We grow our amazing Great Taste Gold winning venison (deer) in one of the most beautiful locations in Devon, about 4 miles from Pipers Farm.
The drive up to the house is simply spectacular. Far in the distance, you can see the strong turrets shape of the classic Georgian pile peeping out through the tall trees who have stood there for many a year. In the fields below the trees there you’ll see a narrow river running down off the Exe estuary. Between the old oak and cedar trees and the little meandering river lies a vast field alive with Parkland Fallow Deer. Simply breathtaking. They live like lords and ladies in the grounds of the old house. Not a drop out of place beneath the historic building and ancient woodland. They are incredibly graceful.
For this grace and beauty is often their downfall when it comes to eating these incredible beasts. Unfortunately, many people feel they are simply ‘too sweet’, ‘too cute’ or ‘too pretty’ to eat. The dreaded name ‘Bambi’ is all too often mentioned. Our hearts full remembering sweet little Bambi trying to take his first wobbly steps into the big wide world after suffering through a horrible start to life. We were all rooting for him. It’s this emotional attachment that often leads to Venison being forgotten as a source of delicious, lean protein as part of our diet - something of a crime, I feel.
Thankfully, venison is slowly shrugging off cutesy ‘Bambi’ image, and the notion that it’s only enjoyed by the wealthy with an expensive bottle of red. In truth, venison is an incredibly versatile meal. Its fine texture makes it the perfect ingredient for slow stews, comforting casseroles, succulent steaks, lean burgers and really special roasts.
Cooking venison is a game of two halves. For the chops, and saddle you must cook fast and leave to rest. For the shoulder and breast meat, you need a little patience, as this must be cooked low and slow to get the best results. If you want to eat venison as a joint or a steak, it is best cooked rare to make the most of its fine grained texture and succulent, light, gamey taste.
In any shape or form, venison is a wonderful treat to enjoy at this time of year, one that shouldn’t be missed. Bambi or beast, venison is in my mind the king of the autumnal feast.