Article date: 16 Jun 2010
Summer is back and so is the Wetherspoon ploughman’s.
Yes, by popular demand, this iconic dish really is back – and back with some added twists and tastes, but also back with the same focus on great-tasting British pork pie and British cheese.
Readers of Wetherspoon News may remember that we explored, last year, just how far back in British heritage the dish goes. Specifically, we discovered how the common perception of farmers in fields, merrily sitting on sun-drenched straw bales, chomping into a ploughman’s, may be a million miles and several hundred years away from the alternative reality: that the dish was, in fact, dreamed up by marketeers, briefed to boost sales and promote a hearty lunch, during the swinging 60s. Either way, to me, history is irrelevant and taste is everything. The key ingredients in the Wetherspoon ploughman’s are unmistakably British: British cheese and British pork pie, with the red onion marmalade and malted grain baguette bringing an up-to-date twist to this classic dish.
But, back to the aforementioned British farming scene. Well, when you tuck into the Tickler cheese in our ploughman’s, you can be assured that you are directly supporting British farmers.
Only milk from Devon’s lush rolling fields, between Dartmoor and Exmoor, is used to make the Tickler cheese at the Taw Valley Creamery. Indeed, the farmers themselves formed a co-operative which ultimately owns and produces the cheese, meaning that the farmers are all directly responsible for the quality of the end product.
This not only guarantees the great taste – which you can judge for yourself – but also ensures that the farmers use a genuine, hands-on focus to produce milk to the very highest standards, with the welfare of the animals being paramount.
The milk has a massive influence on the cheese’s final taste, and the farmers know that only by producing a creamy milk, day in, day out, can the quality of the cheese be guaranteed. Indeed, very little is added to the creamy milk, other than a bit or rennet (natural enzymes) and salt – and then a lot of time – about 18 months to be precise – for the natural maturing process to develop the taste and flavours.
Now, time and tradition are relevant also to our Melton Mowbray pork pie, the characteristics and taste of which are defined by the cooking methods and ingredients typical of the 18th-century pie-makers of the Melton Mowbray area.
Melton Mowbray pies are distinctive, with their grey meat colouring, the result of slow-baking the fresh – 100% British – pork. The texture and quality of the pork also distinguish ‘Melton’ pies from other pies, since ‘Melton’ pies use only pork shoulder, with its much lower fat content than most cuts typically used for pies, delivering a very meaty taste and texture.
Add to that a nice jelly and seasoning, all encased in a hand-crafted pastry case – and you have a modern-day throwback to the pies of old.
As for the new-look 2010 ploughman’s, you will notice a new red onion marmalade which brings a sweetness and sharpness to perfectly complement both the pie and the cheese.
Talking of onions, so many of you said, last year, that a ploughman’s just wasn’ t a ploughman’s without the pickled onion – well, fair enough – your new ploughman’s comes complete with pickled onion!
So, whether the dish originates from 1690 or 1960 – give the 2010 version a try. We think that you will approve.
If you can’t get enough of our red onion marmalade, why not make some yourself to enjoy at home? Click here to download the recipe!