when James Swift and former business partner, Graham Waddington, met at the Abergavenny Food Festival and put their shared passion into business practice. Within a very short time the farm between Raglan and Monmouth would become the epicentre of the UK's charcuterie production.
A trip across Europe gave the opportunity to learn from and train with charcuterie makers to make British and continental-style fresh and cooked sausages as well as traditionally cured bacons and hams. But their range also includes air-dried products rarely made in the UK such as chorizos, air-dried hams, loins and pancetta and a range of salamis including lightly smoked snack-sized ‘snack salami’ and cabanos
Back home the pigs from Trealy Farm itself and some really good local producers meant that the vision of producing high quality charcuterie from local and sustainable sources of meat became a reality. They combine traditional methods of curing, smoking and air-drying with innovation and technology and co-operative working with other local food producers, such as Black Mountain Smokery, allowed an expansion of the range.
All the while the produce was earning rave reviews at Farmers Markets and from local chefs.
Soon the awards started to come.
Best UK Food Producer in the Observer Food Awards, Best Product in the Good Housekeeping Food Awards, the Gold Award in the Best Beef Product Category in the True Taste Awards and voted a finalist in the Local Food category of the Quality Food Awards.
“Trealy provides a good example of how good salami should be made. They use first class ingredients, age old techniques, and 21st century innovation provides a first class product. The award winning salami is made from the Gloucester old spot pig.”(Waitrose Food Awards)
Trealy Farm Charcuterie products are bought and cooked in a number of renowned UK restaurants (The Hardwick, Hix Soho, London’s Gherkin and The National Portrait Gallery), by eminent chefs including; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mark Hix, Raymond Blanc and Stephen Terry. A special relationship has developed with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage has it’s own specialist charcuterie package.
Peersonnaly I use a wide range of their excellent products, see the recipe below, and believe that the only producer coming near to Trealy is Gubbeen from Schull, County Cork where the whey from the family herd (vital for the making of the excellent Gubbeen Cheese) is fed to the pigs that make the charcuterie.
And it all comes full circle, this year James will be co-hosting a tutored tasting with chef Jose Pizzaro at the Abergavenny food festival. Sunday at 1pm in Trinity Hall is the place to be, and I have already booked my ticket. To get yours go to http://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/
Trealy Farm really do fit the requirement to be Local and Great.
To find out more visit http://www.trealyfarm.com/
Here are a couple of recipes ideally suited to show off some of Trealy’s great charcuterie
Chorizo and Chickpea Soup
2 x 400g/8oz can cooked chickpeas, drained
45ml/3 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks sliced thinly or diced
2 onions diced
2 carrots diced
2 sticks celery diced
2 potatoes diced
2 x 400g/8oz can chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp. turmeric (ground)
1 tsp. cumin (ground)
salt and pepper
225g/8oz Trealy Farm chorizo sausage diced
1.7l/3 pint chicken stock
Heat oil in a saucepan. Add spices, onions, garlic, leeks, carrots and celery and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add chickpeas, potatoes, tomatoes, chorizo sausage and seasoning.
Cover and gently simmer for a further 15 minutes.
It should be thick with vegetables and contain very little liquid.
Serve piping hot with crusty bread.
Smoked Trout and Fennel Salami Risotto
This recipe was the 2009 Wales and the West winner for Starters in Britain’s Best Dish and reached the national finals. Modesty prevents my revealing the name of the chef!
For the risotto
150g organic leeks
100g diced Trealy Farm Fennel salami
200ml extra virgin olive oil
75g unsalted butter
200g Carnoroli rice
50ml of white wine
300ml good quality vegetable stock
2 Black Mountain Smokery smoked trout fillets
50g Halen Mon sea salt
100g mixed small salad leaves (pea shoots, lambs lettuce, frisee, mizuno etc)
Freshly milled black pepper
4 quail eggs
For the vinaigrette
1 dsp olive oil
2 dsp white wine
Salt and pepper
½ dsp Dijon mustard
2 large or 4 medium vine ripened tomatoes
1 organic lemon
Peel and deseed the tomatoes (add the seeds and skin to the vegetable stock, then strain before using). Chop the flesh finely (concasse) and reserve in a small dish.
Dice the capers and add to the tomatoes to rest/marinade.
Bring the stock to slow simmer. Finely dice up a quarter of the leek. Dice the salami into ¼ inch cubes.
In a heavy saucepan heat 1tbsp olive oil and 50g butter. When foaming, add the leek and salami and sweat for 2 minutes.
Add the rice and stir to ensure an even coating of oil/butter. Add the white wine and allow it to reduce down.
Stir constantly whilst adding the vegetable stock one ladle at a time when the liquid has nearly adsorbed.
Continue for around 15 - 18 minutes until the rice is swollen and soft but still al dente and the overall appearance is creamy.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the flaked smoked trout and check the seasoning.
Cover and leave for 2 minutes so that the trout can come up to heat and for the flavour to infuse.
Whilst the risotto is standing, poach the eggs in an open pan of simmering water.
Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl
Place a circle of leaves, lightly tossed with the dressing, on the plate. Place a mound of risotto on top of the leaves and arrange the concasse tomatoes and capers around the mould