Real Game

Treuren

Jonker Fransstraat 61
3031 AM Rotterdam
010 – 412 46 99
www.wildhandel.nl

‘The blistering cold freezes your head. Up ahead, you see an animal. Stalked, hunted. Then, you see something moving, a hare. No time to wait, but act immediately. Bang. Motionless, the magnificent animal lies on the frosted land. Still warm. A Dutch hare, game doesn’t get any more beautiful than this. Let it hang and wait for the day the hare has aged sufficiently and is ready for a dish. A bottle of red wine on the counter, pour yourself a glass, another log on the fire, sharpen the knives, and off to work on the hare.’

‘The hunt is intriguing, it invokes primal feelings. But it also invokes emotions in peoples who see the hunt as a cruel waste of time. I love working with game. Then it’s time to show your true colours. If you choose game, you choose the hunt. A civilised hunt, practised by people who know how and why they choose to aim their rifle at an animal. Whoever wants game on the table, but denounce the hunt, buys farm-raised game. You do take one step forward and two steps back in terms of quality. Whoever prefers real game, has the hunting calendar rule in autumn and early winter.

To ‘inherit’ the love for the poulterer trade from your father. Such was the fate of Rob Treuren.

He knew what was waiting for him. When his dad said good-bye to the business, Rob had not a single doubt. What else are you supposed to do, programming computers, trading stocks, selling sweets or cigarettes? To work with game, that is something few people are willing to do. People don’t know what they are missing.

‘As a child, you don’t dream of being a poulterer. The game has to move you. That doesn’t happen by itself, you have to grow into the business. It’s often a dirty job, the game comes back from the hunt wet and dirty. Next, you have to pluck the pheasant and gut it. It’s all done by hand. This is how you develop a sense for game, and discover difference in quality. As a teenager I used to work with my dad, but I cannot recall when I saw the light. Working with the game, it became a challenge to transform an animal into a beautiful piece of game. Respect for the animal had to grow as well.’

‘Once upon a time, I was studying to become a poulterer. Seemingly unavoidable, I did consciously choose the trade. There wasn’t much enthusiasm anymore in becoming a poulterer. New poulterers learn the trade in practice. When I was twenty-one years old, I started to work in my father’s business.’

‘Being able to offer beautiful game takes a lot of effort. When the game arrives, you have to ask yourself if the animal is really cut out to be a beautiful piece of game. Is there a lot of buckshot, has the hound played with it as if it were a toy, has the hunter placed the animals top of each other when they were still too warm, causing them to heat up. They turn green in the process and it becomes difficult to make something out of it. There can be a lot of hiccoughs in the process as well. I often see plenty of poultry that has been plucked without any prior knowledge, rashes and wrongly cut pieces. I keep the meat closed as long as possible. Once the organs have been removed, it spoils quickly. The same applies for chickens. The best, Bresse chickens, arrive closed. I then wait as long as possible to empty them.’

‘I prefer to offer Dutch game in the season. But the hunt in the Netherland is purely a hobby, the haul is insufficient to fulfil the demand. Then again, the quality is high. I buy small game from hunters such as ducks, rabbits, hares, pheasants, and deer. In the course of the years, I have selected hunters who hunt the animals respectfully and know how I want my game. After the hunt, the animals are laid down separately, so they lose their heat and rashes are prevented. Hunters who gun down as many ducks as they can, deliver a different product. The ducks are often green, and tend to have more buckshot in the meat. If you really love your trade, you don’t buy this type of game. Luckily, my efforts do not go unnoticed. I count a lot of great cooks and individuals among my customers, who also want quality. I hope to do this job for a long time. These days it’s hard to find a more natural product than this. It hasn’t been tampered with, and it tastes amazing. Game is magic.’

Herman AD- Hazenpeper

The Dutch hunting calendar, is there a more beautiful poem?

pheasants, hens and cocks,

  • of beautiful meat from the 15th of October to the end of December.

Deer and boar,

  • from the haul.

Wild duck,

  • at its best from the end of August to September. The last one, that of the 31st of January, is often rather train-oily.

Hare; the king of game.

  • Waiting impatiently until the 15th of October, and then eating it often, until after Christmas.

Also amazing,

those who never get any peace:

the dune rabbit, the wild pigeon and the roebuck.

  • throughout the year.

An empty space on the Dutch calendar, the partridge.

  • Will we ever see them back in the Netherlands? Well, then we will just have to order one from abroad, from September to New Year’s. Melancholically washed away with a bottle of Burgundy.