PGI status like ‘winning the lottery’ for Carmarthen Ham

The producers of Carmarthen Ham have revealed their delight for being awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. 

The ham, which takes nine months to produce by dry-curing the leg of a pig, has been in the Rees family for five generations. “Every farm in Wales used to cure their own pigs anyway, but we’ve kept the tradition going,” explained Chris Rees, who runs Albert Rees butchers in Carmarthen, named after his father.

Initially, Carmarthen Ham was produced from pigs in Wales and Britain. However, the European Union told the butcher’s that, in order to obtain PGI status, it had to be produced from EU pigs.

Rees said to Meat Trades Journal that the meat was retailed by the butcher’s, as well as being supplied to one major wholesaler. “It’s very popular among our customers and there has been a lot of celebrity chefs who use it as well. We’ve had Rick Stein down in our shop a few years back and we’ve had Matthew Fort write an article about it.”

Obtaining the PGI status has been six years in the making, with Rees thanking the Welsh Assembly for its help throughout the process.

“It’s like winning the lottery,” he said. “Emotionally, it’s that good.”

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