Kiwis are recognising the health and taste benefits of venison and are starting to see it as a year-round option. They’re also becoming more adventurous with how they cook it, according to Duncan Venison, which has reported a surge in demand from consumers and professional chefs in the run up to spring and summer.
The company is selling considerable quantities of venison to restaurants and home cooks per week, with no sign of sales slowing down as the warmer weather approaches. This includes the “Bistro Fillet from Pāmu Farms,” a tender, pan ready cut that was developed earlier this year, and is now on the menu at restaurants such as The Sugar Club, Sails Restaurant, The French Café, Paris Butter, and Clooney.
Since the 1st July launch, sales of Bistro Fillet have exceeded budgeted volumes by over 50 per cent with a number of restaurants still to change over to their spring menu.
“In the past, there was this misconception that venison was gamey and hard to cook. People also thought that venison was a winter or autumn dish, best paired with a heavier mash or berry sauce,” explains Vinnie Duncan, co-owner of Duncan Venison.
“That attitude is changing. Consumers and chefs are realising that it actually has a very delicate taste, and doesn’t require much effort in the kitchen. They are also starting to understand that it’s a nutritious, sustainable meat that is grown and available all year round. We’re seeing a lot of creative spring dishes on menus – from venison salads to carpaccio’s and risottos.”
Vinnie believes that on-going innovation and education is key to making venison more appealing and accessible to both restaurants and home cooks.