For years, I couldn't even pronounce the word 'charcuterie', let alone understand what it meant! However now that I have aged in years, I now know that 'charcuterie' is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products , such as bacon, ham, sausages, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit. Charcuterie, which translates from the French language as 'cooked flesh', was originally intended as a way to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration, although nowadays they are prepared for the flavours that come from the preservation process.
A couple of months ago, my local farmers market announced that there was a new exhibitor heading our way. Our market already had a great range of local producers offering fresh fruit and veg, fish and shellfish, chicken, pork, beef, lamb, venison (which some folk think is dear, but I think reasonably priced), plus a wide range of speciality breads, home baking and fudge. After a little thought, it made perfect sense that the new kid on the block was Creeside Charcuterie, owned by Sarah Redman. The missing link?
I was excited to meet with Sarah when the market came to town mainly because it fell on the same weekend that I was hosting my famous tapas night, and hope that Creeside could supply me with some cured meats. The current range of products available include various pâtés and terrines, plus an incredibly more-ish hummus. Unfortunately for me, the range doesn't include Serrano style ham or chorizo sausage (yet), so I had to make do with the delicious Shepherds Pâté which fitted in very well with my cheese and meat selection.
Here's Sarah's story;
How did you get started?
In April 2012, having sold our large commercial dairy farm and ice-cream business in Cornwall, we opted for an easier life! We bought Creeside Farm, a 200 acre farm on the banks of the River Cree in the far corner of South Ayrshire. With my background in food (former chef and ice-cream maker) and hubby busy farming Black & Belted Galloway cows & sheep, I wanted to use local produce (and eventually our own home produced meat) to create an artisan product – Creeside Charcuterie was born.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
You need to enjoy what you are doing, believe in your product, be resilient and prepared for lots of hard work.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
Instead of cooking in my own kitchen I would like to convert one of our farm buildings (don't tell hubby!) and be able to produce terrines, parfait and pate for the wholesale market and sell direct to farm shops, deli's and small independent shops. I would also like to have an online shop and be able to provide a postal service too.
If you could only have one of your own products, what would it be & why?
My Chicken & Pistachio Terrine – it's something a bit different, looks amazing and tastes fab. I'd serve it with some local salad leaves, homemade bread and some of our own Red Onion Marmalade.
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
I would invite my husband. We both run busy businesses and have a young family so find that getting quality time alone together is very rare! I really don't mind what we have to eat as long as somebody else is doing the cooking and washing up! No matter what is on the menu, we must have plenty of champagne to accompany the meal.
I've now met Sarah a few times at the market and been able to sample most of the products available. Everything that I've tasted has been full of flavour, so with myself responsible for preparing Christmas dinner this year, I think that I may have to take the easy route and order a couple of tubs of the homemade chicken liver pâté for our starter. I'm sure that my guests won't mind if I take a little shortcut when they sit down to their Christmas lunch and get a taste themselves.