Activities have ramped up ahead of Europe’s traditional game season in the Northern Hemisphere autumn and winter, which runs from October through to March.
At the end of September, Deer Industry NZ’s executive chef, Graham Brown, returned from a three-week European tour setting the groundwork for New Zealand venison’s Game Season. He and Europe-based chef Shannon Campbell, another familiar face for this sector, were involved in activities supporting exporters and in-market partners in Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Brown reports that Europe was very warm with the summer that keeps on giving, “So, the start of the venison season is going to be late. However, in Sweden and Europe, our promotions were very timely with chefs from our events ordering good quantities for their new menus,” he says.
“There was a lot of interest in the new cuts and some of the less expensive ones as the prices are at the tipping point on the saddle and even the leg. Chefs love anything different and challenging so it all fits rather well in extending their repertoire of cuts and is a great opportunity for us to get better value from the carcase,”he says. We have had good feedback from our ventures so let’s hope the autumn / winter season delivers good sales.”
The Swedish activity – which has involved a weeks worth of demonstrations and hand-ons chef and buyer education– has gone particularly well, reports DINZ venison marketing manager Nick Taylor, adding he was delighted to learn Campbell has already been invited back to do some more classes.
In Belgium, they worked for another week with importer Bimpex, which partners with venison exporters Alliance Group and Duncan NZ Ltd. Later, they also supported importers Kiplama at the Gastvrij Rotterdam hospitality show in the Netherlands.
Taylor says Campbell has also been supporting Silver Fern Farms with doing magazine photoshoots for the game season promotions, as well as continuing to undertake in-store tastings in wholesale markets where chefs shop.
One of the next Game Season promotional activities in his diary is Busche Gala, an annual event in Germany where the country’s gourmet guide is launched and which attracts chefs and hoteliers. New Zealand Venison (Neuseelandhirsch) will have a presence at the function following the ceremony, where chef Matthais Geliß from Berlin’s Volt restaurant will be prepare a dish to share with the other attending chefs.
“We will also be holding three special press dinners around Germany. Each event will be hosted by a prestigious chef who is a supporter of New Zealand venison,” says Taylor.
This article first appeared in Deer Industry News magazine (October/November 2018) and is reproduced here with permission. Check out the magazine for more in-depth deer industry specific news.