Itching Up To Get In Your Kitch-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!
March 25, 2014
That Was The Food Week That Was!
From Field To Fork's Sake
January 15, 2014
If you have any interest in food whatsoever you will be well aware of the blight of the British High Street and, more importantly those food shops that used to be the heart of the community - think bakers, butchers, green grocers.
We at Marsala Rama know first hand what this is like - Angelina's parents used to have a fruit and veg shop forty odd years ago in Hangar Lane, London - and got out of the game due to the Supermarket becoming more prominent - and the business becoming more difficult. Leo's family was also in the fruit and veg business - only to see one shop bought up, swallowed and spat out by a giant Sainsburys - and the other to struggle for year's on the same High Street, only to finally bow to pressure thanks to the Tesco Metro and yet another Sainsbury in close proximity.
So it was this morning, almost choking on our organic coco pops with pride watching BBC Breakfast, we saw Richard Balson being interviewed for the show.
How lovely is it that we can champion a local establishment that not only has bucked the trend, but is celebrated this evening with their very own BBC4 programme - take a bow Balsons of Bridport.
We are slightly biased in our praise for Richard and his team - for not only are Balsons the oldest Butcher's in Britain - but it seems the oldest family run business in Britain - and our local.
Opening back in the 1500's during King Henry VIII's reign no less, the Balson family has been supplying Brid of the Port for centuries - literally - and bloody good stuff it is too. They were there, back in the day when plying their trade in the local Shambles - think the market scene from the film Perfume - literally a mess and stink unimaginable now and the reason why we use the word to this day.
What is great though for us about these guys is not only the history - not only the friendly service - not only the fact they ring you when they get superb Dorset venison in; or huge Somerset Hares ready to make ragout or confit - it's the provenance, the care and the attention that they give to their produce.
And they are bloody nice blokes too.
As Richard explains in a piece in today's Daily Mail Online... 'There were 80,000 butchers in Britain after the war; now there are only 12,000. But we offer something the supermarket bad boys can’t: after the horsemeat scandal, people want to know what they’re eating. Our meat is mainly local. We know about the provenance and welfare of every animal, even where it was grazed – you can trace it from the field to the fork.'
They go on to say that the history behind the shop is their best asset - but for us, whilst partly true, it does take away too much of the service they provide - which you will never get from a large chain.
It may cost slightly more for that chicken that is slightly smaller than the water-pumped fowlness you get in Morrisons - but for us the taste; the knowledge of where it came from and how it was reared, is a price worth paying, each and everytime.