The secrets of Coren’s Selecta Range, pork from pigs fed with chestnuts
A 100% Galician meat, which is more marbled, juicier and tastier, with a special touch provided by the chestnuts. These are the characteristics that define Coren’s Selecta Range, from pigs that are fed with chestnuts and that, since its market launch in 2012, has been a great success among consumers.
Coren’s Selecta Range is the result of an R&D project based on three pillars: a breed selected to facilitate fat marbling, traditional rearing with maximum animal welfare and food based on chestnuts, essential to achieve the best flavour of the meat.
Coren’s productive reorientation towards differentiated high quality, value-added products is reflected in the Strategic Plan for the Selecta Range 2016-2018. The objective of the cooperative from Ourense is to ensure that the production of the Selecta Range pork in 2018 reaches more than 22.8 million kilos. The forecasts with regard to the ham is to next year sell more than 208,000 units and some 377,000 kilograms of Selecta ‘Lacon’ (pork shoulder).
“Kuri Buta” or Selecta Range pork has already been widely introduced into Japan
In 2016 Coren sold more 12 million kilos of Selecta meat that year, a product covered by the Galicia Quality (Galicia Calidade) seal. Selecta sales are primarily concentrated in Spain and Japan, together with other European and Asian markets. And this is because the Kuri Buta, the name give to Selecta there, has been widely introduced into Japan, among other markets such as China.
Rearing with the maximum well-being is fundamental in this range, since in order to achieve the best flavour of the meat, it is essential that the animals are reared stress-free. For this reason, Selecta Range pigs are reared with all the farmers’ care and go out into the Galician fields, in a peaceful environment.
Toys, music and reared without stress to achieve a tastier meat
The farms have toys (balls, tree trunks, teethers…), classical music and other amenities. Thanks to this rearing the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, is reduced and hormones are generated that raise the levels of well-being, which in the end, leads to a tastier meat.
But, without a doubt, the key to the success of this range lies in the feeding of the pigs with Galician chestnuts. The pigs enjoy a completely natural feed based on Galician chestnuts, thus recovering the tradition of Galicia, where pigs were fed with chestnuts during the months prior to their slaughter, which gave a special flavour to the meat.
For 2017 Coren has purchased more than 3,000 tons of chestnut, 50% more than last year
Chestnuts that are destined to feed the Selecta pigs come entirely from Galicia. They are collected during the season and then go through a peeling and cooking process, to prevent the bitterness of the peel and facilitate their digestibility. Subsequently they are frozen, so that they can be preserved, and can be available to feed the pigs throughout the year, maintaining their nutritional properties intact. In 2017 the Coren group signed an agreement with Alibos, one of the main companies that collect and process chestnuts in Galicia, to supply it with more than 3,000 tons of chestnut, destined to feed the pigs, which represents 50% more than in 2016.
All of these factors – traditional rearing without stress, with music and toys, and chestnut-based food – contribute to the pigs enjoying a happy rearing,” the Galician cooperative highlights. “This is reflected in the end product, as a more tender, juicier and tastier meat is obtained”, they highlight.
Coren assures that “from the first moment of its market launch in 2012, Selecta meat has been a success among consumers, who value the juiciness due the marbling of the meat and the special flavour, with a slightly sweet taste, thanks to the feed with chestnuts”.
“This meat is juicier with a slightly sweet taste, thanks to the chestnut-based feed”
The fresh Selecta range has a wide variety of products: sirloin, tenderloin, shoulder cuts, pork fillet, rib…, which give an excellent result in any preparation, especially on the griddle or grilled.
Meanwhile, among the cured products are included ‘Lacon’ (pork shoulder) and ham. The Selecta Lacon is prepared in a traditional way. Its provenance from pigs that are selected and fed with chestnuts that provide marbling fat, makes them juicier and gives them a special flavour. Due to its texture, flavour and excellent results when cooking, it is ideal to prepare the typical stews of Galicia in autumn and winter, especially on occasions such as the ‘magostos’ (traditional feast with chestnuts) or carnivals.
Meat from pigs fed with chestnuts has healthier fatty acids and higher levels of antioxidants”
In the meantime, the Selecta Ham is cured for 18 months using an artisan process in the drying-barns of the Coren Group in Lugo, where the temperature and humidity conditions that traditionally cured hams in the Galician houses are reproduced, thus helping to achieve the best aroma that, together with its characteristic marbling and the right point of curing, allow a ham to be obtained in the market, which has a different and unique flavour.
In this sense, from Coren they highlight that “the nutritional studies of the hams from pigs fed with chestnuts show that have higher levels of healthy fatty acids such as the mono and polyunsaturated ones, and higher levels of antioxidants, which results in a better quality and taste of the product”.
In addition, the Selecta Ham was recognised with the Superior Taste Award which is convened by the International Institute of Taste and Quality of Brussels; as well as with the Gold Medal for the Competition of Quality of Hams of the IFFA fair in Germany.