A flavoursome sausage from the Highlands, made with hyper local ingredients
“We see it as our mission to seek out the very best charcuterie in the country,” says Sean Cannon, co-founder of Cannon and Cannon. “This salami comes from a couple named Isabella and Richard Flannery in the far north-west of Scotland and they are making some sensational stuff.
“One of the things that we really love about their venison and bog myrtle salami is the fact that it is clearly very closely linked to the area where it is being produced.” The wild venison is sourced from nearby Ardgay and the founders forage the bog myrtle themselves. In fact, they try to get as much as they can locally for everything they produce.
Initially Isabella and Richard started producing charcuterie for their hotel, frustrated by the lack of good options available locally. It was a hit with their visitors and then when they sold it in local markets in the off season, their products proved equally popular. They decided to sell the hotel, move to a place called Kinlochbervie—and Highland Charcuterie and Smoke House was born.
A herbal shrub
While venison is fairly familiar, bog myrtle is likely a mystery to most. It is, in fact, a herbal shrub with a sweet resinous smell that grows in bogs and other wet, acidic environments. As well as making use of its culinary properties, historically bog myrtle was used by the Scots to flavour some beers before hops, brew tea—it was also used to repel Scotland’s fearsome midges.
“This is one of our softer textured salamis and it is quite moist,” Sean continues. “The bog myrtle brings a sour tang to the salami—there is an almost citrus element coming from the herb—and it also has a very deep, rich venison flavour. The two go wonderfully well together. When I first tasted it, I remember thinking the flavour is lovely, but also very different from what you expect from a salami. This is one for the adventurous.”
Once you get it home, Sean suggests keeping it in the fridge, wrapped in the paper it comes in. If you want to keep it in perfect condition for four to eight weeks, place the whole package in a sealable box with some holes in the top before it goes into the fridge—advice that I suspect would benefit most salamis.
A complex porter
“This is a very new product for us: it has only been on the stall for just over a week, so even many of our regular customers will not be familiar with it. I think that the best way to introduce people to this is as part of a charcuterie board with some of the more classic styles, like an air-dried ham, a more traditional salami, and then the venison and bog myrtle salami as well. That would really showcase just how interesting and different it is,” Sean suggests.
“If you are pairing it with drinks, I would suggest a really dark ale—I think a complex porter would go really well with this. The venison flavour really comes through in a quite intense way, so pair it with things that you like drinking with rich venison dishes.”