Jan Jacob and Anja Baak never imagined that they would become Scotland's leading charcuterie producer when they moved from the Netherlands to the Scottish Highlands in 2000.
They had been offered a job on a Scottish Country estate and this seemed to be the prefect opportunity to move their growing family to live in the remote and beautiful countryside.
Part of Jan Jacob’s job was the management of the wild deer population and he fell in love with the delicious meat. Always full of new ideas, Jan Jacob soon started to experiment with the venison and built a wooden box in the garden to smoke the meat. Friends and family loved his experiments and encouraged him to start a business.
A friend owned an old derelict Butchershop in Roy Bridge and Jan Jacob managed to get the lease. The building had been empty for many years and after kitting it out into a state of the art processing unit they started Great Glen Game.
Sourcing the deer from the surrounding estates has always been very important for Jan Jacob. He knows the stalkers and estate workers who manage the wild deer population. Because there are no natural predators anymore the wild deer population has to be managed to a sustainable level. The deer roam freely in the Scottish hills and feed on heather, wild plants and grass making venison a delicious healthy meat. It is low in fat, high in iron and a very sustainable meat source for the charcuterie products.
Over the years Jan Jacob developed new recipes and is still always trying to improve the products. The company now sells a range of salamis, chorizos, bresaola and smoked venison to independent retailers across the country. The charcuterie is also used by chefs and on the menu of the countries best restaurants.
In the early years of the company Jan Jacob was still employed on the Estate and the business was run parttime but in 2010 he gave up his day job to concentrate full time on Great Glen Game. By that time their family had grown to 6 children and when the youngest started school Anja got involved full time and is now responsible for marketing and sales.
It was a great acknowledgement for Jan Jacob’s hard work when the Green Pepper Salami was awarded Charcuterie product of the Year at the Great Taste Awards in 2013.
Living and working in the Scottish Highlands is very important for Jan Jacob and Anja and they love spending time with their children in the countryside. Now the children are older they are more involved in the business with the older girls running farmers markets and tastings.
Few years ago the company changed it’s name to Great Glen Charcuterie to reflect the changes they had made over the years. Starting off in 2003 with selling fresh meat and Charcuterie the company now focusses solely on Charcuterie.