Were it not for the obscenely high quality of the produce itself, one of the greatest pleasures of the meat from Beechcroft farm would be that it is grown half an hour’s walk from my front door. As a long-time big city dweller, having seriously good food grown within walking distance seems a real treat.
When I was a much younger child than I am now I used to be a country lad. I’d bag pheasant and rabbit with my air rifle after school to sell to the village butcher. Living in Oxford and London I lost that close attachment to food, but after visiting the Hampshire Farmers’ Market, tasting Beechcroft’s brilliant food, then discovering they are just down the road I feel food and I are intimate neighbours once again.
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The first thing I picked up from Beechcroft at the Hampshire Farmers’ Market were some Old English chipolatas. They were fab! The meaty character of the rare-breed pork is very powerful and enhanced by a subtle seasoning. I do like the chipolatas as they are simple to cook for a quick breakfast, but I’ve had the girthier sausage versions and they are just as good. They freeze just fine, but unless you need to pick up vast quantities at one time I’d just cook them as soon as you buy them and eat with extraordinary pleasure. You may recall that these were the sausages that got Editor Daniel so keen to get some English pork inside him.
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The first part of the Christmas order we tucked into were some burgers. The blurb on the Beechcroft website is very encouraging, but didn’t quite prepare me for the incredible flavour and supreme quality of the beef in this relatively simple meal. I’ll admit, the burger at Hawksmoor is a more complex, artful construction, but as far as raw meat brilliance goes these were peerless.
Some people are sniffy about eating things like burgers, but as I have often pointed out pleasure exists at all levels; even fast food like a burger can deliver really lubricious pleasure. The noises I made after each bite of these burgers spoke volumes about the satisfaction they delivered. Some brilliant cheese and jalapeno bread from Reeve the Baker worked a treat as enclosures (more on the baker will follow soon).
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So things are pretty damned positive so far, as soon as I unwrapped the kilo of rump steak in the ordered they got hilariously better and I wanted to nosh on that meat instantly. Yeah, looked really good, can you see? As we grilled it the aromas were fantastic and we ate it all up in double-quick time. Rump steak is not my favourite (next order will be rib eye or sirloin) but this gave no ground to the best from London’s Ginger Pig or even the special selections of their stuff Hawksmoor get. Rump steak as good as it bloody well gets!
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My final stop on this tour of gustatory brilliance is not from Beechcroft themselves, but is the chicken from the next door farm which they represent on the market at their farm shop. It is well up to the standard of Beechcroft’s other food, which is to say it is bum-bogglingly-brillo. Definitely one of the very best chickens I have ever cooked (and I cooked the bleeder perfectly!) and at £5.72 per kilo I was gobsmacked by the pleasure it delivered at that price. Amazing fowl, all right!
Looking at the pictures of all this food and thinking about it has I have written this piece have made my juices flow and the occasional drop of drool fall onto my shirt, this was food at the screamingly supreme end of wonderfulness. I cannot emphasise enough how much it pleasured me and if you are in the Winchester area you should definitely be taking the short trip out to their farm shop or grabbing the ladies at the Hampshire Farmers’ Market (a great location to grab anyone, I fancy). Those less geographically blessed can visit the website and order food that’ll have you dribbling as much as me when my meat’s just about ready to serve. I haven’t tried the lamb yet, but everything else has been completely cracking. They’ll be servicing Elitistreview’s entertaining requirements whenever possible!
Beechcroft Farm, Crabwood, Sarum Road, Winchester SO22 5QS