Thursday, 25 February 2010

Richard Woodall Cumberland Sausage, Hams and Bacon

 On my return journey from Edinburgh, I took the opportunity to visit a place that I have seen on TV before - Richard Woodall's shop in Waberthwaite in the Lake District.  I think the Lake District has to be one of the most beutiful parts of England and at this time of year it has a certain bleakness to it that is hard to describe.  Anyway, Richard Woodall's shop is famous as being the first place to make prosciutto style ham in Britain.  He is also famous for being a supplier of pork products to the Queen, including bacon, sausages and the air-dried ham.  So, I could hardly pass up the chance to visit!

 Driving into the Lake District, I was almost immediately greated by some amazing views:
 But, that wasn't why I was here!  The village of Waberthwaite itself is really tiny, little more then a scattering of houses, a school and the famous post office / Richard Woodall's shop.  I grew up in a rural area in England so I am quite aware that many of these communities are struggling to survive these days and very often the closure of the local post office can prove to be the final straw.  It was really good to see an example of a business model that can clearly work, by combining the post office with something else, in this case the butchers shop, it becomes much more viable.  Of course, I'm sure it helps to have a famous product to draw people in.
 Inside, the shop was just amazing.  It's not very big, so the first thing that I noticed was the smell which comes from the hams hanging up from the ceiling:
 They sell these hams whole and assured me that one would last for a long time if I were to buy one.  However, I felt that that was probably a little bit too much ham to buy in one go, even for me!  So, I settled for a 250g pack of the air-dried ham.  They also sell sausages, which I already knew to be very good because I had some for my dinner the evening before at the Brown Cow Inn, also in Waberthwaite.
 Now that's a big plate of food!  There were two sausgaes, the mashed potato and swede, peas, chips and under the fried egg, a large piece of black pudding.  I have to admit that I wasn't really able to do it justice, but I did my best!  Really, without having spent the day out walking in the fells, I can't imagine that many people would be able to do better.

 Anyway, I was intrigued that Richard Woodall's sell their sausages by the yard, rather then in the short sausages that I usually buy from the supermarket.  I also picked up some smoked bacon and some unsmoked bacon, both of the short back variety.  I shall blog more about these things soon!  It almost goes without saying, but all of these fine products are made from locally reared pigs.

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