Up next in our Meet Our Suppliers series are Jan Jacob and Anja Baak of Great Glen Charcuterie. I have loved smoked venison for years but venison chorizo and salami were a total revelation to me when we came across Great Glen Charcuterie a few years ago, and are now firm favourites both on our menu and in our own fridge at home.
Here Anja tells us a bit about their story, what makes their products stand out and how to tackle starting a business in such a remote area.
Tell us a bit about you, your business and the story behind it.
Great Glen Charcuterie is a family business established in 2003 by Jan Jacob and Anja Baak after we moved from the Netherlands with our young family to live and work in the beautiful and remote Highlands of Scotland in 2000. Over the years the company has evolved from full time deer processing to specialised charcuterie production.
After much experimenting with venison, we built a wooden smoker in the garden and developed the first Venison Salami. Jan Jacob got in touch with a master butcher in the Netherlands where they make dry sausages who helped him in perfecting the recipe. Friends and family enjoyed the charcuterie and encouraged us to start the business.
The company operates from the Old Butchershop in the small village of Roy Bridge in the Scottish Highlands and supplies independent retailers and restaurants across the UK and abroad. However, we are currently looking at new premises as it is a real squeeze where we are now. We hope to move to large premises later this year so that we can produce more charcuterie.
Only Great Glen Charcuterie’s Venison & Pork products contain pork, all their other products are made with 100% wild Scottish venison. This makes them a healthy alternative to the more common, pork based charcuterie and also suitable for people who do not want to eat pork.
Which of your products are you most proud of?
Our Green Pepper Venison Salami is our best seller and winner of many awards. It won 3 gold stars at the Great Taste awards and was in the top 50 products in 2013 when it also won best British Charcuterie. Last year we won the Delicious Magazine producer award for this salami and they featured our company in the April issue.
What’s in the future for great glen charcuterie?
We see our charcuterie on more and more menus across the UK, the current trend of sharing platters and informal dining is perfect for our Charcuterie. More people are looking to purchase products made locally and Brexit has left customers looking to purchase products from the UK which helps sales of charcuterie made in this country. Moving to a larger premises would also mean we could produce more charcuterie to keep up with the growing demand.
Any words of advice for someone looking to set up a small business in the highlands?
We live in such a beautiful part of the country which we use in telling our story. It is sometimes not easy living in a remote area when setting up a business but using social media can really make a difference. My advice would be to be true to yourself, make sure you know your market and stick to that. It is better to do one thing really well than to try and please everyone.
And finally, what’s your favourite thing about living and working in Lochaber?
We love living and working in this area, we love the space and beauty of the mountains. It is great for our children to grow up in such a lovely area with so many great outdoor activities on the doorstep.
To find out more about Great Glen Charcuterie and to order some of their delicious products visit: http://www.greatglencharcuterie.com