A new butcher with a refreshingly international range and devotion to the best animal husbandry and sustainable practices has opened in the Condamine market of Monaco. The La Réserve team meets with Monaco Life to explain all.
The La Réserve butcher’s shop, which recently opened at Cabine 40 in the Marché de la Condamine, styles itself as an outward-looking and sustainability-focused butcher. It also counts not just one, but several of the world’s “Best Steak” amongst its display.
The new venture from co-owners Vincent Lelasseux, Andrew Benjamin and Christopher Brown, who hail from Monaco, England and Belgium respectively, unites their joint experiences of more than a decade catering to the finest chefs of the global superyacht industry. This, combined with personal taste, explains the reasoning for La Réserve’s international range.
Purveyors of the “World’s Best Steak”
“It’s fantastic to be able to bring such an international selection of meat to the region,” says Andrew Benjamin. “The grass-fed Finnish beef is what I’m most proud of: these cattle graze near a chocolate factory and actually eat a portion of chocolate every day. The meat is that little bit darker and a little bit sweeter for it. The prime cut was a three-time winner in the World Steak Challenge. Another of my favourite products is the Finnish Ayrshire cattle: unbelievable flavour. That won ‘Best Grass-Fed Steak in the World’ for two years running too.”
Wagyu, a specialist beef lauded by chefs around the world, is well-represented, with Australian Jack’s Creek Wagyu from New South Wales – a winner of ‘Best Ribeye Steak in the World’ – and Blackmore Wagyu from Victoria. The team has been sourcing a range of Japanese Wagyu and Kobe beef for yacht clients for several years and will be bringing this range to the Condamine market as well.
La Réserve is also importing organic grass-fed Angus from Ireland along with organic Berkshire pork.
“It took a while to get past some Brexit hurdles, but we’ve also managed to source award-winning Franconian sausages from Tunbridge Wells in England, my part of the country,” adds Benjamin.
Keen supporters of organic farming and eco-friendly practices
The owners are avid supporters of the organic farming movement and were eager to promote this central ethos in the naming of the store. La Réserve evokes the natural fields and pastures upon which the herds of the shop’s range graze.
“Sustainability is very important to us, as it is to Monaco, and we’ve searched high and low for the best eco-friendly packaging in Europe,” says Brown. “We wanted to find a way to use biodegradable packaging and we’ve found the perfect solution with our Space Tec vacuum-packs. The meats are preserved in peak freshness and the packs can also be kept safely in the freezer for as long as two years in the right conditions.”
The owners have run their superyacht provisioning business from Monaco since 2016, but decided to set up a physical shop in the Principality when the perfect space in the Condamine came onto the market.
Along with its ideal location, just a few minutes’ walk from Port Hercule, having a shop in the Condamine comes with other benefits.
Le Marché de la Condamine: “A lively place to work and visit”
“One of the most attractive propositions to set up shop here is the delivery service run by the market. We pay a fee and our customers can get free delivery throughout Monaco. You can do all your shopping in one place and have it delivered right to your door. We’re in talks to sign up to a similar service that will be available to people as far afield as Cannes and Mandelieu,” Brown explains.
“The market is such a lively place to work and visit too,” adds Benjamin. “I’ve been coming often over the last few years to eat here with my family, and we’re all excited about the opportunity to spend more time in the market. The events put on by the town hall are fantastic and I’d love the chance to get involved in the future.”
The shop, which is fronted by local Frenchman Taoufik Annani, is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8am to 2pm.
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Photos by Kiri Huhtanen