The story behind The Duke of Berkshire®
In recent years we have been eating less meat, but specifically choosing meat of exceptional quality. Meat that offers a unique taste experience. Meat with a story behind it. Immerse yourself in the story of The Duke of Berkshire®.
Authentic pig breed
The Duke of Berkshire® comes from the Berkshire pig, a rare Celtic breed from the English county of Berkshire. The male pigs (boars) are black with a white snout, white legs and a white tip to the tail. The sows of this English landrace are white or pink. The crossbreed of these pigs eventually became The Duke of Berkshire®. Queen Victoria ordered the pigs to be bred back in the eighteenth century and highly praised the quality, flavour and tenderness of this particular breed. They already chose this meat to serve at banquets celebrating special occasions.
At the end of the twentieth century the Berkshire breed was threatened with extinction: in 1976 only a single boar remained. Fortunately, the pig was rediscovered by several keen breeders. Kees Schepens, a vet and pig expert from the Netherlands, and Stefaan Lambrecht from the Belgian family business Danis, crossed the Berkshire boar with a sow originating from two old-English country breeds. This resulted in ‘The Duke’: excellent meat with an exceptional flavour and tenderness and a balanced ratio between meat and fat.
Unique and top-scoring flavour profile
Many top-class butchers, chefs and food fanatics were soon fans of the pork from The Duke of Berkshire®. This marked the beginning of its international success. In scientific studies the Berkshire breed is praised for it physiological and technical flavour qualities. The narrower and finer muscle fibres combined with exceptional feed produce excellent and succulent meat with a sweet flavour.
The meat is dark pink and marbled, giving it an old-fashioned appearance, and has a lovely texture. The moisture retention is excellent due to the high pH value. This means that the meat hardly shrinks when frying and that little or no juice is lost when cutting. This contributes to the particular flavour profile.
Healthy breeding and safe nutrition
The top quality is certainly also down to the pigs’ careful nurturing. These black-haired porkers are bred in a closed circuit with respect for both the animals and the environment. They spend their lives in an animal-friendly open run with straw and lots of room to move around. This means they suffer little stress. We raise the pigs in spacious and tranquil pens using a carefully composed diet of vegetarian multigrain feed based on cereals and apples.
From birth until adulthood (120 to 130 kg), the pigs remain in their familiar surroundings. They have no contact with other animals, preventing any spread of disease and making the use of antibiotics unnecessary. Tests confirm our consistent meat quality with a rich flavour and exceptional tenderness and succulence. Furthermore, the meat from The Duke of Berkshire® comes from a guaranteed noble and trusted line.