“You wouldn’t get this down south” I thought as I walked out of Walmsley’s Butchers with a pair of chocolate pork pies in my hand. Of course its Ramsbottom chocolate festival weekend and that means that local companies try to add a bit more fun to their offerings and get into the spirit of the occasion. I love Rammy, as its affectionately called. The people are genuine, they’re genuinely interested in you and what you’ve got to say – whoever you are. The town, suffered a few years of malaise following the arrival of two supermarkets in the town, but now there seems to be a resurgence of good food. I wanted to say fine, but often “fine” comes with a pretence. This is real, wholesome food created by people that know what they’re doing.
How can a pork pie be great? Of course, I don’t mean by covering it with chocolate and adding yet more chocolate to the mix. I mean by using top quality ingredients. I don’t know if anyone has tried a supermarket one, but the crust is often dry and tasteless, there’s far too much jelly and you’ll have the worst cuts of pork filling the void. Even eating and mentally taking the chocolate out of the equation it was evident that you’re gourging yourself on something made with skill and with “fine” ingredients. Often with pork pies I’ve had enough after a mouth-full – mostly due to the abundance of the jelly. Its not something that I’ll ever go out of my way to eat, but with a real pork pie you just know its part of the overall experience.
But what of the chocolate bent? you’ll find it not so liberally blended with the pork, there are some pieces, but the guys at Walmsley’s obviously didn’t want it to distract from the meat filling. What they did do, however, was it coat the top of the crust with a lot of semi-dark chocolate. This adds a splendid sweet juxtaposition against the savoury filling. This contrast was pleasant and allowed the sweetness to back up the pork flavour after that had subsided.
Some might find it a step too far, but it manages to be both fun and delicious. And now some of his rosemary glazed lamb tonight. It’s grim up north.