Autumn may be closing in on us, but who says it’s too late for a barbecue? The mild Mediterranean climate often favours the outdoors until the January chills envelop us. Regardless of the season, a top quality meal is always a pleasure and Evolution’s Provisioning Department pride themselves on sourcing the best quality ingredients.
Colin Clark, Head Butcher shares that their daily challenge to source the items required by a demanding international clientele can only be met by constantly striving for perfection, and for knowing the food industry inside out. As with most other commodities, meat is subject to fashions and trends. One of the biggest tendencies in the production of the meat in the last few years has been Wagyu beef, and Colin gives us the low-down.
The higher grade Japanese breeds that produce Waguyu beef are prized for their uber-marbling of unsaturated fat. “This can, however, often mask the true flavour, resulting in a lump of fat with some beef marbling. Whilst a small amount of marbling can be desirable it is by no means the Holy Grail of beef; you can have an excellent piece with no marbling,” he affirms.
In some ways it seems that part of the problem is that few people have tasted really good beef. Producing great beef is both simple and extremely complicated. Bovines are herbivores and thrive best on a variety of grasses and leafage. Left alone, the cattle know which grass or plant is at its optimum, and this comes through in the meat’s flavour. Unfortunately in the majority of cases it’s not the stockmen and conscientious farmers who control production. Market prices increasingly drive the way livestock are raised and processed, with a focus on bigger, faster and cheaper methods which result in more profit but less quality.
Fortunately, there are still people who care enough about their product and animals to provide top-class beef, lamb, pork and poultry. “You have to search far and wide, but that´s part of my job,” says Colin, who has very good relations with small producers, mainly in the UK, who use heritage breeds such as English Longhorn cattle and Herdwick sheep to produce excellent meat.