Tuesday 30 October 2012

Walsingham Farm Shop - Heacham - Traditional Pork Sausage

Walsingham-Farm-Shop  is a fabulous little place situated just outside the western Norfolk seaside town of Heacham, and has a sister shop found, unsurprisingly, in Walsingham.  I was visiting on a triple mission, to find some unique foodie Christmas presents for my family, to sample the breakfast in the adjoining Lavender-Kitchen restaurant, and to get my hands on some of the home-produced sausages from the farm shop itself.

The interior of the shopping is visually stunning, and you’ll find the meat counter towards the rear, right-hand side.  The resident master butcher is Michael, an engaging and knowledgeable young man who is in charge of butchery at both locations.  You’ll find the same cuts of pork, beef and lamb at both outlets, and the livestock is all prepared on site, which has to be a good thing.  I chose the Traditional Pork bangers for my introduction to Walsingham , and Michael described them as “a jack of all trades sausage, you can use them for all kinds of sausage dishes, and children like them too.”  While telling me this he was hacking huge slices of meat from what appeared to be a diplodocus leg (pronounced - well, however you want to, opinion is split down the middle, as voted by you, the Rate My Sausage readers - see, there was a reason for that poll) skilfully wielding a broad-bladed hatcher that wouldn't look out of place on the set of Conan the Barbarian....so I wasn't arguing....

Meat Content:
After Michael’s self-deprecating comments that played down his sausages somewhat I wasn’t expecting too much, but these are pretty good.  You’ll find a small-ish banger with a bigger meat presence that you’d expect – maybe the proportion of pork is being understated a little – the figure quoted was “80 to 85%”.  There’s no slop, no sludge, the meat you get is the good stuff – and that may not be surprising when you consider that Walsingham Farm Shops use free range pork which is reared just around the corner at South Creake (for any passing eco-pedants, that’s a distance of just thirteen food miles).

A pleasingly warm and comforting flavour which I rather enjoyed.  The seasoning is sufficient without being overpowering and there’s a nice sagey-ness running throughout.  You won’t find any headline stealing outlandishness, no bizarre ingredients are needed, this is a flavourful little sausage that will leave you feeling content and with a smile on your face.  I asked for the recipe, but as always was told “It’s a secret.”  Whatever!

Walsingham Farm Shops’ Traditional Pork sausages felt nice and grainy when I was slicing them up for the photos.  The skins are natural and good and they cover a very acceptable and bobbly filling.  Michael certainly has ground together a texture that we like – coarse and just about crumbly enough to tick the box if you’re serious about your sausages but definitely youngster friendly too.

Average weight uncooked - 85g
Average weight cooked - 69g

Shrinkage - 19%

Value For Money:
£2.33 for four sausages, weighing 340g - this works out as a price of £6.85 per kg, or 58p per snorker.

A decent price for a sausage that did exactly what I was told it would, and left me pleasantly surprised.  Good value for money.

Through A Child’s Eyes:
The Junior Sidekick was only on duty for the cold tasting, so.....

The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
Just as good cold as hot.  The texture is still decent, combining a nice moist feel with the fall-apart-ness (good word) that I liked yesterday.  My Junior Sidekick was VERY impressed.  I held aloft the index finger of each hand and told him “This one is if the sausage is the worst you have ever tasted, and this one is for the best....” then slowly moved the “worst” finger towards the other, waiting for Sam to stop me at the desired point.  He didn’t stop me.  I asked if he was sure, and he confirmed....”This sausage is perfect.”  His words, not mine.

Opening Hours:
Monday: 0900 - 1730
Tuesday: 0900 - 1730
Wednesday: 0900 - 1730
Thursday: 0900 - 1730
Friday: 0900 - 1730
Saturday: 0900 - 1700
Sunday: 1000 - 1600

And Finally, Esther:
When my plate was empty I wanted more, which has to be a significant pointer, and I was extremely tempted to raid the fridge for the “next day cold” samples immediately.  Michael’s modest description of his product almost implies a lower quality but this is absolutely not the case.  I’ll be back.

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