One of the best things about travelling around Britain is the opportunity to visit high-quality, local, specialist producers and try and buy their products.
One such producer is Brown & Forrest, a small family run smokery producing a wide range of smoked goods including eel, salmon and duck, to name just a few.
Started 29 years ago at Bowdens Farm, Hambridge, the smokery now has both a shop and on-site restaurant, where you can feast on the smoked goods before buying a selection to take home with you.
The smokery was on my list to visit during my May trip to nearby West Dorset, but having failed to do so, I was delighted when fellow food blogger Helly suggested a lunch meeting there, the day after Meemalee's Burmese Popup.
To allow us to work out which smoked products we wanted to order for our mains, Helly arranged in advance for us to start our lunch with sharing plates featuring a variety of Brown and Forrest's smoked products including salmon, duck, chicken and eel. This was a fantastic idea and I'd recommend getting in touch to organise something similar if you're planning a trip with a group of friends.
Mains were served with a nicely dressed side salad and garlicky potatoes. All came in under £10. Everyone ordered what they'd liked the best from the tasting plate; there were lots of happy eaters.
Not that we had space, but we all ordered desserts. The sticky toffee and date pudding and the syrup sponge pudding were unanimously voted the winners. The queen of puddings and white chocolate desserts were also good. Only the tiramisu disappointed – a stodgy, overly cheesy and heavy lump which both who ordered it left almost untouched.
After our lunch (which was less than £20 a head including drinks) we loaded up on goodies from the shop. Pete and I bought some smoked black pudding, smoked duck, smoked trout and smoked brie.
Meemalee bought half the shop!
Pete and I had some of the smoked black pudding for breakfast the next morning (along with some delicious Denhay bacon and fried eggs) and we both absolutely loved it. Soft black pudding with just the right hint of smoky flavour not to overwhelm pudding or rest of plate. Perfect!
Back home, we enjoyed the rest of our haul, impressed with the smoked brie too – again, a subtle hand meant the smokiness enhanced rather than overpowered the natural taste of the cheese.
You can buy Brown & Forrest smoked goods through their online mail order service or, if you're in the vicinity, I strongly recommend a visit in person.