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Charcuterie in UK


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Hi all

Any recommendations for places to get absolutely superlative charcuterie in London, or the UK? Either home-made or imported.

I already know of Brindisa (Exmouth Market) for Spanish ham and I believe the Ginger Pig also do charcuterie (Borough Market / Marylebone).

Outside of London I know of Trealy Farm. There's also a great producer somewhere in Shropshire but the name has eluded me.

Any other suggestions?

Cheers

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Bloody hell, that's a good show, yeah definitely let me know and I'll happily take some of those beauties off your hands ...

In the meantime, wish I could remember the place that sold stuff at Ludlow Food Festival last time.

Where are your favourite pork pies made? I like Walter Smith's effort. But I hear that Michael Kirk's efforts are worth sampling.

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It feels strange to discuss pork pies in relation to Charcuterie. But I suppose if anything is representative of British Charcuterie then it's our great pork pie! My favourite is Sainsbury's own brand (in the grey wrappers), no lie, I've eaten plenty and it ticks all the boxes for me. The meat is lightly cured and seasoned. Good thin savoury layer of jelly. The pastry is light, not too thick, and not too thin. It has the best base of any pork pie I've ever eaten, beautifully solid and sturdy. When you cut it open the base snaps like a biscuit but melts in the mouth with lardy goodness. Thinking about it now it really is the pastry that separates a good pork pie from an average one. A lot of hand-raised butcher pies have too much pastry that is far too heavy and dry, a real turn-off. Hence I am deeply suspicious of fat fluted pies. I've heard of the Michael Kirk, they're from the Black Country aren't they? Anywhere in Brum that sell them?

As for Charcuterie (non-UK) in general, apart from the usual suspects in London; Brindisa, Selfridges, Harrods etc I dunno. Sounds like we need intelligence on really good Italian delis, hopefully someone can pop up with suggestions.

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I didn't mean to intentionally conflate pork pies with charcuterie but I guess they do share common elements - a pork pie is just pate in a pastry case?

Anyway, well I've never knowingly tried the Sainsbury's own brand. I'll try that and you should try and get your hands on a Walter Smith - I think there are a few branches. You won't be disappointed with the pastry. I had one the other day that was even better because it was slightly burnt.

Kirk seems to only sell from his shop in Wolverhampton.

Leecotton: Thanks, I know Wenlock Edge Farm, I often see them at Birmingham farmers markets and they do nice ham and black pudding - but they weren't the place I was thinking of!

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I didn't mean to intentionally conflate pork pies with charcuterie but I guess they do share common elements - a pork pie is just pate in a pastry case?

...

IIRC, in her Charcuterie book Jane Grigson makes the specific point that the British pork pie is a pate in a crust, just the same as pates in crusts are.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Aha! Great minds ... is the book worth getting?

Very much so, if you have any interest in charcuterie it's essential reading, in my opinion. Have you read any of her books ? Thorough, learned yet approachable every time.

I got it out again just to be sure...

(The very first sentence, and some parts from the first page, of the chapter on Terrines and pates)

A meat loaf is a terrine, a pork pie is a pate... Sometimes pates are hot, sometimes cold. Pastry is kept mainly for hot pates (what we call pies) and for the finest cold pork-based pates, or game terrines.

Of course I didn't yet have my copy when I made my first venture into Cold Pork Pie (plug, plug).

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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It feels strange to discuss pork pies in relation to Charcuterie. But I suppose if anything is representative of British Charcuterie then it's our great pork pie! ...

I didn't mean to intentionally conflate pork pies with charcuterie but I guess they do share common elements - a pork pie is just pate in a pastry case?

...

IIRC, in her Charcuterie book Jane Grigson makes the specific point that the British pork pie is a pate in a crust, just the same as pates in crusts are.

Aha! Great minds ... is the book worth getting?

Its a classic text.

Great book.

Maybe not the place to start, though.

Ruhlman & Polcyn's Charcuterie is a pretty good intro to technique and doing things safely. If it has a problem, its in the Authenticity Dept. But that's where Mrs Grigson excels. Even if, in her day people were MUCH more liberal with the Nitrate ...

Regarding British Charcuterie, the book I have been looking forward to getting into is Maynard Davies' Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer (covering much more than bacon). http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/1906122083/ Despite large quantities, imperial measurements, Fahrenheit temperatures, etc - its beyond time that I had it. The author is a bit of a legend. Writing this has just pushed me over the threshold and into ordering it. Off to do that right now.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Is that Maynard as in Maynard's Bacon - farm shop in Shropshire and the bacon occasionally appearing in Waitrose (at least here in North Cheshire) ? Fab product!

John Hartley

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Is that Maynard as in Maynard's Bacon - farm shop in Shropshire and the bacon occasionally appearing in Waitrose (at least here in North Cheshire) ? Fab product!

Could very well be - right area - in fact a bit odd if anyone else was using that name ...

(Not seen the products way down here, BTW.)

He has previously done two books on his life story (with some recipes - Adventures of a Bacon Curer and Secrets of) but I must admit that, despite the reverence in which he he seems to be held - I haven't read them - as yet.

However "The Manual" is supposed to be primarily his practical skill set down - at least the verbally expressible parts!

I'm confident it'll be very worthwhile.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Is that Maynard as in Maynard's Bacon - farm shop in Shropshire and the bacon occasionally appearing in Waitrose (at least here in North Cheshire) ? Fab product!

OK - from the forward to the Manual I learn that it WAS - until he sold the business back in 2001.

First impression is that the Manual is indeed VERY quirky.

Its all in imperial units. And Fahrenheit.

Its written in the tone of "Well, if you were thinking of going into the business, this is how you ought to do it."

So what's written is definitely commercial in scale.

Its very much as though you were listening to the old boy rambling on, and you were totally unable to bring him back to the bits he'd skipped over because he thought everyone knew about that ...

So its rather vague in places - sometimes the instruction is merely that the meats should be "cooked" before mincing. Disappointingly I'm currently spotting for omissions, like the paté recipe talking about some lean pork meat which is not listed in the ingredients, but nevertheless the Manual seems to be a great record of traditional, pre-industrial, thus "artisanal" UK charcuterie practice.

He won't have anything to do with MSG or PolyPhosphates (naturally) but he is rather keen on adding a bit of mashed up boiled rice and milk powder to his sausages - as well as some (natural) red colouring to then "pink them up a bit". And he even uses his own "Rind Emulsion" -- so don't run away with the idea that this is a specially moral butcher!

He's very keen to show just how 'everything but the oink' can be used to make a product that can be sold for a profit, and be so appealing that customers come back for more.

LOTS of stuff in there - there are four different Black Pudding recipes (love the longitudinal-slice photos to show the size of the fat chunks) - but (in this book) no Pork Pie.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Ah, thanks for that dougal. I presume the new ownership accounts for the greater availability - used to be very much just farm gate sales. Looking at the website, it seems as though the Waitrose at Droitwich is the most southern branch to stock it. Worth a punt by mail order - 'tis very good.

John Hartley

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