Following our interview with Jamie Archer, one of Norfolk’s finest butchers, we thought we’d carry on the pork theme and have a chat with Jackie Kennedy, owner of MarshPig – an award-winning charcuterie in South Norfolk.
It was a personal love of great food that started her journey into producing her own salami – she felt that there just wasn’t great charcuterie coming over from the continent.
We bumped into her plenty of times and local food events, we even stock some of her delicious salami in our online Deli, so we thought it’s high time we did an interview with her!
What made you start Marsh Pig? Had you worked with food before?
In the last 20 years I have been working in the commercial sector travelling a lot around Europe – I owned a headhunting company in Brighton, recruiting in private and investment banking.
Before that though my background, many years ago, was as a Cordon Bleu trained chef working in Switzerland.
I’m greedy and love charcuterie so I made a point of seeking out great salami whilst travelling through Europe.
I began to notice that most charcuterie on the continent is mass produced. They use crated pigs which live indoors their entire lives, being fed on a high-protein diet.
Ethically that doesn’t sit well with me at all. I felt that supporting British farmers, who produce the best pork in the world, would be a fantastic thing to do.
That’s when I started thinking seriously about starting up on my own.
I use home-grown, local, free range pork in my charcuterie – I also like to use rare breed pork too for it’s distinctive flavour.
Traditionally salami contains between 30 and 60% fat. The Chirizo at that supermarket you’ll see generally has a good 60% fat content which is plainly evident when you cook it.
I only add 15% fat my salami, I like the fact that it tastes of something with the higher meat content.
What do you think Marsh Pig’s greatest achievement has been so far?
I’ve been really lucky – when I first started doing this I have no idea if I’d have a market.
I knew I wasn’t going to be the cheapest so I didn’t even attempt to be. I set out to be the best!
I’ve managed to win a Great Taste Award every year I’ve been trading so far. The first year it was my Garlic & Black Pepper Salami that won, and last time it was my Coppa (my version of Parma Ham using collar of pork, marinated for 2 weeks then air dried for 12 weeks).
I’ve appeared on BBC TV with James Martin, I’ve supplied Selfridge’s – I’ve done some really cool stuff but the thing that I consider my greatest achievement is earning the support of local people throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
I don’t think there’s a greater compliment than a customer who continues to use your product, whether it’s a restaurant, farm shop, deli or private individual.
The interest has bee so great that I’ve even started running Charcuterie Courses where people can come to Marsh Barn where I make all my salami and learn how to do it themselves!
What’s your favourite way of eating Salami?
With the help of chefs on TV, people are generally well versed in using Chirizo – in chicken and rice or white bean and lamb dishes for example.
But it’s not only Chirizo you can cook with!
I use my Fennel Salami in a delicious pasta dish which works really well, and the Whitehorse at Brancaster is currently using my Venison and Vintage Port Salami in one of their dishes which is selling like the clappers!
But, if I’m honest, my ultimate favourite is simply a platter of charcuterie with a good bottle of wine, some decent bread and some time on my own to scoff the lot!
Are there any regional food producers you think we should know about?
Do you have any favourite regional food producers that you think I should know about?
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