A trade party of leading figures from the Italian red meat industry embarked on a farm-to-fork fact-finding mission in south Wales last week as part of HCC’s expanding Italian export activity.
The 21-strong Cesenam-based group of Italian importers took in a traditional mountain farm and a sophisticated cookery course run by Angela Gray during their 48-hour stay.
Between them, the group, which included importers and their key clients, have arrangements to distribute PGI Welsh Lamb to Italian restaurants, hotels and retailers. They are currently buying from three of Wales’ main abattoirs after HCC enabled the international contacts from networking activity at international industry sales event, such as Anuga in Cologne, which is taking place this weekend.
“Italy absorbs a high percentage of loin cuts and smaller carcases which are a speciality of Welsh producers while, generally, the reputation of branded PGI Welsh Lamb among importers in Italy continues to rise in what is an increasingly important market for our producers,” said Laura Pickup, Market Development Manager at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).
“The incredible pulling power of Anuga, in bringing together Wales’ top processors with significant European buyers and importers - has strongly contributed to the development of a multi million pound market from a pretty near standing start a few years ago,” she said.
The group of importers undertook a plant tour to examine the latest industry facilities, packaging techniques and high animal welfare standards.They then visited a traditional sheep farm in Hirwaun, closing the day by tasting the end result - a Welsh Lamb celebration dinner at a Cardiff restaurant where they joined up with Welsh exporting processors.
The group also visited Angela Gray’s cooking school, where HCC staged a butchery demonstration from a local south Wales butcher, followed by a cookery demonstration and lunch by Angela Gray.