Capreolus Fine Foods featured on the BBC's Saturday Kitchen show on 25 April 2020. Their English-made guanciale was centre stage in a spaghetti all’amatriciana dish prepared by Michelin-starred chef Theo Randall.
Guanciale uses the jowl of the pig. Like pancetta, it is dry cured with herbs and spices. However, the higher fat content than pancetta creates a huge depth of flavour. After curing it is fermented and air-dried for several weeks. This process enables the rich fat of the pig cheek to render down very easily, releasing its wonderfully deep flavour when cooked.
The pigs for the Capreolus guanciale used by Theo Randall are English Lop reared in the New Forest on Hockey’s Farm near Ringwood. They are an important member of the forest’s healthy ecology. By feeding on the acorns and other autumn fruits on the forest floor in the tradition of Pannage dating back to the Domesday Book they break up the soil to prepare it the growth of new plants. Pigs also help the famous New Forest ponies by thriving on the acorns which can be toxic to the ponies. The extra fat produced by this special diet creates the wonderful flavour which shows in the cooking, as Theo Randall highlighted.
Guanciale is one of the award-winning fine food products made by Capreolus Fine Foods, the English charcuterie producer, and multiple award winner, based in Rampisham, West Dorset.
Guanciale is used to make many classic Italian dishes, such as the spaghetti all’amatriciana featured on Saturday Kitchen. It is a great base for spaghetti alla carbonara. As an alternative to pancetta guanciale works well in any recipe, including on pizza.
The Capreolus Fine Foods guanciale won the maximum Three Stars in the 2019 Great Taste Awards, and was named Charcuterie Product of the Year, earning it a Great Taste ‘Golden Fork’ trophy. The same guanciale was previously named Supreme Champion in the 2013 Taste of the West Awards.
Here is what that wonderful taste is like. "The flavour is amazing. The taste opens up and keeps giving. The pork brings sweetness, the herbs start to play on the tongue and just when we start to be amazed another aromatic wave comes along. A stunning mouthful. Truly memorable and exceptional." Judge’s tasting notes from 2019 Great Taste Awards.
Following the programme direct sales on the Capreolus website spiked to the highest level the company has ever recorded. This has been a real fillip to the business at a time when the business from many of their food-service customers has been affected by the lockdown.
Capreolus Fine Foods award-winning charcuterie, including, guanciale is available to order online at capreolusfinefoods.co.uk.
Theo Randall’s spaghetti all’amatriciana recipe, as featured on Saturday Kitchen, is shown at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/spaghetti_allamatriciana_52668