Let’s Meet Our Meat and Charcuterie Expert

Yannick De Mesmaeker, our Cactus Meat and Charcuterie Expert and a professional in this sector for 23 years, shares his passion for his work:

How did you become an expert in your field of work? What did you study?

I trained as a bio-engineer, specialising in food-processing. I developed my expertise in my field of work primarily through experience and through working in production and in-store: over many years, I’ve visited lots of farms and production units and for years I’ve worked with highly experienced professionals – but most importantly, I’m passionate about product quality and flavour. My objective is to earn our customers’ loyalty and their trust in us. Also, at home I’m a passionate cook and love trying out new recipes at the weekend.

What is your passion for your work?

It stems from my interest in understanding how products are made and in creating a product range to ensure that customers seeking both choice and quality always choose Cactus first. At the weekend, I often test our products, for example, I experiment with different seasonings (marinades, spices) and different ways of cooking (slow cooking). Of course, this personal hobby means that I’m able to pass on tips to our sales staff so that they can give our customers the best possible advice. One example is Iberico pork, to bring out its full flavour and tenderness, it should be served just slightly pink, like veal.

When did you start working for Cactus?

I’ve been working for Cactus for 23 years.

Could you give us a favourite recipe (tapas & finger food) for one of your products?

A favourite recipe is barbecued Iberico pork racks. Reared in unique conditions in the open countryside in Spain, Iberico pigs feed mostly on acorns on extensive wild meadowlands (Dehasa). It’s this foraging that develops the (nutty) flavour and the meat’s characteristic fat which ensures that it’s nice and juicy and has a delicate texture.

For a delicious tapas evening with family or friends, I’d suggest a platter of mixed deli meats, which includes 100% Bellota ham (aged 42 months), and very thinly sliced chorizo and lomo. Serve with a Pains & Tradition slow-baked baguette, some tasty Luxembourg butter and a glass of 2016 Cune Rioja Crianza red wine.