Silver Hill Duck, Monaghan, Ireland
I had the great pleasure of spending a full day with the Steele family on a trip to Ireland earlier this year. I was blown away by the magnificent setting and the extraordinary care they take in raising these beautiful, unique ducks. Nestled in the small town of Emmyvale, County Monaghan in Ireland, Ronnie and Lyla Steele founded Silver Hill Foods as a fully integrated family owned duck company over 50 years ago, and their son Barry now runs the business. Starting out with six top-quality ducks, they developed their own breed, the unique Silver Hill Duck (commonly known as London Duck). This is a unique and highly distinctive hybrid duck, full of flavour, succulence and tenderness. It’s been described by many chefs and restaurateurs here in Singapore as “the wagyu of duck”, and having sampled it now many times, I feel this is a perfect description.
What impressed me most, other than the actual flavour of the duck, is that all aspects of duck production are owned and controlled by Silver Hill Farm themselves, from breeding, egg production, hatching and selection, to processing, cooking and packaging. The ducks are hand-fed a natural diet each day, exercised and allowed to roam freely - they even get to listen to music to keep them happy and calm. The aroma of the duck cooking is unforgettable, especially the range we are selling as the duck is roasted in aniseed, ground ginger, fennel seed, cinnamon and clove. They have the highest regard for animal welfare and I was very impressed to see that a vet is on site at all times during processing to ensure animal welfare. Silver Hill’s sustainability credentials are impeccable, as you will see here. They use everything from the duck, nothing goes to waste, and they have a secondary business selling duck feather pillows and duvets.
Over the last number of years Silver Hill Farm has seen tremendous growth, supplying quality duck and duck products all over the world. I was so impressed with the investment they’ve made in constantly improving their processes and to support growth - they have recently built a new centre of excellence which includes offices, amenities and a wonderful new development kitchen.
The famed chef Heston Blumenthal uses only the Silver Hill Duck at his restaurant. Silver Hill “London Duck” is hugely popular in Singapore where a number of well known restaurants serve the full roasted duck. Sasha’s Fine Foods is the only company to offer a retail range of Silver Hill Duck products to the market.
“The Wagyu of Duck”
Co-Owner of London Fat Duck, Mr Mervin Goh describes Silver Hill Duck as “the wagyu of ducks" because, like well-marbled Japanese beef, the birds have a high fat content. His restaurant sells about 120 ducks daily and his head chef Poon Kwong Fat, 49, who has more than 30 years of experience roasting meats, agrees, "Roasted Irish ducks are more fragrant and juicy as these meatier birds have a good amount of fat that makes the meat more tender and flavourful.”
TungLok Executive Chairman, Andrew Tjioe says, "A good friend gave me 20 ducks from the Silver Hill Farm. We tried them and were impressed with the quality of the ducks. The meat is very tender and succulent, and does not have the gamey taste which is otherwise quite common in duck meat. We have never looked back since.”