“I loved your post on Game meat but may I suggest that you used the correct term of ‘venison’, rather than game meat,” someone voiced just the other day.
I only then realised that most people in South Africa, are not clear on the difference between the two, and most of us do not even know that there, indeed exists a difference between our so beloved South African Game Meat, frequently used to make biltong, and the Australian and New Zealand version of wild meat, more correctly referred to Venison.
Now if you ask any person around the world, including South Africa, what Venison is, they will quickly tell you in the most blatant of terms that it is wild meat, deer meat, or even meat derived from wildlife such as rabbit and wild boar.
There are however many countries where the local populations have no idea about what game meat is. Game is a word equally popular in the USA and Britain as it is in South Africa, but when visiting the Middle East, Russia, China and East-European countries, they might look at you in a way which will indicate that there is a total lack of comprehension, and thus asking for an explanation.
One of the reasons for this is that Australia and New Zealand has done ground-breaking work in establishing the export markets for their products, and has done so primarily by a word which can’t be confused with any other sort of meat.
They are in fact adamant on the notion that only wild meat from Austria and New Zealand can be called Venison, similarly like Champagne coming only from the region of Champagne in France.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Venison is superior in any way to, for instance, game meat, it only establishes the fact that New Zealand has very successfully created a brand or ‘word’ associated with their product.
Venison is derived from the deer, often described as organic and free-range, which naturally roams about in both New Zealand and Australia.
Game meat, on the other hand, includes but is not limited to, South African game harvested from the African bushveld which includes a wide range of species, of which the most popular is Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Impala, Springbuck and Eland.
As you can imagine, the free-range deer from New Zealand has a very different diet than their counterparts in South Africa, where the feed ranges from various types of grass to leaves of different trees as well, depending on the species.
Again this doesn’t make the one superior over the other, but there is a distinct difference in taste, and those who love game meat, will testify that the quality is of a superb level.
Game meat is proudly South African, and there is a bright future ahead as we market our products as such.