Canterbury couple brings home the bacon in Cuisine 2011 Artisan Awards

A couple virtually hand-rearing free-range pigs on a farm near Waimate in South Canterbury has taken the title of Supreme Winner in the third annual Cuisine Artisan Awards, proudly sponsored by Caffe L’affare.

From a high-quality, wide-ranging field of wonderful New Zealand artisan entries, Havoc Prime Pork’s traditionally dry-cured Yorkshire black bacon has been judged the very best by Cuisine magazine’s expert panel.

Ten years ago, Havoc owners Linda and Ian McCallum-Jackson drew up a business plan for the country’s only paddock-to-plate pig farm over dinner at a Dunedin restaurant on a now-framed napkin. They make bacon “the way it used to be”, with no added liquid and smoked using natural fruit woods, not a chemical liquid painted on as in many commercial versions.

Linda and Ian McCallum-Jackson of Havoc Farm

Their Yorkshire black bacon started as a family favourite which they began to sell at the Otago Farmers’ Market in 2009. Rekindling memories of the way bacon used to taste, customer reaction said it all and today the McCallum-Jacksons keep two butchers and one apprentice busy fulltime in Waimate.

“We feel like we jumped off a cliff to do this, so it’s extra special to receive such an honour. It validates everything we are doing,” says Linda.

Havoc’s bacon was one of just 12 winning products selected by Cuisine from a shortlist of 35 impressive products. Says head judge, Cuisine deputy food editor Fiona Smith: “From specialty jams, honey and pastes, to hot-smoked salmon, gourmet yoghurts and puddings, the 2011 entrants covered a wide range of locally crafted products and they were all standouts. New Zealand’s artisan food producers are on a roll.”

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