Air-dried ham produced from pigs ate up acorns within the New Forest has been given particular protected standing by the Authorities beneath new post-Brexit produce guidelines.
New Forest pannage ham has been registered beneath the Authorities’s geographical indication (GI) scheme, which was introduced in after Brexit to guard and confirm the authenticity of foods and drinks from particular areas of the UK.
The scheme was launched to imitate an analogous system within the EU that ensures merchandise can solely carry a sure title if they’re ready in a sure method or originate from sure areas. The EU scheme covers all the things from champagne glowing wine to roquefort cheese.
The apply of pannage – letting the pigs out to snack on acorns – may be traced again to the times of William the Conqueror in England, and used to happen everywhere in the nation.
In addition to inflicting them to placed on numerous weight, the method helps clear the bottom of acorns which may be toxic to cattle and horses.
Nevertheless, the New Forest is now the only remaining place the place it occurs, with some 600 pigs launched for pannage every Autumn.
The pigs can roam for miles, consuming acorns as they go, and ham produced from these animals has a darker color and buttery, nutty flavour claimed to be comparable with superb Spanish hams.
David Richards, the proprietor of Capreolus Fantastic Meals, utilized for a GI standing after creating a way for air-drying pork from native New Forest pannage pigs in hopes of making a ham akin to high-end Iberian pork.
Mr Richards mentioned: “We’ve been feeding acorns to pigs for hundreds of years. Sadly we’ve probably not been making a substantial amount of use of it. There’s not a lot historical past of creating charcuterie on this nation… It isn’t a lot of a conducive local weather.”
Nevertheless, technological advances over current years have allowed producers to “management humidity in maturing rooms, which makes all of it attainable,” he mentioned.
The GI standing means New Forest pannage ham may be made by anyone within the space offered they comply with the standards. Mr Richards mentioned he was encouraging farmers supplying him to get licensed to supply the ham to assist develop the market.
Different notable merchandise to carry GI standing embrace Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Welsh Leeks, Sussex Wine, Kentish Ale, and Gower Salt Marsh Lamb.
Meals minister Mark Spencer mentioned: “Our conventional meals assist to kind the backdrop of British life, and with a 1,000-year heritage New Forest Pannage Ham is part of our nationwide meals story.
“I look ahead to sampling some New Forest Pannage Ham myself and celebrating this excellent product with a novel historical past.”