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What a lovely day everyone had at Priory Farm, Nutley, Surrey for Local Food Britain’s inaugural Countryside Food Festival. Great weather, good mix of producers and lovely visitors!

BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex was there for the day, broadcasting live and they caught up with Liz from Sussex Gourmand in the afternoon. Liz decided to give Assistant Managing Editor/Presenter Mark Carter a taste test of Sussex Gourmand’s beef bresaola vs a supermarket version. As suspected, he found the supermarket bresaola salty and flavourless, whereas the artisan bresaola packed a flavourful punch.

Mark went on to try the beef bresaola canapé, which sits on a parmesan and nigella seed thin, with rocket pesto. “That is GORGEOUS!” he said.

You can hear the discussion online on BBC iplayer and you’ll find Sussex Gourmand’s interview around 26.31 minutes in.

The food festival featured a range of talks aboard a vintage bus, where Liz repeated the taste test with a bigger audience. No surprise it delivered the same results. Sussex Gourmand’s artisan beef bresaola provides a multi-dimensional taste experience, whereas supermarket bresaola is one-dimensional, dominated by salt.

Here are some of the key facts Liz delivered in her talk about the importance of local provenance and what lies behind the variance in taste between supermarket bresaola and artisan bresaola:

  • Supermarket bresaola is mass-produced, often with beef that is not local to the producer, coming as far afield as Brazil and Uruguay. Brazil (the world’s biggest exporter of beef) attracted significant press coverage in 2017, linked to food safety concerns. You can read more about their public health issues, investigations and export bans online, including this BBC article.
  • Mass produced beef is often grain fed, which doesn’t make for happy cows or a good product. Most conventional feed contains GM ingredients and animals reared inside are given more antibiotics. Grass-fed cattle that roam the countryside live a better life, but grazing outside also plays a vital role in maintaining the countryside. The resulting beef is a leaner product, which many believe has higher nutritional values.
  • You get what you pay for. Whilst supermarket bresaola is half the price of a pack of bresaola from Sussex Gourmand, you’re getting one tenth of the flavour. Cheap bresaola uses cheap ingredients and is made on a production line, whereas artisan bresaola from Sussex Gourmand is made with passion in small batches, using fresh, local ingredients of the highest quality. Just listen to the radio podcast mentioned above and you’ll hear what a different taste experience you’ll get. There is a reason why our beef bresaola won a Great Taste Award and if you’d rather pay more for a tastier product, we are certainly for you!
  • Bresaola vs other types of charcuterie is incredibly low in fat. For example, pancetta, which is dry-cured like bresaola contains around 48g of fat per 100g! Here’s a few other dry-cured meats for comparison:
    • Smoked bacon has a fat content of around 15%
    • Prosciutto has a fat content of around 15%
    • Biltong has a fat content of around 7-8%

So here’s the interesting comparison. Beef bresaola has just 1.6% fat on average and our venison bresaola is almost fat free…. under 1%. So if you’re not a lover of animal fats, bresaola is a great option for you!

Sincere thanks to Mark Carter of BBC Surrey and Sussex for his enthusiasm and support. And to Local Food Britain, who organised a fantastic food festival and are doing a great job of promoting local, high quality food.