Sometimes, a bit like in the January sales, you stumble upon a bargain that’s just too good to pass by. In Tesco, about a month ago, I bought the smallest piece of rolled pork shoulder I could find. It cost me under £8 however it was still big enough – I’m telling no ‘porkers’ here – to feed around fifteen people.
I have to hope this was what they call ‘a supermarket loss-leader’, the amazing deal that seduces shoppers into spending on superfluous food items with ‘celebrity’ names attached. So often to end abandon and barely touched, on kitchen shelves going past their sell-by-date, gathering dust and grease like maiden aunts…
We devoured the cut-price pig one Sunday lunch with applesauce, stuffing and lots of gravy. My stomach was filled but I wasn’t really satisfied. Poor piggy had yielded as little flavour on my plate, as its life had given ‘fat’ to farming.
Last Sunday, we had a similar meal.
I’d bought a rolled pork leg from a ‘British Lop’ pig on the recommendation of Giles Eustice at Trevaskis Farm Shop. He told me, as any good farmer would do, why I’d particularly appreciate the flavour of this very rare breed pig.
“The British Lop,” he said, “makes excellent pork. It has a succulent, almost buttery taste and texture. We’ve customers that come from as far as Exeter, every fortnight just to buy our meat. You won’t be disappointed.”
I wasn’t. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I’ve never eaten a more delicious piece of pork. I’ve eaten Gloucester Old Spot pork, which has lots of flavour making them perfect for tasty sausages, but for a roast this was sublime. We pushed all sauces, jellies and gravy aside and left the pork stark naked on the plate wanting nothing to touch that might mask the flavour. I don’t know quite how to put it into words, except in heaven this is exactly how you’d want your pig to taste.
I asked Giles why his butchery is unique; admitting that I’d met at people who’d already raved about the quality and flavour particularly of his beef to me.
“It’s all exclusively the South Devon breed,” he explained. “We’ve been rearing these cattle for over a century and so sought after were our bloodlines we shipped cattle as far as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The meat has fantastic marbling throughout and the size of the cuts, due to the size of the animal, makes a very good size steaks. The animals take longer to mature, building up a good fat cover which adds to the flavour and tenderness of the meat.” Not all the beef comes from Trevaskis Farm, but it is all exclusively the South Devon breed from known farms in Wadebridge, Grampound and Gwithian.
“We cure all our own bacon, gammons and hams as well as making delicious sausages and hogs pudding – all from our own British Lop pigs,” Giles added.
Rare breeds, I’m told, take longer to grow and have been raised; I’m delighted to add, as ‘happy pigs’, home cared in a free-range environment right on the farm.
- Small, but perfectly farmed: Mark Hix’s five favourite sustainable heroes (independent.co.uk)