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Christmas Day: West Country Food Heroes

Christmas Day: West Country Food Heroes


Pictured above: innocently roaming turkeys from West Country Turkeys Smoked salmon may be a more traditional Christmas Day breakfast but this year we’re choosing Dorset Cereal’s brand new Gingerbread Porridge (available from Waitrose). It tastes totally delicious – they’ve nailed the taste of Christmas with this one - takes seconds to make (amid the Christmas Stocking mayhem) and leaves room for the obscene lunchtime blow out.

We think the veg ought to be as spectacular as the turkey on Christmas Day (especially if you've got some vegetarians knocking around) and for this reason we’ll be taking pot luck from one of Devon-based Riverford Organic's veg boxes (small boxes from £12.35).

And while we're on the subject of Riverford we're ordering in a cooked ham for Boxing Day sandwiches and general ham plus cranberry jelly snacking.

In Cornwall South Torfrey Farm near Fowey is the go-to place for an organic turkey or goose that will truly knock your socks off. Debbie Andrews rears her birds on a diet of natural cereals and soya and feeds them raw garlic ‘if they are looking a bit peaky.” Locally she supplies Lobbs, Cusgarne, Trevellyan farm shops amongs others and you can also buy on the gate. Fortunately for those of us who don’t live in Cornwall you can now also buy online -- www.southtorfreyfarm.com Turkeys from £10.70 a kilo and geese from £13 a kilo. And there's also West Country Turkeys (main pic) in Winsham on the Somerset/Dorset/Devon border whose free range feathery friends get to roam during the day and are cosily stabled up at night-time. The birds are hung for a minimum of 10 days to optimise their flavour. Free range bronze turkey from £7 a kilo. Of course we'll top our turkey with dry cured streaky bacon rashers from Dorset-based Denhay (the pork is handrubbed with sea salt) - who else? Come to think of it, a Denhay bacon sarnie will help sort out the Boxing Day hangover.

If you've decided to swerve the traditional turkey/goose number then a meat box from North Somerset's fieldandflower is the way to go (their monthly beef boxes are hugely popular). Choose from Somerset beef, lamb, pork, chicken or game and make up your own Christmas box from £55  (last orders by December 16 and free range turkeys are available too). For wine to accompany the feast we have two great suggestions from our wine writer, Jason Yapp of Yapp Brothers. For a white, try Savoie ‘Cuvée L’Orangerie’ 2010 from Domaine de L’Idylle at £9.50 / bottle.  "It's whistle-clean and relatively low in alcohol at just 11%" (so plenty of scope for more indulging). It's orange-blossom scents and palate of crisp orchard fruit make it a crowd-pleasing aperitif and fine partner to smoked salmon or canapés".

 

For a red Jason suggests Vacqueyras ‘Cuvée Speciale’ 2003 from Pascal Frères at £12.75 / bottle. "A classic southern Rhône, with a beguiling bouquet of briary hedgerow berries and a palate of dark, Autumnal fruit with warming, spicy undertones it will partner roast meats to perfection".  Best if decanted an hour before serving. And now to Christmas pudding. Well, that's easy because it has to be a meltingly soft ultra-boozy one from Figgy's Pudding in Exeter, a West Country food hero if ever there was one. The puddings are made by husband and wife team Richie and Jo Evans and the recipe includes free range eggs from Greendale Farm, port stout from Devon-based O Hanlons brewery and 10 year old Somerset Cider Brandy. The Evans don't stint on expensive ingredients either - Greek Vostizza currants, Californian raisins and Australian 5 Crown sultanas go into the mix - ensuring a total knock-out of a pudding. And we're hearing some pretty wonderful things about the Christmas Puds on offer at Georgieporgiespuddings in Ottery St Mary, Devon too. We've always loved everything about Purbeck ice cream, a wholesome business run from a family farm right opposite Corfe Castle in Dorset. Now they've come up with Chrimbo Pud ice cream - a brilliant alternative for those who don't like figgy pudding or as an accompaniment for those who do. Like all their ice creams it's a ridiculously creamy and moreish taste explosion and entirely natural, natch. Find Purbeck in shops throughout Dorset, Devon and Somerset.   Finally if you're looking for a one-stop shop for all your artisan Christmas goodies, then you won't go wrong with a West Country farm shop. Too many brilliant ones to mention but here are three of our favourites - Lobbs Farm Shop, Heligan in Cornwall, White Row Country Foods in Beckington, Somerset and Darts Farm Shop, near Exeter in Devon. Exhausted yourself with all that eating? Then there's only one thing for it - a digestif in the shape of Julian Temperley's ultra delicious 10 year old cider brandy will sort you out. One way or another.

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