SNACK ATTACK , WILD WEST BEEF JERKY . Oh for a substitute to chips and crisps. _ Well, there is a novel product that might just be about to make a market breakthrough: beef jerky. Rarely seen on these shores, it’s a popular snack in the western US made of dried cured beef, occasionally flavoured, that is low in fat and high in protein.

Sometimes sold in strips, sometimes in bite size pieces, it’s delicious, but practically unseen in Europe because of trade bans on hormone heavy US beef. But Richard Davies, an enterprising 30-year-old Welsh man who lives on the Isle of Lewis has a web-based, mail-order company - Wild West Beef Jerky - now shipping this snack across the UK. He uses Latin American beef that doesn’t have the same EU restrictions.

Orders have jumped from about £60 a month last summer to upwards of £4,000 in March 2002. ‘I got into jerky because I love it,’ says Davies, who was introduced to the snack by a visiting American fisherman about four years ago. He tried making jerky himself, but to no avail, so he decided to import. His jerky comes in three flavours: original, hot peppered and teriyaki. The latter is the sweetest, most tender product and Davies’ personal favourite. But peppered and original more closely resemble true jerky: spicy, seriously chewy and oddly habit forming, too.

Although Davies’ supplier is Rocky Mountains-based King 8 Inc, it has a production facility in Uruguay. King 8 boasts a recipe that ‘most closely resembles the method used by Native Americans and early explorers’.

While jerky isn’t exactly cheap - Wild West sells 1009 for £4.10 - it is loaded with protein, lacking fat and low in calories. ‘The only thing against Jerky is its price,’ says Davies. ‘But there is still demand in the luxury end snacking market. Many people eat jerky to help give up smoking and not put on weight; others are on the low carb Atkins diet. And some - like me - just love it.’

(Barry Shelby)

I For more information or to order: Visit www. wildwestjerky. co. uk, email info@wildwest/erl<y. co. uk, or telephone: 07857 672700 or 0870 74 75948.

A personal view of jerky delights. Words: Mark Robertson

Being brought up on pepperami, pork scratchings and scotch pies, l have absolutely no fear of meaty snacks. So the challenge of taste testing a legend was an honour. Far from the image of grizzled cowboys chowing down on great

with savoury tang: the ‘original’ naturally smoked style is chewy without being a struggle, while the ‘hot peppered' version has some kick without being a callous assault on the senses. The teriyaki flavour is a softer. sweeter

Food , rink

ONLINE GOURMET SHOP ESPERYA.COM Italian specialities in 24 hours What’s the story? wwwesperyacom is the answer to all Italian foodies' prayers. Set up in 1998 by Antonio Tombolini, it now receives the most hits of any online European gourmet shop. The philosophy is to recover true local ltalian specialties and make them available globally. Tell me about the products At number one in the charts is t "‘ * the buffalo mozzarella from Campana; imagine it with ripe tomato and basil . . . mmmm. Other best sellers include Gianduia (hazelnut and chocolate) spread. Latini spaghetti. classic Tuscan salami by Falorni and U Trappitu extra virgin olive oil. There are over 1000 products to choose from. ,w I But how long’ll it take to land on my rustic table? Here's the good bit: just 24 hours or you'll receive compensation. Espeiya has a warehouse from which all its products are deSpatched. reaching you in prime condition. Great. But doesn’t the supermarket stock the same stuff? 'Tis true that the supeizi‘arket stocks food from Italy. but does it stock these brands? Does it have violet asparagus erll‘. Alhenga? Monache beans from the Calabrian mountains? l thought not. And my wallet? That Will remain as full or empty as you desire. with gourmet pasta coming in at around $31.50 a pack or if you're feeling flush. about $335 for a bottle of balsamic vinegar. Will it turn me into a food bore? Most probably. But who cares when you can close your eyes. tuck in and imagine the Italian sun beating down on your back? (Louisa Pearson; I If you would like to Win {‘50 to spend on esperyacom. just send us an email marked 'ESPERYA' to proni()tioiis'a>list.cot/k or an postcard to The List, 74 High St. Edinburgh, EH] 1 T E by Friday 72 April and tell us 'What type of food does specialize in ?’. Please include a daytime telephone number.

lumps of shoe leather, this is rather civilised and unlike many ‘meaty' snacks, it actually tastes like something meaty and robust enough to stop snickering veggies in their tracks.

It might not look like much (small chunks or 6in strips of reddish-brown meat), but it’s got it where it counts. Salty and filled

proposition. a good starting point for any jerky virgin. And it all lacks the greasy, plastic texture of pepperami and might be likened to a chunk of quality firm German sausage.

Given keen distribution. beef jerky could have a big impact on my snacking life. A visit to the pie shop could be forever tainted.

On Sunday afternoon our e/Jefi prepare a superb and innovative menu. Relax and enjoy a wonderfulflair-course lune/7 and a glass of fizz.

Excellent value at £17.50 per person.

C.“ i\.':.‘:' " "xi" THE LIST 117