Tom Flint: A celebration of British cheese and charcuterie

A feast of cheese and meat at The Great British Charcuterie Co.
A feast of cheese and meat at The Great British Charcuterie Co.

When I think of cheese and charcuterie, the UK does not immediately spring to mind as being a leading producing nation.

I had long believed that British cheese did not extend much beyond Cheddar, Stilton and those criminal concoctions where people put bits of fruit or chilli into bland cheeses.

This is mainly due to ignorance on my part, not to mention a healthy level of snobbery whereby if it is not French or Italian cheese I am not interested. Charcuterie is a similar story, I mean the word itself does not exactly scream the shores of Blighty does it.

In recent years this has changed and I have discovered a plethora of excellent British cheeses despite my previous prejudices.

My mind has been opened to the possibility of British cheese being able to rival its European counterparts in terms of taste, variety and quality.

Similarly, I have been exposed to a new trend for delicious dried meats, salamis and more from local and national farms who are trying to bring something new to the market. The British charcuterie industry is a young one, but it is already making waves in the dried meat world.

There have been a few reasons for my new-found appreciation of these British products.

One of these is a relaxing of my own snobbish cheese rules (although I still believe that Cheddar does not deserve to be on a cheese board).

The second is simply due to exposure. Getting your grubby little mits on these delicious goodies has never been easier; especially if you check out GB Charcuterie down at Brighton Marina.

GB Charcuterie is a deli and online retailer who deal in all things local. Cheese, meat, beer, wine and assorted accoutrements are sourced from UK based producers, and brought together in a celebration of this country’s best goodies. I had made a few wine purchases from their excellent online store a few times, taking advantage of occasional offers to stock up on Sussex fizz, and recently made my first visit in person.

The reason for the visit was to experience the new charcuterie bar in store at the marina.

The shop is in the shopping area of the marina, so away from the hub of convenience food retailers. Inside you will find a treasure trove of delicacies to get excited about. Picking through the cheese and meat selection can be a difficult process, thankfully the helpful staff are on hand to assist in your choices. We picked a generous helping of cheese and meat and selected a glass of Corymbus from local organic vineyard Seddlescombe to wash it down with.

Our selection showed off the variety and quality that is on offer. A delicious Dorstone goats cheese from Herefordshire, creamy and rich Barkham Blue from Berkshire and a lip smackingly tart charcoal Cheddar from Yorkshire were my highlights.

The meats ranged from a seaweed and cider salami from Cornwall, herby Highland wagyu Cecina, fennel salami from Sussex and a superbly sweet lamb carpaccio from Monmouthshire. It was a veritable journey through the highlights of British produce from people who clearly have a passion for creating the best products they can.

GB Charcuterie is a fantastic business that is showcasing some wonderful products.

The addition of the charcuterie bar adds a whole new level, and is definitely the best place to eat at the Marina. If you are looking for something new and different, and have a penchant for cheese, wine and hams then you should give them a look.

You will be hard pressed to find a better selection of British products anywhere else, and with so much on offer you are sure to find something you love.