Following his recent visit to Sweden, John Sadler was pleased with the customer and market feedback. Gustaf Kugelberg played host along with Shannon Campbell and Mikael Granberg.
The Mountain River team was in Gothenburg with Martin & Servera, Sweden's leading restaurant and catering specialists. Here's a first-hand account of the recent visit from Shannon. Watch the video or read what Shannon said below.
In welcoming the Martin & Servera team, Shannon shared that being in Sweden is always a pleasure. He begins ... thanks for having us. It is a delight when companies take the time to invite us in and let us do our presentation. We appreciate that and could only do it with our market partners in each country. So it is really special for us to have this opportunity.
My name is Shannon, and I'm from New Zealand. I travel around and present New Zealand venison in all its glory. I also tell people what makes the venison in New Zealand different from the wild venison they may be used to.
One significant thing to remember is that we are working with farmed animals. It can be challenging to separate these from wild game in our minds. This is especially true for Europeans, as deer are wild game animals. Traditionally, beef, sheep, and lamb were wild animals. But it is such a long time ago that we have forgotten.
But the farming practices we use in New Zealand are of the highest quality and standard. This means we are working with a very different flavour profile and tenderness of the meat, and the way we process the meat is of the highest standard.
So we are not working with a wild animal, which means we can do things really differently from what we would do with a wild animal.
Today, we are working with Mountain River. It is a fantastic company because they go further and have some beautiful special cuts. The special cuts we will use today are the Bolar, Baby Topside, and diced venison.
So my job is to use it in a way you may not have expected. And through that, to educate you on the tenderness and quality of the meat.
So that is why we do some things like make sushi or use diced venison, which we would generally slow cook, and make goulash from. And I'm just going to run that through the pan, and then you will try it five minutes after I have cooked it. And you will realise the quality of the meat is so good that even the diced can be eaten quickly when you do it in a pan. So what that means for chefs is you are opening up new possibilities.
It means a chef can take the diced and make a skewer, a shish kebab, in summer and serve it from the BBQ. There is no need to take the diced and cook it for hours.
We have a few things we are going to try out. First, we will take this sushi rice and try a classic nigiri. To do that, we take the seaweed. This is the Konbu. For those who know it, it is used for making a miso stock. It darkens when we lay the venison between the seaweed for an hour or two. And the salt in the seaweed has drawn the moisture out of the meat. So it has preserved it slightly, and then the flavor gets imparted from the seaweed into the meat.
I do this because this is a traditional Maori way of preserving seabirds in New Zealand. So they would have taken kelp leaves. They cut those open and put the bird inside with the hot fat, sew them up and put them inside other leaves, and then sew them up. Then they could keep that in a cold cave for up to six months. So this is a homage to how they used to do that. It is what humans have always tried to do; they have always tried to find a way to preserve food to make it last longer for when needed.
Shannon sums up by noting that his role is to use the venison in ways the team may not expect and demonstrate the meat's tenderness and quality.
With that, Shannon cooked the three dishes so the Martin & Servera team could taste the Mountain River venison cooked to perfection.