It is hard to believe that the British Cured Meat Awards and Festival is now over. It’s even harder to believe that the shenanigans took place over a week ago. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been wandering around ever since, in a cured meat induced haze of befuddlement and euphoria. And really, our feet have yet to touch the ground.
But coming back to the day itself, it was a resounding success. The festival was a throng of bodies, music, laughter and cheers – as bands took to the stage and chefs hit the demo area. With one chef in particular getting rather too free and easy with the distribution of beer amongst the crowd. But we’ll forgive Calum Franklin on this occasion. Because his pie looked amazing. And we can always bill him at a later date.
The main stars of the show, it has to be said, were the producers who filled the market and turned the space into veritable Eden of charcuterie. The produce all looked and tasted amazing, making it well worth the journey for our festival goers. Some of which came from as far afield as the Czech Republic, to specifically eat British cured meat.
Of course, whilst everything was going on in the morning for the final push and before the gates opened, in a quiet corner of the festival, a select group of judges were making their way through a selection of cooked meats, meat snacks, muscle meats and salamis. All ably assisted by the Guild of Fine Food. It was a tough session and the judges had to work hard (honest).
In the words of Mick Whitworth, who is also responsible for running the Guild’s charcuterie campaign – ‘The standard and quality of this year’s entries, in all categories, has simply shot through the roof.’
And so, after a furious and tense round up of scores, comments and flagrant gesticulation, the Guild collated the results. At 4PM, Sean Cannon and host, Steven Lamb, took to the stage and the following winners and runners up were announced.
The Fruit Pig Co – Lardo infused fresh blood black
puddingCooked or Smoked Runner up
Cobble Lane Cured – N’duja
Meat Snacks Winner
Cwm Farm Charcuterie – Laverbread snack salami
Meat Snacks Runner up
Flyford Food Co – Big Horn honey and chilli biltong
Cornish Charcuterie – Seaweed and cider salami
Salami Runner Up
Ispini Charcuterie – Garlic and black pepper salami
Muscle Meats Winner
Somerset Charcuterie – Culatello
Muscle Meats Runner Up
Ispini Charcuterie – Mace and allspice coppa
Then came the moment that everyone was waiting for. Who was going to be crowned this year’s Grand Master Charcutier of the Year? And win the trophy to end all trophies – all built at great expense.
That went to Tempus Foods, founded by Dhruv Baker and Tom Whitaker. After their visit to Tempus HQ, the judges were extremely impressed with ‘the incredibly professional set-up, the eye for detail and most importantly, the quality and flavour of what they made.’
Worthy winners indeed.
For us here at Cannon and Cannon, we were just made up with the fact that the festival went off with such a bang and delivered the sense of celebration that we always intended. There is so much going on right now, in terms of innovation and producers building their own stamp, it is simply exciting to see this movement go from strength to strength.
If the awards and festival proved one thing, it was that the British cured meat scene is in a very good place right now.
Let’s keep moving forward!
The BCMF Team.