Charcutier, cyclist and cowboy at heart, Real Food Company founder Jeremy Freemantle recently completed a three-day horse safari but he’s back in the Karoo where he’s passionate about making premium pork products.
We quickly caught up with him regarding his culinary speciality – charcuterie – and we’d like to share with you why we love his unique set of product offerings so much and why he is Sol’s sole supplier of fine cured meats.
Real Food Company: An introduction
Master charcutier and well-rounded chef Jeremy Freemantle has been a friend and mentor to chef Solon since he was a boy. Jeremy has a far-reaching understanding of the culinary world and above all, he is a passionate teacher. As well as many other culinary ventures, The Real Food Company in the Great Karoo town of Prince Albert specialises in producing a variety of charcuterie for the Sol’s brand.
What exactly is charcuterie?
We thought that Jeremy would be a pretty good guy to ask!
“Charcuterie is basically the French word for the ancient art of curing meat. It dates back to before Roman times and the process was developed out of necessity. Simply put, when there was an abundance of meat, it was preserved with salt to provide for leaner times.”Jeremy Freemantle on charcuterie
The charcuterie we are most familiar with is the traditional Spanish and Italian offerings, such as Parma ham, culatello, coppa, salami, Jamon & chorizo. The RFC’s charcuterie is made exclusively from whey-fed pork sourced from Gay’s Guernsey Dairy where the pigs are fed milk whey from the cheese-making process. These pigs live in the sunshine and clean Karoo air, snuffling in the dirt as pigs should. Jeremy’s pork product range is made in a traditional way with no flavour enhancers, relying on the quality of the product to provide the essence and time to do the rest.
Jeremy’s culatello, something we have already waxed lyrical about, runs parallel to his coppa as the Real Food Company’s premium offerings. Coppa is cured pork neck with distinctive fat marbling and an unmistakably intense flavour and is a sensational snack at braai & rugby time or the perfect champion item on a sourdough sandwich. The Cold Cut hamper contains these premium items and more. Jeremy’s coppa, culatello and cooking are of the highest order.
Jeremy’s pork production line had to start somewhere, however, and humble rashers of bacon happened to be the origin of it all. His sublime streaky and back bacon is a flagship charcuterie item for the Real Food Company and, just like homemade pasta, the real deal cooks in next to no time and it’s just about the best thing in the world.
The Real Food Company’s offerings
The Real Food Company’s multi-tiered offering is a unique one but all branches of the business are geared towards food enthusiasts and charcuterie lovers. In a nutshell, the RFC covers the following:
- Tapas/bistro-style restaurant
- Charcuterie production
- Cooking experiences & tailored courses
- Gourmet cycle tours
The RFC exists as a restaurant for three nights a week from Thursday to Saturday inclusive, and Jeremy designs and hosts tailored cooking classes where participants learn to make their own bacon, sausage, chorizo and more. Don’t be surprised if an arbitrator comes to judge the final products! Jeremy recently ran a course with fellow charcuterie and pork/cold meats aficionado Richard Bosman, something that the pair of food-fanatic friends do as often as possible.
Just a cursory glance at the menu and it’s clear that the Real Food Company is serious about quality rather than quantity. The offering changes according to seasonality and ingredient availability, but don’t be surprised to see Thai red tomato & coconut soup, charcuterie platters, South East Asian vegetable curry, Karoo mutton curry, roast pork belly & crème brûlée on offer. Portions are Karoo-sized and Jeremy has also recently conquered his fear of making desserts.
If you’re ever in the Karoo town of Prince Albert, give Jeremy a call and arrange to eat his at his restaurant or swing by and pick up some charcuterie and share a glass of wine with a man who enjoys the finer things in life. And there are very few things as fine as charcuterie!