“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Meat „
I must admit I'm not a big fan of Tesco's range of Finest cooked meats as they have a premium price tag but often the meat inside is no better than that which you can buy on their deli counter. However, I do love a good quality wafer thin ham so when I spotted a few packets of Tesco Finest Wiltshire Cured Wafer Thin Ham reduced to just £1 I decided to buy a couple to eat over the following few days with salads and sandwiches.
When I got home the first thing I noticed was that, as usual, this is a large packet containing not very much ham at all. Due to the fact that it's wafer thin, the ham is twisted and folded in on itself giving the impression that you're getting a lot for your money but really you're paying for the air between the slices - I'd say there is sufficient ham in this packet to make four sandwiches (as long as you don't like too much meaty filling!) or perhaps a couple of plated salads. This isn't really an issue for me as I live alone but this certainly would be an expensive way of buying your ham if you have a large family to feed.
Upon opening the heat sealed packet I was met by a lovely porky/meaty aroma, not the smell you get when you open that horrid Bernard Matthews wafer thin ham (ie. the smell of sweaty and watery meat) but the proper smell of ham which has simply been sliced thinner than usual. It looks great too, the ham slices are not just thrown into the packet and it's obvious that some care has been taken to arrange the pink meat neatly and attractively.
The taste of this ham is absolutely excellent. Forget all thoughts of watery and sticky wafer thin ham, this is proper cured ham which has been sliced very thinly and this is exactly how it tastes. The ham has a rounded meaty flavour and the texture is true to real meat, again I am thinking of the Bernard Matthews wafer thin ham which feels (or tastes) nothing like real meat - my granddaughter would never eat BM ham when she was younger as she always said it tasted "too shiny" and this is actually a very accurate way of describing it.
There were no complaints about this Finest ham though when I did all three of my granddaughters' a ham and pickle sandwich on Sunday, there's a richness to the flavour which indicates that there has been very little water added to the meat and this has got to be good news. There is also very little visible fat on the ham, the occasional slice has a little white fat on the edge but again to me this accentuates the fact that this is proper meat and to use Bernard Matthews as an example again, his ham is so free of fat that it simply cannot be real unadulterated meat as you can't remove every trace of fat (especially from ham, have you ever seen a fat-free pig?) without far too much of a mechanical process.
The ham keeps well in the fridge, I stored what was left for two days in an air tight container and when I came to use the rest to top some soup I was surprised to find it was still as fresh as the day I'd bought it. It was still within it's 'use by' date yet I find ham in general doesn't really keep terribly well once opened, I know some people can eat ham when it's past it's best but I cannot bear it once it begins to get that awful greasy sheen to it - the amount of perfectly edible ham my neighbour's greedy Labrador has had off me just because it looks a bit icky is beyond belief!
Another fantastic thing about this ham is that it's a British product, it's important during the recession to support our own farmers and businesses so this product gets a thumbs up from me for this. It's usual price is around £2.39 a packet, which I think is reasonable considering the high quality of the meat inside and the fact that it has a longer fridge life than most other wafer thin hams.
Tesco Finest Wafer Thin Wiltshire Cured Ham 115g
***What's it like***
Having watched the recent Jamie Oliver programme about pork in this country, I knew that I would have to change my shopping habits. You would have had to have been very hard hearted not to feel sympathy, with regards to how pigs are cared for on farms in general.
Rules and regulations with regard to the conditions these animals are due to change, I think in 2012 - however our farmers have complied earlier and have put most requirements into force now. This puts farmers in this country at a disadvantage with our European neighbours, as keeping pigs in squalid conditions, equals larger profits.
I therefore went in search of some ham that has been not just packed, but farmed in this country, to support British farmers. I chose this ham, because my children like the wafer thin stuff and this was as close to what they used to have as I could find.
The packaging is black and silver and is part of the 'Finest' range of products. It has some information on the front of it about how it is made. It has 19 calories per slice, and 0.6g fat (0.2g saturated fat). Having said this, the slices are hard to separate as it is wafer thin stuff. Salt I felt was quite high at 0.3g of salt per slice, but I do expect this when I buy ham, sausages or pork.
It is pale pink in texture and you can see straight away that this is not the sort of product that has been stuffed with water. There is also a picture of ham on the bone on the front of the packet.
Once the packet is opened you are supposed to consume within two days, but I ignore this, wrap it in greaseproof paper and just use my better judgement!
Ingredients state British pork, Salt and Preservatives.
After watching the programme, I wasn't sure I would eat any meat again! We don't really eat very much in our house, but my children do like a ham sandwich from time to time.
Overall, the ham tasted nice, (the texture is fine too) but it isn't filling at all. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on what you want your calorie intake to be. If you are on a diet, then this can be nice to add to a salad or an omelette. The slices are a bit hard to separate too, so we just stick a pile of it in a sandwich.
I will buy this again, as my children liked it and I felt a bit better buying British. There didn't appear to be additional fat that you sometimes get with ham and not being all sloppy and watery was a definite plus.
By the way, I only found out through watching the programme that Wiltshire ham isn't necessarily made in Wiltshire! This is apparently a method of curing ham! The details of which are outlined on the back of the packet.
It is of course only available in Tesco and is on offer 2 for £4 at the moment, which I think isn't too much to pay, if you are interested in buying a product with the red tractor on it. The shelf life is over one week, so I knew that I would use both packets. I will continue to sample and try other brands of ham, in my search for pork farmed in this country.