"There's a revolution happening in the British craft food and drink world," says Sean Cannon, founder of Cannon & Cannon, one of the leading distributors of British cured meat and charcuterie. "We've never really been recognised as a truly foodie culture. In fact in the past we Brits have been mocked by our continental friends. But look what' s happening: we're leading the way in beer thanks to our wonderful craft beer industry, our sparkling wine is regularly outdoing champagne in blind tastings, we won the World Cheese Award last year [with Cornish Kern from Truro], and now we have outstanding charcuterie to rival anything being made on the Continent."
Tim Hassell, Goodwood Home Farm General Manager, also sees the potential. "There's no reason why we can't do charcuterie really well," he says. "Our livestock is more than up to it, people' s tastes are changing, and farmers are diversifying accordingly."
And so, products such as seaweed and cider salami from Cornish Charcuterie in Bude or red deer venison bresaolo from Great Glen Charcuterie in Inverness-shire are emerging, as small-scale farmers and adventurous chefs set about experimenting. "There are laws that protect the way certain products are made on the Continent, but over here these kinds of products are brand new, so there are no restrictions on what a salami has to be, or what a cured ham should taste like," says Cannon. "We're making it up as we go along, and that is creating some wonderful opportunities."