Can you tell us about your business and how you started it?
I’ve been curing for about 10 years, having learnt the skills while working as a young chef. After a few years of working in the corporate sector, I found that my love of making Charcuterie was growing and curing meat was what I enjoyed doing the most. So, I turned my hobby into a business, and Bray Cured was born.
What made you want to make Charcuterie & how did you start?
I was fascinated by the idea of creating products from scratch that required technique and flavour alchemy to produce great tasting Charcuterie. I read a lot around the subject and taught myself butchery from video tutorials. The first recipe I tried, was a Raymond Blanc duck ham, which turned into a project to find the best way to preserve a whole duck and so began my “slippery slope” into producing Charcuterie.
Do you raise your own livestock?
No we don’t, however we generally try to source our Middle White pork, heritage breed sheep, Longhorn Beef and wild Fallow deer from small holders and individual farmers within our locality.
How has your business benefitted from Weschenfelder’s equipment?
Weschenfelder supply us with many of their ingredients and consumables, including their curing salts and sausage casings. We find them very flexible and helpful to work with, and there is never any problem with them supplying us stock, even at very short notice. Their product range is well researched and we love to find “hidden gems” that enhance the flavour of our Charcuterie.
How does where you are, affect the nature of your business?
We make Charcuterie from and around Bray, a village with a huge foodie reputation. We try as much as possible to use local ingredients for our products, building good relationships with other small producers in the area. Customers identify our Charcuterie as being locally sourced, so where we are is key to our business.
How would you describe your style of Charcuterie?
Our inspiration comes from the locally sourced ingredients we use and above all the flavours, so I’d describe our style as “from here”
Describe your product range and tell us why you think your products are special.
At Bray Cured, we make Charcuterie using the whole animal, whether from pork, beef, venison or sheep. We aim to only use local meat, and local wines and cheeses and we often go foraging for wild herbs. Our range includes such classic lines as Fennel Salami and Coppa, but also products such as Cacao-Spiced Venison Bresaola which make us stand out
What is your favourite product and why?
We make a Flower Meadow Hogget Merguez which combines the tremendous local hogget, an overwintered lamb that gets its special flavour from the wild herbs they graze on, with local wine and some clever spicing. It’s an excellent example of our Charcuterie style taking everything “from here” and producing something that we believe is exceptional quality, delicious in flavour and a little different from the norm.
Do you have a favourite Charcuterie recipe to share?
We do. And we love it when Charcuterie Lovers book into the courses we run. There are Duck Curing or Salami & Chorizo courses amongst others, and there we reveal our top tips and favourite recipes.
Where do you sell your products?
We have stalls at the many markets within Berkshire, including Henley, Marlow, Windsor, Maidenhead, Spencers Wood, Amersham, Wendover and Thame. A range of our Charcuterie is also sold at the splendid retailers, delicatessens and restaurants across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxford.
Has your Charcuterie won any awards and how important is it to you to achieve recognition from within the industry?
We were awarded stars at this year’s Great Taste Awards, which we felt was a great achievement, being new to the game. We have registered for the World Charcuterie Awards 2023 and will be entering our products in the hope that they do very well there.