UK butcher to make history at Dutch prime cattle showcase

A North Yorkshire butcher will become the first in the UK to take part in Holland’s premier Easter prime showcase, Paasvee 2017, next week.

Anthony Kitson, who runs Kitson & Sons which has three shops in North Yorkshire and Cleveland, will attend the event, now entering its 119th year, when it takes place in the north of Holland on Wednesday 5 April 2017.

The butcher has already visited farms in the south of the country to pick the animal he hopes will make him the first-ever English butcher to not only compete, but hopefully win a prize at the Dutch event.

Kitson finally decided to settle on a pure-bred British Blue cow from Paul Van Driessen, who farms in south-west Rotterdam. The four-year-old cow was bought for €3,200 and has already given birth to two calves.

“I have chosen the beast that I feel will best suit the UK market – one that I would and will sell in my own shops,” he said. “However, the Dutch do things differently and do not seem to have the same confidence in their own product as we do, primarily because of the health lobby over there.”

The butcher explained that he hopes to change the opinions of the Dutch industry. “Their perception is that meat should have no fat, whereas UK butchers prefer fat to allow their customers to enjoy the full flavour of their meat. The cow I chose has a covering of fat on it and it remains to be seen if the adjudicators at Paasvee will pick up on the eatability of the animal or simply concentrate on the look and aesthetics of the cattle they are judging. I am hoping they will take heed of the fat covering and eatability.

Kitson said that although Dutch farmers were passionate about their livestock, they did not have the same commercial sensibility as Britain, which meant their product failed to deliver the same experience as a British steak can.

“Through this pioneering venture we are representing the UK in Europe and all we stand for in meat retailing, cooking and cuisine,” he commented. “Dutch butchers already recognise that we have the best meat in the world and I want to show them what they should be aiming for.”

Regardless of the outcome, Kitson’s entry will return to the UK to be sold at his three shops. “This will allow our customers to both view and taste the difference of what is perceived as a very good quality animal in Holland against our own UK-produced meat.”

Last year, Kitson became the first UK butcher to buy the overall supreme beef champion at all three of England’s principal Christmas primestock shows, as well as the champion bullock at the East of England Smithfield Festival in Peterborough.

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