Tuesday 25 October 2011

Product Recommendation: The Cumbrian Pig Company

There are two things you see too much of at farmers' markets in the north west: cupcakes and sausages.

Sausages have long been one of the things that butchers and other meat processors make to use up non-prime cuts that in the last 50 years or so have become much more difficult to sell. So it was naturally with the rise of farmers' markets and direct selling by farms that sausages would be one of the key products. They're also ideal for markets as they are both easy to hand out cooked and sliced to attract customers to your stall, and they make a pretty good impulse purchase. You might think twice about buying a large pork joint, but everybody has room in their fridge and stomach for sausages? They're like the sweeties supermarkets put by the tills.

The odd thing is that there are a lot of farms that seem to sell far more sausages than prime cuts. What happens to all the prime cuts?

The Cumbrian Pig Company is one that seems to deal mainly in sausages. But the difference is that these are extremely good sausages. Unlike many others, I've yet to come across any gristle or other nasty bits in their sausages, and their recipes are notably superior to most other producers I've tried: they always seem to me like tried and tested recipes, rather than some other producers, whose sausages "flavours" often seem to taste like something they knocked up the night before, hoping for the best, but able to rely on there being enough impulse buyers not to need to worry about how they taste. Some of the flavours are also rather interesting too. Whoever comes up with the recipes for Cumbrian Pig's sausages actually has a very good palate.

They have a range of varieties which they told me they rotate. I first came across Cumbrian Pig at the Cartmel Food Market (third Friday of the month) earlier this year, and so far there has been a different range each time I've come across them.

My most recent purchase was some Pork & Five Fruit Marmalade sausages. They were nicely, but not over-seasoned, with a good meaty texture and a very interesting flavour from the marmalade, which gave a nice agrodolce touch.

In the past I've Pork & Red Onion Marmalade, Pork & Damson, Pork and Rhubarb, and some others. Unlike some butchers who shall remain nameless, who have dozens of varieties which all taste them same (ok, yes, I'm talking about Cowman's in Clitheroe), all the Cumbrian Pig sausages I've had have been completely identifiably different.

Most recently, they also had some cured pork belly for sale. These were thick slices (not streaky bacon) which I just roasted as they were: bacon with crackling on! They would have made a good pancetta too.

See their website www.cumbrianpig.com for contact details and where to buy.

I have no connection with them, and this post is made out of admiration of the product, not for gain.

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