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Digital Subscriptions > delicious. Magazine > Apr-17 > “You need to be innovative in this world”

“You need to be innovative in this world”

Susan Low takes the high road to Scotland to meet Anja and Jan Jacob Baak of Great Glen Charcuterie, who led the way in putting British cured meats on the international map. This is food artistry at its best, and if you haven’t tried it now’s the time – but it’s a delicacy that almost never came into being


Jan Jacob is telling me how he and his wife Anja transform wild deer into charcuterie: “I can’t reveal exactly what goes into our venison salami,” he says guardedly. It’s not unusual, when I meet producers, to be told recipes are top secret but recipes are more than just a list of ingredients and instructions. They’re also a combination of expertise, people and place mixed with a few elements of chance. As Jan Jacob tells me how his venison salami came into being, he’s sharing a special and unique recipe.

The Great Glen Charcuterie story has its roots in Holland and its base in rural Scotland. Jan Jacob’s journey from student to wild-meat charcutier is full of twists and turns. Tall and dark, with an intellectual intensity, he admits he has a low threshold for boredom. He grew up near The Hague, moving to the countryside when he was eight, at which point he became fascinated by farming. Later he trained as a veterinarian and studied environmental science and biology, but his studies were cut short when he developed the long-term illness myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).


“It was a blow,” he recalls. “The doctors told me there was no cure, that I had to rest and not study too much. For me, actually, that was a ticket to freedom as I used the time to think about and plan setting up my own business.” He worked as an interim farmer on estates doing everything from dairy to fish and eel farming, then started breeding koi carp (not for the table…).

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About delicious. Magazine

The April issue of delicious. is packed full of Easter fun: a prep-ahead feast with timeplan, Nathan Outlaw’s outrageously good pies, Mary Berry’s perfect scones, seasonal bakes and a family quiz. And what would Easter be without chocolate? Try our dreamy choc puddings and make your own designer eggs. After all the fun, relax with one-pan midweek suppers and ideas for leftovers and money-saving meals. Plus all the tips and techniques to make you a better cook and a free egg recipe supplement.