We caught up with Henrietta Green, founder of British Characuterie.live
1. HENRIETTA, YOU ARE A BIT OF A FOOD PIONEER! WHERE DID THIS LOVE OF FOOD ALL BEGIN?
I feel like my love of food has been with me since I was born really… There was only one thing I didn’t like as a child which was bananas – and now I love them. I have very strong food memories from a very young age. One of my strongest memories is of going abroad for the first time when I was four and eating tomatoes in the South of France. They just had such a vibrant sweetness – rich and warm and tasted of the sun. I also used to love going to the high street every week on a Tuesday, because that was the day that they made malt bread which was just delicious – sticky and fruity!
2. YOU ARE IN FACT ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF FOODIE HEAVEN, BOROUGH MARKET. HAVE YOU SEEN MUCH OF A CHANGE SINCE IT BEGAN 20 YEARS AGO?
When I launched the consumer market at Borough Market with my FoodLovers Fair, we had 50 stalls and every single one of them had been hand-picked by me. Each stand was a British farmer, grower or food producer which for me was the essence of Borough Market; that it could, and perhaps should be a showcase of all the interesting and vibrant food that we make, grow and produce in Britain. Nowadays, it’s a much more international market, so of course, it has changed hugely in its character and identity. There also seems to be a lot of food-to-go stalls which 20 years ago didn’t even exist!
3. YOU’VE RECENTLY LAUNCHED BRITISH CHARCUTERIE.LIVE, CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS A BIT MORE ABOUT IT?
I think that British charcuterie is one of the most interesting and developing areas of food production in this country and that’s why I launched British Charcuterie.Live. My aim is to make it the home for British charcuterie. We’re hosting the BritishCharcuterie Awards at the BritishCharcuterie Tent at BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace from August 2nd – 5th and this is just the first step! The aim of BritishCharcuterie.live is to give Food Lovers the chance to hear about how vibrant and delicious British produce is and understand more about all the fantastic different types of charcuterie. That’s why we also launched our Instagram competition to find Britain’s Best Charcuterie Boards for any restaurant, bar or member of the public to enter.
All they need do is post an image of the award-worthy charcuterie board on Instagram, tag @britainsbestcharcuterieboards and @tracklements, add the hashtag #BBCharcuterieBoards and identify the location. If you look at where British cheeses were 25 years ago, or English wines 15 years ago, compared to now – that’s what we want to achieve with charcuterie. We really just want to recognise and celebrate the wonderful range of charcuterie being made across the country right now – and encourage everyone to go out and eat more of it!
4. YOU’VE PUBLISHED A PRETTY IMPRESSIVE LIST OF COOKERY BOOKS COVERING ALL TYPES OF CUISINE, DO YOU HAVE A CULINARY FAVOURITE?
What I really like most of all is great ingredients – quality, properly made and well sourced ingredients. I think it’s great to do as little as you can to the produce, so that their true nature, character and taste shines through. That’s the one thing that I was trying to achieve with my Farmer’s Market Cookbook. The idea was to encourage people to shop for fresh food on a regular basis and try and get the best quality food they can afford.
5. DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE LONDON FOOD SPOTS?
It’s always changing! I’m a very keen shopper, so markets in general are probably where you’ll find me in the daytime. I love going down to Brixton market, or Billingsgate Market on an early morning to look at the fish. In terms of eating out, Angela Hartnett does it for me every time at Murano. I’m also a fan of Ben Tish (he does wonderful charcuterie) and recently I visited Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden and was blown away by Adam’s incredibly inventive food! That’s why I chose these chefs to be part of the amazing panel of judges for the final of British Charcuterie Awards. All our judges are incredibly exciting and dynamic influencers in the food industry and they really care about good quality ingredients.
6. WHAT WOULD YOUR PERFECT SUNDAY IN LONDON LOOK LIKE?
Obviously, foodie based! I like to be outside as much as possible, eating as locally sourced as possible, fresh food. My perfect day would be hot and sunny, and I’d pop down to my local farmers market in Queens Park. I’d buy fresh crabs, good leaves and bread and cheese, then make some wonderful crab sandwiches to eat with friends in the park. Maybe we’d go look at some gardens and then come back and barbecue some meaty sausages, steaks or chicken from the farmers market. There would also be lots of nicely chilled English sparkling wine. It would be a perfect day full of wonderful ingredients and delightful friends.