We are very excited to be stocking the award-winning Hampshire Salami that has just arrived in the deli counter – we are trying out their Nduja and classic Hampshire Farmhouse salami to begin with, but they have a great variety available. The farmhouse salami is packed with flavour, with a salty bite and peppery finish and what’s more, is made from Scott’s Free Range Pork which is our pork farmer of choice. It’s a fantastic end product, the taste of which clearly represents the quality and artisan care that has gone into the rearing, curing and ageing. We will try the Nduja tomorrow…..
All the Hampshire salamis are made by Barry Walker, based at Wolverton Park, just outside Basingstoke, and while the company has only been established for a year, they have already won a Gold plus two Bronze Medals for its cured meat products at the prestigious British Charcuterie Awards on the 2nd August.
They won a Gold Medal for their Hampshire Black salami, and two Bronze Medals, one each for its Italian inspired Capocollo (cured pork collar) and its Hampshire style Italian ‘Sopressa’ salami.
The British Charcuterie Awards were held at Blenheim palace on the 2nd August as part of BBC Countryfile Live. This hotly contested competition attracted over 100 meat curers and salami makers from all over the UK; entering over 400 products into the various classes.
“I entered four products into the competition and nervously wondered if our products were good enough,” explains Barry Walker. “I was ecstatic when our first Bronze Medal was announced, and even prouder to receive a second. However when the Gold was announced I was in total shock, especially as the business has been trading for less than six-months.”
The Hampshire Salami Company makes predominantly Italian influenced cured pork products as well as several speciality cures of beef and lamb which in all total 12 unique recipes. In addition, Hampshire Salami also smokes several of its products to add extra flavour. Now the business is also launching a range of artisan handmade fresh sausages from Italian, Spanish and French influence, to add breadth to the range.
An enthusiastic self-taught cook and butcher, Barry started meat curing ‘Italian style’ in 2010 on the kitchen table, as a hobby, seeking those parts of the house where conditions may be right for hanging and curing. Eventually, with a house full of hanging and curing salami, an allconsuming passion began and still holds true to this day. Two years ago, Barry set about commercialising his new passion, looking for suitable premises and gaining the requisite authorisations to cure meat to sell to the public.
Based on the Wolverton Park Estate, between Basingstoke and Kingsclere, the Hampshire Salami Co premises was once part of the butchery on the estate, and was in a state of disrepair. Barry set about creating the right environment, with a walk in cold room and maturation room, where some of the products, like his Prosciutto Crudo style hams, can mature for up to 24-months, and where controlling the temperature and humidity is paramount.
All the meat used in the curing and manufacturing process comes from known sources, as well as local producers and in true artisan style, Barry only cures one pig at a time and not buying in commercial meat cuts. Curing one pig ‘nose to tail’ ensures that the true value of the process is upheld, and that the animal’s life is respected and made into the best products as is possible.
From each pig a variety of products are manufactured, including Capocollo from the shoulder, Lonza from the loin, a Parma style ham from the legs or sometimes this may be a smoked version known as Speck, Pancetta from the belly and up to 10 varieties of salami from the other parts of the animal.
With scant information available on the art of curing in the UK, Barry initially bought books from America and Australia written by second and third generation Italians, because little information was available from Italy. Wanting to get closer to the secrets of curing Italian style, Barry also acquired what books were available from Italy, which he has now translated to English, getting closer to the secrets of Italian meat curing.
Gaining inspiration and recipes to fuel his passion Barry travels to Italy at least twice a year, discovering and exploring new regions each time, foraging out the best products, visiting producers and working with salami makers in their factories. Having now travelled from the ‘heel-n-toe’ of Italy right up to the north; probing the undiscovered Italy, steering off the beaten track and redefining the culinary ‘Road Trip’, Barry also makes time for the odd pit stop to meet wine and cheese makers, as well as the best markets and places to eat.
Having now established the ‘Hampshire Salami Co’, Barry wants to ‘Cure Hampshire one pig at a time’. He is working with producers of local livestock and helping farmers add value where ever possible, using many of those recipes discovered on those Italian road trips.
Pictured is Barry Walker of Hampshire Salami Company