Is it too soon to mention Christmas? In my humble opinion it definitely is. Having said that, is it too soon to mention Sausage Of The Year? Weeelll....maybe. But you might well be looking at it right here...
Do the names Tom and Barbara mean anything to you? They were the main characters in the classic sitcom The Good Life, in which a couple left the rat race behind and tried to live a self sufficient life. The story of The Decent Company has echoes of this story, in that the founder, Martha Roberts, also quit a life of spreadsheets and meetings to become, in her own words “A former suburban, corporate woman, gone rogue!” They share values and beliefs but the difference between the two is that Martha shares her vision, and the meat that it creates, with a loyal following of extremely satisfied customers. The most common way to purchase the end product is via the half pig, quarter pig or taster boxes. I'd love to describe Martha's life and her smallholding to you but it's done much better on her own website (a link can be found further down the page).
Before ordering my quarter of a pig I did a little research online, and asked people for their opinion on the sausages – here are some of those views:
“We like them so much we bought a year's supply!”
“I highly recommend them (and Martha's pig-keeping skills/high welfare standards).”
“Oh yes, loved them. And reordered.”
Previous customers seem happy enough eh?
Where To Find Them:
The Decent Company is of course a real-life smallholding, but you can only purchase their piggy products online. The website is beautifully designed and gives a great insight into the high welfare standards employed. As it's such a small scale operation the meat is not available all day every day, and becomes available only when the current broods are ready. For this reason I would seriously advise contacting Martha via the order form on the website, or via Twitter (@MarthaRoberts). The online form also let's you know when the next batch of pork will be available.
If for no other reason, visit this website for lots of lovely pictures of piglets doing what piglets love to do: THE DECENT COMPANY
The internet is open 24 hours a day, every day, except Easter Sunday. Early closing Thursday afternoons.
The pork from the mostly Gloucester Old Spot pigs is so sweet, it provides a prominent yet delicate flavour here. My notes say “Absolutely bloody lovely”. There's seasoning here but it's subtle, just enough to give the taste a boost but not so that the meat is overpowered. It's a smooth, old-fashioned deliciousness that I loved, and frankly can hardly wait to get the next lot in the frying pan!
The filling is quite fine but beautifully firm at the same time, you're hard pushed to squish these through your fork (unlike poor quality offerings from the likes of Richmonds, Iceland, etc). In the mouth the sausage breaks apart allowing thousands of tasty bobbles of flavoursome pork to run riot. The skins snap just perfectly when cut, and squeak in the mouth. Near perfection...
Average Weight Uncooked = 59 grams
Average Weight Cooked = 48 grams
Meat Content = 85 %
Value For Money:
Our sausages came as part of our “quarter pig” box so it's impossible to separate their price. The webite though lists a kilogram of sausages for £10, so I'll use that. We ordered the quarter pig box, at £90 which iis a good price for the large amount and variety of meat that you receive.
£3.51 for 6 sausages weighing 351 grams. This works out as £10.00 per kg and 58p per banger. Far from extortionate for such a quality item.
We rate this as fabulous value for money.
The "Aah, Bisto" Factor:
We've always fried sausages for our reviews, and this time was no different. As I've recently moved house I am still trying to get the hang of using a gas hob (had a couple of disasters so far too), so these sausages were fried very slowly. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness....the whole house was filled with the most mouth-watering aroma, which just got better as the bangers browned. Lovely.
The Imaginatively Titled Next Day Cold Sausage Test:
Yeah, right. You think any of these beauties would survive overnight? No chance.
And Finally, Esther:
From start to finish there is nothing not to like about The Decent Company and its products. Sausage Of The Year? Maybe. Martha Roberts is a food heroine.
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