Regular readers of this website may have registered my passion for charcuterie. Be it the remarkable Italian artisanal products championed by one of my local haunts, Coin in Hebden Bridge or the Modena poaching sausage Cotechino replicated by a Liverpool charcutier trained in South West France.
British charcuterie has remained under the radar but, like our wine and cheeses, is now promoting itself as a real contender against continental opposition that has been curing or smoking the stuff for centuries. Our own traditional brawns, haslets, chines, potted meats, even hams, are a whole different matter. We may have left Europe but when it comes to a sharing platter it seems it has to be that French term charcuterie.
In Manchester I’ve recently enjoyed a selection (above) from Curing Rebels at Flawd wine bar whose chef/co-owner Joseph Otway is a huge fan of his fellow Brightonians, while the strong Scottish influence at the Butcher’s Quarter (Tib Street and Deansgate Mews) has seen them featuring nduja and salamis from Edinburgh’s East Coast Cured. A widely available pioneer, using no nitrates in their charcuterie, is an old favourite, Trealy Farm in Monmouthshire and the outstanding Cobble Lane Cured flies the flag for London across some prestigious establishments.
What all the operations have in common is combining curing skills gleaned from Europe’s finest with Britain’s exceptional raw materials.
Yorkshire border based, I’m happy enough to rely on Porcus three miles away as the pig flies, but there is Tyke competition from the multi-award-winning Lishman’s of Ilkley, who’ve stuffed a lot into 35 years of sausage making, pies, bacon and all things porky.
I’ve come late to their salami, though, the high profile of which has coincided with Emma Lishman joining dad David in the family business, the roots of which go back much further.
On the Lishman’s website David recalls: “I grew up on a farm where we raised pigs and turned them into bacon and hams, on the stone slabs in the cellar. My father taught me the recipe and method. He also grew up on a farm near Harrogate, and during WW2, the POWs from the local camp were brought to work on the land. One German was a butcher back in his homeland, and showed father how to cure and preserve the meat from the pigs on the farm. It’s a method we still use today.”
Stalwarts of Q Guild of Butchers, the body representing Britain’s best quality independent meat retailers, the Lishman team hand-craft their products in-house featuring pork from only Yorkshire high welfare outdoor bred pigs. It has won them a raft of awards, including two golds in the 2021 British Charcuterie Live Awards for their Yorkshire Black Bacon and Pork Hazelnut & Cider Salami.
My verdict on the Lishman charcuterie…
Yorkhire chorizo This take on the spicy Spanish speciality won best gluten-free at this year’s Smithfield Star Awards run by the Q Guild. It is silky, the fat well balanced.
Fennel salami My favourite, even when not called ‘Finocchiona’. I am a fennel freak, liberally dusting many a dish with expensive fennel pollen, so maybe for me the spicing could have been more assertive.
Coppa A real depth of hammy flavour from cured pork shoulder loin.
Smoked York Ham Delicately smoked without compromising the creamy fat. Being honest, with all these products (available online via the website) and other UK providers I do regret mostly having to buy them ready sliced and packaged, however sustainably. I like slicing int the whole thing. A small grumble in the midst of such quality.