This producer is flying the flag for Norfolk by stocking Fortnum & Mason for Burn’s Night
- Credit: Archant
The Fruit Pig Company's haggis is to be stocked at exclusive London food hall.
A Proudly Norfolk producer is celebrating being chosen to stock London's prestigious Fortnum & Mason. The Fruit Pig Co, run by Matt Cockin and Grant Harper has delivered 32 portions of Norfolk haggis to the store just in time for Burns Night, with the buying team in the city suitably impressed by the quality of the duo's version of the traditional Scottish speciality.
The deal comes just a few months after Matt and Grant began making haggis commercially (although they've been making it privately for several years), with Fortnum committing to taking the brand's unique black and white puddings later this year too.
For the business partners, who already supply to 80 outlets nationally, sending products to the kitchens of Tom Kerridge, Tom Aikins, Duck and Waffle and the like, the deal with Fortnum is a real coup, cementing their status as one of the finest food producers in the UK.
While haggis is an organically growing part of The Fruit Pig Co, what Matt and Grant are best known for are their black and white puddings, amazingly made with blood which abattoirs would otherwise pay to have taken away as category 3 waste.
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This is a tremendous story of making something from nothing. Matt and Grant visit trusted, reputable local abattoirs and collect fresh blood for free, with the saline, dark rouge liquid blended with free-range pork fat and a secret blend of seasonings to create a finished black pudding that is crumbly, distinctively spicy, full-bodied and totally incomparable to bog standard supermarket versions.
Matt is almost 99% sure there isn't anybody else commercially making black pudding from fresh blood. 'As far as I'm concerned,' he adds, 'we're the only ticket in town.'
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According to Matt, aside from a handful of good makers (Stornaway being one) the basic standard of black pudding generally in the UK is 'rubbish'.
'You can get 3lbs for about £2 in wholesale terms and you can only imagine what's in them. We are charging £16 for 1.25kg, but it's British blood, and free-range fat with no growth promoters. The cheapest products are water and fillers and are so low in fat, but it means they are basically cardboard –like a ship's biscuit. And you'll see some have got raising agent. They need that to get the fluffiness back. But we don't need to do that. Our black pudding is reassuringly fatty.
'We are 25% fat and that costs money and is a hugely increased cost but for us it's about flavour and texture and we've got some lovely fans of our products.'
Matt's favourite place to enjoy his black pudding is at Olives on Elm Hill in Norwich, where he recently ate with the Fry Up Inspector and Fry Up Police. At home he says it works beautifully in a classic pairing with scallops, and is great rolled into savoury 'bon bons' with leek and mature cheddar.
'Burger and Beyond on Shoreditch High Street in London have got it on as croquettes. But I think as long as you don't overload the dish, the black pudding is nice with fish. Or you can make croutons out of it for a salad. I made black and white pudding croutons for a Caesar salad and it was the nuts,' Matt smiles.
Lesser known in the 'meat pudding' world is white pudding, also made by The Fruit Pig Co. 'Basically it's oats, fat and spices,' Matt explains. 'It's a great Celctic tradition and no Irish breakfast plate of value can be without it. In Devon they have a version, hogg's pudding which has added oregano or cumin and a lot more meat, so it's not just fat. There might be some bacon or extra pork. We add our own bacon to ours, as well as oregano and cumin so it's not bland. We've had people say it's not authentic but all I know is last year we were selling 50kilos a month and at the moment we're doing lots more and trying to keep up with demand!'
The producer also makes specialist bacons including mutton bacon from cured mutton leg, and a variety of pancettas.
If you want to try the Norfolk-made real deal for yourself you can go online where an interactive map can show your closest stockist.
Make The Fruit Pig's croissant black pudding roll
This recipe was devised for the producer by chef Jon Devine-Gay. A great option for brunch.
1 pack ready rolled croissant dough
200g high quality sausagemeat
4 slices fresh blood black pudding
1tbsp apple sauce
1 egg, beaten
Mix together the sausagemeat and black pudding. Add the apple sauce and season. Separate the croissant triangles. Lay one out on a floured surface and just before the thickest end place a sausage shaped 3cm thick piece of the meat mixture. Roll up the croissant and stick the end down with a bit of the beaten egg. Place on a lined tray and repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Brush all over with egg and bake at 200C for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.