Monday 25 August 2008

Black pudding tour of Britain

OK, so I didn't actually take any pictures of black pudding while we were away, so here is an atmospheric, Lord of the Rings-y oak tree - the most British of trees - to illustrate my thoughts on the most British of smallgoods.

For a more technical look at black pudding (and some good-looking recipes), head over to the Big Black Pudding - a blog which is not about black pudding normally, but conveniently has a 10 page guide.

Having just spent some time travelling around Britain, I sampled quite a lot of black pudding. It was on the menu for breakfast in all of the places we stayed, and I had a taste of all of them. Now, the black puddings I tried may not actually have been representative of their regions, but they all called them "local" so I am taking them more or less as my benchmarks for each region.

Gwynedd, Wales: The black pudding was quite lightly seasoned and seemed to have quite a lot of rusk or filler in it. A mealier texture than I like, but still quite pleasant. The pork and leek sausage that also featured in my "Full Welsh" breakfast was excellent, so I am going to assume that this was also a premium product.

Cumbria, England: It was in Cumbria a couple of years ago that I had my first taste of black pudding, and realised that not all puddings are created equal. This was quite different to other black puddings I have had in the Lakes, less mealy, quite velvety, but with quite large pieces of pork fat in it. As the pudding had been very nicely cooked, the fat had crisped up and was more delicious than you would think, but I think it'd be quite greasy and unpleasant if it weren't really crispy.

Perthshire, Scotland: My preferred black pudding is Scottish, so I had quite high hopes for this one. And they were very nearly met. The pudding had a lovely, velvety, close texture, not too much other stuff breaking up the texture, and it grilled to a really good crispness. The only thing that made it not quite as good as the one I buy at Borough Market was the seasoning - not quite as much pepper as I like.

Wensleydale, England: The Wensleydale pudding served at breakfast in Yorkshire had a lot of barley in it, giving it a crumblier texture. It was well-seasoned and a very good breakfast black pudding, although I wouldn't want to try any of the more refined dishes (with scallops or apple) using it.

In short - I like black pudding. But I would really like to source the smoked black pudding one of my local pubs serves - Hertfordshire smoked black pudding would definitely beat all the variations I tried last week!


Just Cook It said...

Black pudding is one of the finest foods there is. Smoked black pudding sounds truly incredible!

Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday.

Alicia Foodycat said...

There were some good food bits. Overall it was not the holiday I wanted though! Stroppy letters are being written to one of the hotels.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the mention Foodycat! I think black pudding is a much misunderstood dish and a highly versatile ingredient. I hope my guide managed to show this! The smoked variety sounds delicious and I must try it sometime - I can already imagine it on the bbq as part of a sausage kebab!

Alicia Foodycat said...

That's a good idea! The pub we've had it at serves the smoked black pudding with lovely local belly pork and an apple and calvados sauce. So rich but so good!

Norm Schoen said...

I had Boudin Noir in France and loved it!


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