Double Taste of the West gold for Capreolus

WEST Dorset charcuterie specialists Capreoleus have added to their long list of awards by taking a gold double in this year’s Taste of the West Awards, the Special Edition Pannage Ham, a slowly matured, air-dried ham using rare bread pigs from the New Forest, and Venison and Green Peppercorn Salami.

David and Karen Richards have been creating their artisan charcuterie since 2009. They have won numerous awards during that time but the thrill of a commendation never loses its buzz for an artisan producer.

David says: “It’s been a challenging year in the food industry, especially considering that when the first lockdown hit our business relied on restaurants. We are thrilled to have been awarded two golds in this year’s Taste of the West cured meats category. I love developing new products and working with something as special as Pannage pork and venison from wild Sika deer is a real privilege.”

David and Karen source locally bred and reared free range meat from traditional and rare breeds wherever possible and seasonal wild meats from the West Country. Pannage is an ancient New Forest commoners’ right to turn their animals (pigs and cattle) out on the forest to forage, particularly for acorns and beechmast.

During the development stages the Special Edition Pannage Ham was the only acorn-fed air-dried ham made in this country. The pigs eat ‘free’ food – the diet of acorns and beech mast makes a real difference to the flavour of the pork. Capreolus produced very limited stock which flew off the shelves but the good news is that they are already working on the hams from the 2020 Pannage season for release early 2022.

Venison and Green Peppercorn Salami is made using wild venison, from Sika deer living on the Isle of Purbeck, and free-range pork, flavoured with black pepper, garlic, and porcini mushroom. Running through the salami are whole green peppercorns. The salami has a rich flavour from the venison and earthiness from the porcini mushroom while the green peppercorns give bursts of resinous, prickly heat when you bite into them.

The aim of the annual Taste of the West awards is to champion and support the best food and drink producers in the West Country.