Tuesday, 3 April 2012
R M Plater - Wisbech - Gloucester Old Spot Sausage
Have you seen the TV advert featuring two lumberjacks a-runnin’ and a-jumpin’ on a log? Of course you have. What you probably don’t realise is that their foothold is not a felled tree, it is in fact one of Plater’s Gloucester Old Spot sausages. A small-ish example, but a sausage nevertheless. Plater’s is a small shop in the market town of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, and it’s one of the friendliest places that our sausagey quest has taken us to. It’s ever so slightly tricky to find but soooo worth it.
They have their own website, which includes their opening hours so you can plan your visit. Check out their claim to make over 20 varieties of sausages: Platers-Website
On to the sausages....let’s give them a jolly good rating:
These are huge and scary sausages! It would appear on initial viewing that Plater’s have simply sawn the legs off a Gloucester Old Spot pig and stuck them straight into sausage skins, with zero processing in between. There are no trotters peeping out of the skins though, so perhaps I’m mistaken. The quoted figure is 72% but I suspect that Barry, the resident sausage maker, may be understating a little.
Now you’re talking; these sausages are the real deal. The first mouthful whisked me straight back to my childhood in the (whisper it) mid-seventies. Prosaically speaking the flavour is an initial peppery slap followed by a mouth-filling herbiness, underpinned with the fulsomely grand porkiness. The British Pig Association describe the Gloucester Old Spot breed thus; “a large meaty animal with a broad and deep body”, and this also almost unerringly describes Plater’s sausages made from the same breed. Maybe the reason for the nostalgic flavour is their use of bread as a binding agent instead of the ubiquitous rusk.
Sometimes appearances can be deceiving, sometimes not. You’d think that these huge, rugged logs of prime pig would provide a compact, chunky texture throughout the bangers. You’d be right. As the kids say these days, “O M G”. The sausages are indeed robust and firm, and yet give way “just so” when you want them to –you certainly couldn’t use them as the legs for a meat-based coffee table, say. All four examples cooked differently, which is something we like, but there was some sticky...”stuff”....on a couple that wasn’t particularly endearing.
Average weight uncooked - 94g
Average weight cooked - 69g
Shrinkage - 27%
Losing over a quarter of the weight that you pay for is just not on, no matter how good the end product is (again, maybe something to do with bread instead of rusk?). Big black mark next to these otherwise fantastic snorkers. What a pity.
Value For Money:
£2.44 for 4 sausages, weighing 375g - this works out as a price of £6.50 per kg, or 61p per snorker.
As we’ve said before, “you gets what you pays for”. I’d like to see the price of these bangers fall slightly but 61p is reasonable value for money. It can’t be understated that the reason each sausage costs 61p is that they’re mahoosive and contain a lot of flavour and a lot of pork. Four of these tasty monsters will cost a little less than a pack of supermarket atrocities, and you’ll enjoy them a million times more.
We love the crazy opening hours adopted by many of these excellent butchers, and Plater’s don’t disappoint. Pop over to their website and have a look: Platers-Opening-Hours
And Finally Esther:
Before you go, can you name the product that the splashing lumberjacks are promoting? Everybody likes the advert, but nobody knows what it’s for. The answer, my friends, is multivitamins produced by Berocca. See, you didn’t know! You do now.