Letheringsett farm launches a Crackling pork snack

A Norfolk woman has launched a bid to reinvent the culinary reputation of the humble pork scratching.

They turned the humble pork pie into a gastronomic delight - and now one of the team behind north Norfolk's successful Bray's Cottage brand is hoping to work her magic on an even more humble and often derided bar snack.

Described by some food critics as like Father Jack's toenail clippings, pork scratchings are definitely an acquired taste.

Traditionally found at the local pub in little plastic bags and often accompanied by a pint of beer, they are generally demeaned as a bit of a blokeish snack.

But now Sarah Pettegree, who together with Nell Montgomery caused a stir in the food world by introducing a high quality, home-made pork pie, made from the best cuts of pork from their own rare breed pigs, has decided to turn her attention to making a pork scratching product they could be proud of and which they hope will appeal to a whole new audience.

Despite its somewhat unfashionable image the pork scratchings industry is still said to be buoyant with several million bags sold every year throughout the UK.

But within days of announcing the launch of Crackle, her crunchy home-baked roast pork skin from the Bray's Cottage kitchens in Letheringsett, near Holt, the phones and internet have been abuzz with interest.

Most Read

With three different seasonings, smoked paprika and rosemary, lemon pepper and thyme, and fennel and juniper, the demand for Crackle is already outstripping supply and Bray's Cottage is having to install a new extractor fan to allow Sarah to bake the product on all four decks of her big pie oven without kippering the chef.

'It is a bit tongue in cheek to say I am on a mission to rescue the pork scratching because my product is not really the same as the ones you buy in the pub,' she said. 'It is different because it does not have additives and rusk and MSG and E numbers and they are not bleached or deep fried either.

'These are oven roasted so most of the fat drains away and it is simply pork skin like you would have crackling on a roast. There have been loads of enquiries from shops and pubs and I would like to sell it at farmers' markets when I can make it in big enough quantities but I am restricted technically at the moment.'

Their only retail outlet is currently The Wholesome Grocer in Norwich and they have had to ration customers to 100g at a time as the phenomenon grows.

'I had been messing around with the idea for a while and a friend at Northcote Brewery was having a beer tasting so she asked me to bring some Crackle along for people to try. It went down really well and as Tim from The Wholesome Grocer was there he asked if he could have it in the shop. We can't make it quick enough for him at the moment and he had to keep it under the counter!'

Sarah is trying to distinguish her product from pork scratchings, selling it in little squares and in glass jars as opposed to plastic bags and is thrilled with the response.

Her Twitter account @Brays_Cottage is also full of requests for her new product and a growing army of fans with one tweeter even going as far as to describe it as 'the Beluga of crackles'.

'It is similar to the pork pie challenge because lots of people said they did not like the ones they had bought before but many people, especially young people and women get almost addicted to our pies,' she said.

'Crackle is the same as pork scratchings in that it is a snack made of pig skin but it is very different in the way it is made. But I make things how I like them. That is the beauty of having my own business.'

For more details visit www.perfectpie.co.uk.