Tuesday 14 June 2011

Riverway Foods - Cumberland Sausage

Cumberland sausages are found wrapped in a lovely spiral shape right? Wrong! Riverway Foods, a yokelised name for some huge corporation (that I haven’t been able to name and shame....yet), offer their Cumberlands in flaccid, soggy, made-square-by-the-packing-and –transportatatin-process form. The coil shape is necessary because “proper” Cumberland sausages are made up to 65cm long, and NOT as shorter links, and the extra length demands the coiling as a space-saving storage method.

These bangers were on an incredible “less than half price” offer at Tesco, so I bought them and decided to carry out a little research into the subject of Cumberland sausages. Blaring out on the ether was the news that Cumberland sausages have been awarded Protected Geographical Indication status (CUMBERLAND ), and must therefore be produced inside Cumbria. Riverway Foods are based in Harlow. I emailed them to ask if they had a factory in the north-west, but haven’t received a reply....

According to the GPI status, a Cumberland sausage must contain 80% meat. These don’t.

Cumberland sausages are made with more pepper and a lot less herbs. The ingredients list for Riverway does list pepper, but also more herbs.

Cumberland sausages contain pork that is chopped, not minced. A quick look at the sliced pictures of Riverway’s attempt will tell you all you need to know.

So how do Riverway get away with such blatant disregard for EU law? Well, any product labelled as “Traditional Cumberland Sausage” must be made in Cumbria, contain at least 80% meat, and sold in a coil. Riverway sidestep the law by calling their – frankly awful – version “Cumberland Sausage, Traditionally Made”. It’s absolutely disgraceful that big conglomerates can continue taking the mickey out of proper, artisan sausage makers with a simple re-arrangement of words on the label.

Meat Content:
68% they say, so you kind of have to believe them. These bangers don’t taste meaty, they taste filler-y. I’ve now tried quite a lot of hand-made sausages with a meat content around 68%, and these are not similar.

Theses sausages are as Cumberland as Barbara Windsor. These are an average tasting, mass-produced tube of vaguely pork-flavoured....stuff. Very disappointing. Maybe Tesco over-ordered without their tasters even trying them, hence the cheap price?

Nothing to write home about, this sausage is finely minced and did not impress. The casings are acceptable, the filling less so. Just my opinion of course. Not unpleasant, but not enjoyable either, in the slightest.

Average weight uncooked - 57g
Average weight cooked - 45g

Shrinkage - 21%

Uniquely in RMS’ experience, the packaging tells the consumer how much they can expect their sausages to shrink. This is a very good thing, well done! They state “2 sausages weigh 114g raw and 97g grilled”. We agree with the raw figure, but they’re – we’ll say “ambitious” – on the cooked stat. Maybe they retain more weight if grilled?

Value For Money:
£2.00 for twelve sausages, weighing 685g - this works out as a price of £2.92 per kg, or 17p per snorker. The pre-discount cost is shown as £4.39 (£6.41 per kg, 37p each), amazing! Frankly, £2.00 is too much for these low quality sausages, so how on earth they got away with charging full price I don’t know. Avoid, at any cost.


Wartime Housewife said...

Hi Sausage - did you get my Waterloo Farms review? I sent it on the 4th June. If not, drop me a note to my Gmail address and I'll send it again.

Rate My Sausage said...

Hello Housey,

I did receive your piece, thank you. I'm saving the guest reviews until after KLFM's ing Of The Bangers 2011, and then I'll publish them weekely.

Holly said...

Looking at these is making me so hungry. Great read btw

Anonymous said...

You clearly have far to much time on your hands.

Anonymous said...

These are the best tasting sausages I have ever had, the initial blogger does not know what he is talking about. I found this blog when searching for the sausages online as my local sainsburys has stopped stocking them

Ann Cardus said...

I'm feeling guilty for liking these.

Anonymous said...

I think they was a lovely sausage

Anonymous said...

Just tried these as they were 1/2 price at Tesco, what a waste of money, greasy and slimy filling with a bit of a pork taste, certainly not a Cumberland sausage (they're made in Harlow!). Only ate 2 of the 4 I cooked, the other two (and the rest of the uncooked ones) went into the bin.

Anonymous said...

Being Cumbrian and being weened on proper Cumberland Sausage ive tried these are there are NOT proper Cumberland Sausage just a poor imitation.

The only place to get real Cumberland Sausage is Cumbria. Cranstons in Carlisle or Penrith, Thomasons in Keswick or Gordons Butchers in Carlisle are the best to buy!!

Anonymous said...

I know a little bit about this company and they are not a 'huge corporation'. Whatever, I absolutely love their sausages as does the whole family. They are DELICIOUS.

Unknown said...

Just had some of the riverway cumberland sausages. 80% meat content and fantastic flavour. Cooked on a George forman grill there was about 2oz of fat after cooking 18 sausages and 18 slices of bacon. Best sausages I have had in a long time.

Unknown said...

Totally agree. Great sausages.

Rate My Sausage said...

Thanks for the comment Roy. I disagree with you of course.

But why the reply to yourself? Who are you trying to fool?

Unknown said...

I think that the "Cumberland" sausage produced by Riverway is excellent. Those of you who are posting negative reports regarding these sausages know the answer.....Don't buy them and leave them for the people who like them.

Unknown said...

Thank you Riverway for making this GF person VERY happy :-)