How the Midlands has become home to the UK’s best artisan butchery
I was delighted to hear about the formal launch of the Delilah Artisan Butchery range recently. I’d seen the preparations for the range being made in the butchery classroom of The School of Artisan Food at the Welbeck Estate. Here, fantastic quality sustainable local meat is prepared to the highest standards. Their experienced artisan butchers have decades of industry experience. This includes fresh meat and a whole host of preserved meats that are smoked, cured and otherwise aged to maximise their flavour.
Lucky old us! The fruits of their labour is now available for sale at Delilah Fine Foods in both Leicester and Nottingham city centres. Delilah’s pedigree is undeniable, having been awarded the accolade of best deli in the UK for their Leicester branch in 2017. The range includes sausages and bacon, as well as a variety of cures like bresaola, pancetta and salt beef. I popped in to Delilah in Leicester to see for myself.
As you would expect, everything looks absolutely on point. The packaging (where it exists) is simple and professional. Meanwhile the quality not just of the meat but also of the way it has been butchered is immediately obvious upon visible inspection. Of course the bacon wasn’t the best thing for me to have a try of, so I went snooping through the well stocked meat counter for the cured meats.
High Quality Cured Meats
Bresaola, for those of you unfamiliiar, is a spiced beef that has been air dried. I can categorically say that it is the nicest I have ever tasted. At £3.99 per kilo, this is priced at an incredible valu. It is not a huge amount more than you would pay for a questionable quality of bresaola from the supermarket. The rub on the surface of the meat has left a deep spicing which beautifully complements the concentrated beef flavour. This intermingling of tastes lingers long on the tongue. The firm, dry texture of the bresaola is absolutely spot on.
I also had a little run at the pastrami, and again here it is the texture that is the king. This would make the most delicious sandwich, teamed with cheese and coleslaw – a sort of adaptation on the classic Reuben. Safe to say, this new range ticks all the boxes for me. It is a collaboration of two organisations – a not-for-profit and a small business. They both genuinely care about good food. It provides us with meat that is ethically sourced. It is reassuring to know what you buy has been treated well in life and handled with significant care and expertise in death. The flavours and textures are undeniable. So if you want to taste the difference that artisan butchery makes, pop down to Delilah and give it a whirl.
While I was visiting Delilah and chatting to the team about the new range, I was also introduced to Spanish smoked black pudding. Wow! How had I never come across that before?