About Hampshire Charcuterie
Hampshire Fare recognised the challenges being faced by pig farmers. Increasing feed prices and no European or state funding meant that making money from pig farming was proving impossible for many Hampshire Farmers. In fact most were losing more than £20 per pig.
It was clear to Hampshire Fare that something needed to be done to help these farmers and to save the Hampshire Hog. The plan to train local farmers in the art of charcuterie soon became the favourite idea. By diversifying into new products with a longer shelf life the producers would have an opportunity to increase their profits.
The Prince's Countryside Fund could see the potential of the project proposal and pledged its support through a grant which made the idea a reality. This was the beginning of the 'Preserving the Hampshire Hog' project.
Launched in 2011 the project has given local farmers and producers the chance to learn from charcuterie expert, Marc-Frederic Berry. The participants have spent two years learning how to make and package a wide range of charcuterie including chorizo, salami and infused bacon. The group has embraced the opportunity with ten producers now offering charcuterie to buy.
What is charcuterie?
For many centuries the art of charcuterie making has been used as a way of preserving meat. Traditionally autumn or winter is the preferred time to slaughter pigs so producing charcuterie enabled the meat to be enjoyed all year round.
Preserving raw meat can be achieved in several ways including curing, smoking, cooking or a combination of the three. Countries such as Spain, Italy and France are known as great charcuterie nations with different styles and techniques skilfully used from region to region.
Jambon (ham), Boudin Noir (black pudding), Gayettes (faggots) and Fromage de Tête (brawn) are all examples of charcuterie as well as salami, pâté, chorizo and many more. Charcuterie making is an artisan craft which is becoming increasingly popular in Britain with many talented producers creating innovative and delicious charcuterie. Hampshire is leading the way with a strong group of local producers working together to produce quality charcuterie.