In the first of our regular ‘Producer Profile’ features The Charcuterie Board’s John Gower has a closer look at Duchy charcuterie.
Marc Dennis, the owner/operator and driving force behind Duchy Charcuterie came from a working life in the London meat industry and then through, like several of the leading figures in UK cured meats, the world of Game. Processing the annual glut of Game meats in the winter months is a challenge that also lends itself to preservation techniques such as dry curing whole muscles, pates and salumi.
Marc has grown from this background, through a period working with and helping build other well known and established Charcuterie producers’ brands, before going it alone with the current business.
As someone who seems, as those who know him will testify, to never stop working, it is hardly surprising that a steady and strong flow of new products are constantly emerging from his Cornish workshops. Snacking Salami sticks, whole muscle Beef and Pork classics and his trade mark version of a traditional ‘Nduja all quickly gained Duchy a reputation amongst not only retail customers but also with Chefs in Cornwall’s growing Restaurant sector and further afield in some of the country’s top kitchens.
Always hungry to learn, Marc was a common presence on many of the on line Curing groups, soaking up knowledge, sharing his ideas and experiments and it was with much pleasure that I saw he was the first UK maker to throw his hat, or should I say his delicious Bresaola, into the ring at the Charcuterie Masters in New York a few years back which I had the pleasure of helping Judge.
Since then he has gone on to develop a huge range of quality products, often with his signature innovative flavours, and has won multiple Awards in both regional and National competitions culminating, last year with the largest haul of Medals of any producer at the British Charcuterie Awards 2019, an unparalleled achievement that cemented Marc as one of the top makers we have in the UK.
Personally, I think the quality of his technical work is a shining example of the craft. Always beautifully prepared, evenly dried to an ideal level and always using such great ingredients, often from his local Primrose herd. No wonder then that Duchy products grace so many menus and feature in so many deli’s and other fine food purveyors.
If you haven’t yet tried Marc’s sensational Charcuterie then look out for them, especially his flawless Spalla and, one of what I believe is this years truly great products, his Spianata, available through www.duchycharcuterie.co.uk and other online outlets such as www.barefootcornwall.com .
You can also learn some of Marc’s techniques and tricks of the trade for yourself at the home curing courses he helps with at schools like www.philleighway.co.uk and www.groundupcookeryschool.co.uk