Getting my oink on with absurdly perfect pastry and meat at the Ginger Pig…

The Ginger Pig has been around for some 20+ years now and it’s been on my must-visit list for the last 2. Synonymous with a superb quality of meat and an excellent choice of produce, it’s one of those places that you half wish you lived near and are half thankful that you don’t because you could spend a serious amount of money cultivating and tending to an addiction to this place…

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On their website (which has some amazing recipes on it in their Hog Blog), they claim that ‘at the heart of everything we do is good animal husbandry and welfare; livestock that is looked after well in the field will simply taste better on the plate’ and if my first time of sampling their wares is any indicator of how much better it tastes, it won’t be the last.

The first time I went to Leiths, I spotted the Ginger Pig shop on Askew Road and was absurdly excited to do so. Sadly, ever course I went to was in the evening when the shop was shut and I was forced to press my face and hands against the glass outside like a starving waif…

…sorry, I’m just allowing those who know me to take a moment and compose themselves after snorting with laughter at the very idea of me ever being anywhere close to vaguely mal-nourished…

…anyway finally, a Saturday course arrived and so did my opportunity to step inside. One half of the shop is the butchers where sausages and joints and burgers and steaks and kebabs and mince lay side by side in a rainbow of gorgeously deep marbled reds and pinks. The other side is the deli area where baskets of fresh vegetables sit adjacent to sausage rolls, pies, pates, scotch eggs, hams, pickles and preserves. It’s the kind of place where you want one of everything because there isn’t anything that doesn’t look, literally look, like it’s been baked with an unadulterated and sincere love of food.

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Demonstrating the ultimate in uncharacteristic restraint here, I went for 3 different products to take home and share with J…see? Showing restraint AND sharing my food? Look at me, I’m growing people, right in front of your eyes.

May I present, in all their shiny, golden handmade glory, a spiced lamb sausage roll, a Scotch quail’s egg and a cheese and tomato pork pie…

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Well I hate to be predictable and say that they tasted every bit as good as they looked, But I’m afraid, they absolutely did.

The sausage roll was rich with the flavour of lamb and seasoned with enough bite to leave a reminder on your tongue without ripping all the taste-buds off it. The egg was teeny tiny but packed full of flavour from the generous sausage-meat that enveloped it and the pie was surprisingly delicate in it’s flavour with the pork, cheddar and sun-dried tomato working together rather than fighting for supremacy. Yep, this is a 100% democratic piece of pork-pie-manship and I loved it. Loved every single mouthful of every single item although the winner had to be the sausage roll. Superbly cooked meat with perfectly baked pastry – it may very well be the only sausage roll I wouldn’t be scared to eat.

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Hearty and heavy. Those are two words that would describe this makeshift picnic meal perfectly and I don’t want you to think for a moment that the second of those adjectives is meant as a negative because it’s absolutely not.

I think so much of the mass produced food that’s churned out for our high street chains is lacking in the really good quality ingredients so when you get to taste these items as they should be, their flavour and texture and sheer weight can sometimes take you by surprise but then really, it’s not as if you’re going to feast at the Ginger Pig then think ‘hey, a marathon sounds like a great idea now!’ No, no, no.

A feast at the Redheaded Porcine should be revelled in as you lay in the park under a tree, picnicking away with friends when the most taxing after lunch activity is a snooze…this is amazing British food to be proud of so if it’s something you’ve yet to experience, I urge you to Google your nearest location and get a move on with doing just that.

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