We’ve been working on a very exciting project, Fazendeiros. It’s something we plan to have on the menu in 2020, but since we’re so excited about it, we thought that this week we’d share a sneak peek with you.
The Origins of Retired Dairy Cow Meat
In late 2018, we spoke with our suppliers here in the UK about how we can change the fate of a dairy cow. For years, dairy cows have faced an inglorious end in the mincer, destined for low grade processed foods when their milking lives finish. We want to bring a change to this in the UK, and we’re going to tell you how.
Around 10 years ago, farmers from the Basque Country in Northern Spain started turning these ‘low quality’ cows into prime cuts of beef, for the good of our palates, as well as the planet.
Decades ago, it used to be standard practice to eat older animals. It was known that the longer an animal lives on a good diet, the more intense the flavour of the meat would be. Unfortunately, supermarkets have changed consumer patterns, and have driven demand for cheap meat from intensely farmed cattle. This cattle is fattened quickly and slaughtered young, sometimes at only 15 months. Even as recently as the late 90s, cattle over 30 months old was banned from the food chain, but thankfully those times are in the past.
In early 2016, the UK started to discover this new style of beef coming from Spain, and it only took a short period of time for farmers here to start replicating their methods. It made sense, with the UK having the biggest dairy industry in Europe.
How is it Produced?
Despite seeming like a common sense move, it isn’t easy to turn hard-working diary cows into premium beef. They need to be ‘finished’ with a grazing period, so they can recover from the exhausting milk production process (which can last for around 10 years), and fatten up. Their diet needs to be modified for at least 18 months to enhance the meat’s flavour. Implementing this process will be key for the future of the dairy farmers, as it’s adding value to meat that previously had none.
Why We’re Bringing it to our Menu
We have already tried out early tests of this special meat, and the results are incredible. Due to the diet provided over the last 18 months, the meat has a beautiful marbling of fat that creates a very intense flavour, with a delicate tenderness making it melt in your mouth.
We’re extremely happy with it, and we believe that these cows deserve to be put to better use than low quality mince.
Keep your eyes peeled, because we will be letting you know early next year when this meat will be introduced into our Food Menu as a Butcher’s Choice.