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Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats shines

The Aurora International Taste Challenge was held in South Africa for the second year running to celebrate and honour universal food quality. There is a serious need for unbiased assessment of food products to highlight the quality of artisan and specialty food producers, as well as that of mainstream food producers who really excel. This challenge was established to recognise and award food product excellence, while helping consumers to purchase award-winning, professionally rated products with confidence.

Celia Gilloway was the convener of the judges, and invited some of the best food industry professionals to sit on the panel of adjudicators. It is no small task to find the best of the best, as each product was assessed using many factors, including appearance (as well as raw appearance where relevant), aroma, flavour complexity, texture, authenticity and workmanship.

Sausage, dried and cured meat awards

This was the first year that sausages and dried and cured meat from all over the world was tasted, and the quality and diversity were evident. The uncooked meats were prepared by representatives of the Institute of Culinary Arts (www.icachef.co.za), going to great lengths to bring out the best in each category. Although the cooking methods were standardised, each product’s response was taken into consideration, and therefore cooking methods and times were adjusted to bring out the best in each product.

In the category of Cured Meat, the products of Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats showed its class. Richard Bosman’s Pepper Fuet and Richard Bosman’s Smoked Streaky Bacon were awarded Double Gold, while Richard Bosman’s Prosciutto was awarded Gold.

Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats shone and was awarded double Gold Awards for the Pepper Fuet and Smoked Streaky Bacon

We asked Richard how he sees South African charcuterie on the global stage: “Charcuterie in South Africa is growing as the population learns about traditional cured meats from other countries. We have a history of biltong and dry wors, and gradually people are exploring the world of prosciutto, coppa, bresaola, culatello and lardo. It is still a small niche part of our food landscape, but its growing along with the interest in home curing, which is also becoming popular. In countries such as Italy and Spain, even the smallest supermarket will slice a variety of cured meats to order, and we are a long way from that. My dream is that one day we will have far more restaurants and specialised charcuterie outlets that promote our local fare”.

Richard Bosman slicing

Celebrity chef, Pete Goffe-Wood was one of the panellists. Pete: “I think the importance of competitions like this is of great value to the industry. Not only to the industry itself, but also to the consumer. I think it helps to showcase small producers, and give people notoriety for doing good stuff”.

“I didn’t realise there was going to be as many entries as there were. I was quite impressed with the range and variety we tasted”.

We asked Richard where he ranks South Africa in the charcuterie universe. “We have some of the finest pork in the world. I deal directly with my farmers, and they produce exceptional quality free range pork. With a raw material like this it makes my job easy and I honestly believe some of our products in South Africa (not just mine) are world class. If you look at our wine industry and our olive oil industry, which are all now recognised as being some of the best in the world, I believe our cured meats will become far more recognised in the next decade”.

What makes your products unique? “We source the best pork we can and do as little as possible thereafter. All our pigs are certified free range, and we follow traditional curing methods that take a lot of time. Some of our hams are cured for 24 months before we release them”.

Richard on innovations in the pipeline: “We have just launched a new type of packaging which is more eco-friendly, uses less plastic, and does not vacuum the products, which results in a much better customer experience”.

Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats products

What is the distinct advantage you have, or the reason for your success? “Attention to detail, no compromising on quality or customer service. We are small and flexible, which means we can offer each customer a tailored range of products. On top of that, a lot of hard work, perseverance and determination. Nothing has come easily, and in today’s world it never will”.

Richard Bosman’s Quality Cured Meats run training courses to teach people how to cure meats at home. These have become extremely popular, while at the same time educating people about cured meats.

Final conclusions

The results of this year’s challenge showed that there are variety and quality variance hiding in plain sight, and that a professional evaluation of products that some would classify as generic, can open a whole new world to the consumer.

Some of the co-branding sponsors that made this event possible: