Butchers Go Dutch in Trailblazing Venture
A North of England butcher will next week become the first in the UK to go for glory at Holland’s premier Easter prime cattle showcase, Paasvee 2017.
Anthony Kitson, who runs Kitson & Sons Butchers, which has three shops in North Yorkshire and Cleveland, will make history when he takes part in the 119th Paasvee, a famous open air cattle showpiece which this year takes place on Wednesday, April 5, in Schagen in the north of the country.
Holland’s media have already picked up on Mr Kitson’s pioneering mission to take on his Dutch counterparts at their own game, describing him as a ‘trailblazer.’
Only last week, he travelled over to visit three farms in southern Holland to pick the animal he has high hopes will make him the first-ever English butcher not only to compete at, but also hopefully win a prize at the annual Dutch highlight.
Mr Kitson settled on a pure-bred British Blue cow from Paul Van Driessen, who farms south-west of Rotterdam. He paid Euros 3,200 for the four-year-old, which has already given birth to two calves and will now carry the hopes of the Kitson team at Paasvee.
Mr Kitson is also out to change perceptions.
“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. 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.
“Their perception is that meat should have no fat, whereas UK butchers prefer fat to allow their customers to enjoy the full flavour of the 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.
“I suppose I am trying to change mindsets here. While Dutch farmers are truly passionate about their livestock they are not as commercially minded as their British counterparts and their product fails to deliver the truly great experience a great British beef steak can.
“Through this pioneering venture we are representing the UK in Europe and all we stand for in meat retailing, cooking and cuisine. 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.”
Win or lose at Paasvee, Kitsons’ entry will return to the UK to be sold at its three shops in High Street, Northallerton, Stephenson Way, Stockton-on-Tees, and North End, Hutton Rudby. “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,” added Mr Kitson.
Kitsons Butchers is already a history maker. Late last year, Anthony Kitson became the first UK butcher to snap up the overall supreme beef champions at all three of the country’s principal Christmas primestock shows – the English Winter Fair, the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and LiveScot – along with the champion bullock from the East of England Smithfield Festival in Peterborough.
The meat from all was prepared specially for this year’s Valentine’s trade. “Customers at all three of our shops couldn’t get enough of it,” said Mr Kitson, who runs the long established business with his two sons, Henry, aged 25, and 24-year-old Oliver.