There seem to be two reactions to the sausages, salamis, jerky and hams on Wild Game Meat’s stall in Bury St Edmunds Market.
Sales manager Paulius Gelezauskas said: “Some people are really excited to see us and jump straight in and try everything straight away.
“Then there are people giving a funny face. Usually, if they are husband and wife, one does that, then the other tries it and encourages them to and they are surprised. We get very few who don’t like it.”
Everything on the stall is made of wild game from the vast forests of Lithuania by traditional hunters’ recipes.
Most is venison, from red and roe deer and elk, though they also do some beef and pork salami on the stall outside Mountain Warehouse.
Paulius explains: “Traditional salami is air dried but ours is cold smoked. These sausages are hot smoked, so they are softer with a different taste.
“Hot smoking is when the smoke is still hot. When it’s cold smoked, the smoke goes through a funnel so it’s cold and it’s a longer process.”
This gives the sausages a shelf life of a couple of weeks while salamis should last two or three months.
“With the dried meat and cold smoked, it’s got a date on it but, really, it’s not going to go off,” Paulius adds.
So how are the products eaten in his homeland?
“With the salami we might make a sandwich for breakfast with a cup of tea – no milk in the tea,” he said. “In the afternoon you eat it as a starter. You’d slice a variety and have a big plate on the table for people to take what they want.
“The sausages are served in the same way as sausages here. We say they’re best with some mash and fresh salad, but so many ways work with them.
“They can be eaten cold because they are smoked so they are pre-cooked, but you can fry them, grill them or boil them in a soup.”
Jerky is eaten as a snack and Paulius says it goes well with a beer when watching football. But he adds: “Now we have a new type of customer who buys it – people who are keeping fit because its huge on protein but with no fat.”
You can taste all the products and, after the smokiness it is the leanness of the venison that comes though. There is no fattiness to the taste.
Newmarket-based Wild Game Meat attends markets all over East Anglia and is at Bury on Wednesdays and Saturdays, plus Sundays until Christmas.