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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

EATING FOR BRITAIN: A PERFECT CUPPA & THE BEST BACON SANDWICH EVER





















My all too short stay in beautiful Dorset ended with a perfect combination of two of my favourite things from two of my favourite producers.

First up, a nice cup of tea. As those of you who follow along with the blog will know, I am slightly obsessive about tea and, although I love the fine teas sold by my friend, Henrietta, of The Rare Tea Company, at heart, the Yorkshire boy in me takes over and craves nothing more than a cup of “builder’s” with just a spot of milk.

Recently, I was lucky enough to meet with the people of Taylor’s Yorkshire Tea, when I spent some time with their sister company, Betty’s of Harrogate. This morning, I was able to visit another of my absolute favourite producers, Clipper Tea who are based in Beaminster.

Clipper has suffered a little in recent years as its message of supplying organic and fair trade teas, grown and purchased in an ethical way resulted in worthy but, quite frankly, rather dowdy packaging which meant they were often lost on the supermarket shelves. A huge shame as Clipper Everyday Tea is one of the very best for a perfect cuppa. I should know, I have drunk enough of the stuff over the years.

Now, however, with a rather fun and bright new packaging design (which will be familiar to anyone who buys Dorset Cereals for Breakfast) they should be able to get their due recognition.

After a brief tour of the small factory, it was time for a tasting and alongside the Every Day Tea, Gill Hesketh, the Marketing Director of Clipper and her colleagues had laid out a range of teas for me to taste, including Earl Grey and some of their organic teas. I am a simple man and, despite recognising the quality of the other blends, it was still the old favourite Everyday Tea, to which I shall return again and again.

After a cup of tea, what else, in Gill’s office, I had to run, or rather drive the short few miles to my next stop, where I was to cross another of my FIFTY DISHES TO FIND MYSELF off the list, Denhay Farm.

Denhay Farm has been in the hands of The Streatfeild family for many years and George, Amanda and their daughter Ellen, are very well known for their excellent West Country Farmhouse Cheddar made only from the milk taken from their own herds.

However, what I had come in search of was not cheese, although I tasted plenty of that and very, very good it was too. No, what I was after came about as a bye product of cheese production when they decided to raise pigs on their large estate and feed them with the whey residue from the process.

From the pigs, of course came bacon, as they say in Trading Places “just like you would find in a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich” duh. But, the Denhay bacon is not just any bacon. First of all, they have a number of different cures and their own dry cure bacon has become so respected that it is now used for Duchy Originals and their Wiltshire cure by Mr Blumenthal at his Little chef makeover in Popham (although George shook his head when I told him how appallingly they had treated it on my visit)

When I arrived at their farmhouse, the unmistakeable smell of frying bacon wafted through the door I was greeted by a large plate featuring four different types with which I was invited to make my own sarnie. So I did and fricking brilliant it was too. In fact, I made more than one, one with brown bread and one with white bread, both smothered in butter and both filled with crisp, crackly bacon that tasted, like well how bacon used to taste. Sensational stuff.

After a lovely lunch, finished, of course with some of their cheddar, I was given a tour of their processing plant where sides of bacon hung, swirling and golden brown after curing and state of the art machines sliced and packed for all of the many supermarkets they supply. It is all impressive stuff, of course, but I couldn’t help thinking about just how good that bacon sandwich really was. Truly one of the top fifty things to eat in the UK.

So good in fact, that I am about to go and make another one now with the bacon I brought home and to drink with it? A nice cup of builder’s tea. What could be better?

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12 Comments:

OpenID chloeblogue said...

I may not be English but I am about to make myself a cup of tea as we speak - your article just gave me a huge tea craving... and oddly enough, another craving for bacon sandwich which I always thought was the oddest thing ever (I really want one now!) Great blog, I am subscribing to your feed - Chloé

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 1:21:00 pm  
Anonymous John E. said...

Brown bread for a bacon buttie?
Do you live in Islington or something?Read the Grauniad (sic)perchance?
White bread for bacon butties please-the Rotherham in you should know that!Thick white slices or,huge white baps(stoppit!),but never,ever,brown bread.

Are you going to cover the "jaffa cake" as part of yr itinerary-I think it's an english invention,and one that is slowly taking over the world?

Lots of luck.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 1:47:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

@John E, one has to experiment in life. As I said, I had one white and one brown

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 3:26:00 pm  
Blogger Lizzie said...

Mmm bacon. Does anywhere in London supply Denhay bacon?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 4:31:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

Yes, Duchy original and, I thinnk Waitrose own brand dry cure. Try the smoked. It is sensational

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 4:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Harters said...

No, no, no.

The shame of it all.

Not even the excuse of "experimentation" can justify brown bread for a bacon butty. Never. Ever.

John

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 5:39:00 pm  
Blogger goodshoeday said...

Umm don't think all the Waitrose own brand is Denhay - at least it would seem not from both their sites. The Denhay site is pretty comprehensive on where and under what labels its stocked see: http://www.denhay.co.uk/stockists.html
The bacon butty looks wonderful - think might need one for breakfast tomorrow. YUM :)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 7:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I agree with your desire to experiment, though rather than ponder over carb accompaniments I like to experiment with red and brown sauce. Oh yes, a great excuse to have a couple of the beauties most mornings.

DavidN

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 8:06:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

personally, i prefer brown bread. often with a mix of ketchup, HP (that's the sauce, not your bother) and a dab of colman's. each to his own..

Wednesday, April 08, 2009 3:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Chris H. said...

The Sacred Order of Bacon Butties recommends-thick slices of crusty white bread with NO butter! or big white baps again no butter.For experimentation,they suggest a thin smear of marmalade(fine).
The marmalade idea actually works well.

Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:24:00 am  
Blogger Chris said...

My favourite bacon butties are thin white sliced bread, buttered and with a bit of brown sauce.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 4:16:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

@goodshoeday - you are right, it is M&S for whom Denhay produce. Sorry for the confusion

Monday, April 13, 2009 11:32:00 am  

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