BOOK GLOUCESTERSHIRE HOTELS


Old Spot Pork, Gloucestershire

More British food legends

It feels strange advocating the eating of what is an endangered species, but consumption of premium price (and delicious) pork from the Gloucester Old Spot would make it more attractive commercially, and thus it is to be hoped more would be farmed. With fewer than 2,000 pigs globally, of which at least half are in the UK, the Gloucester Old Spot is definitely a minority animal compared to the vast numbers of pink porkers raised worldwide.

Why should the breed be promoted? In addition to the genetic argument – the wider the gene pool the more security for animals, and the better chances of natural improvements – there are historic and culinary reasons for supporting the Old Spot. As a breeding animal the Old Spot brings a certain toughness that means it can be reared outdoors with few if any problems, able to fend for itself in orchards on windfall fruit – indeed it has the nickname Orchard Pig. As a good milk producer, famously careful mother, and prolific breeder, the Old Spot has much to recommend it to breeding programmes.
The historical reason is this was the first ‘pedigree’ pig, the Gloucestershire Old Spots Breed Society having been formed in 1913. Until then while cows and horses were considered gentlemanly animals, worthy of careful breeding, pigs still had the stigma of being a mucky peasant beast. Found particularly around the Berkeley area in Gloucestershire, the Old Spot prospered for centuries on the local apples and the whey from the cheese industry in the region.

In culinary terms the Gloucester Old Spot has much to offer too, though the fat that marbles its flesh, and the thick layer of back fat typical of the breed, are considered not to modern tastes by some. Chefs and gourmets know that marbling in meat is essential to baste the lean as it cooks, and carry the flavours of meat. The pig’s fat physiology also lends itself to top quality crackling when cooked by a careful hand.
The Gloucester Old spot then, shaped like a huge artillery shell with a barely discernible neck, its massive lop-ears drooping like a moody teenager’s hair, the random black spots marking it as different from the poor indoor pig, is something to be cherished. Because of its docile temperament and easy outdoor rearing it has become the pig of hobbyists, and is sometimes to be found in farm shops. If you do find Old Spot pork, or bacon, try it. There is a real difference in flavour, and as we are urged to reduce our meat intake, it makes perfect sense to ensure that when we do tuck in to flesh it is of the highest quality and savour.

Visit Gloucester

Brit Quote:
If you want to eat well in England, eat three breakfasts. - Somerset Maugham
More Quotes

On this day:
Statute of Marlborough - 1267, Caxton Prints 1st Book in England - 1477, Table Tennis 1st played - 1889, Battle of the Somme Ends - 1916, Walton Sextuplets Born - 1983, Kings Cross Fire - 1987, Beirut Hostage Terry Waite Released - 1991
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages

England:
Bath
Bedfordshire
Berkshire
Bristol
Buckinghamshire
Cambridgeshire
Cheshire
Cleveland/Teesside
Cornwall
County Durham
Cumbria
Derbyshire
Devon
Dorset
Essex
Gloucestershire
Greater Manchester
Hampshire
Herefordshire
Hertfordshire
Kent
Lancashire
Leicestershire
Lincolnshire
London
Merseyside
Norfolk
Northamptonshire
Northumberland
Nottinghamshire
Oxfordshire
Rutland
Shropshire
Somerset
Staffordshire
Suffolk
Surrey
Sussex
Tyne & Wear
Warwickshire
West Midlands
Wiltshire
Worcestershire
East Yorkshire
North Yorkshire
South Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
Scotland:
Angus & Dundee
Argyll
Ayrshire & Arran
Borders
Dumfries & Galloway
Edinburgh & the Lothians
Fife
Glasgow
Grampian
Highlands
Isle of Islay
Isle of Mull
Isle of Skye
Lanarkshire
Perthshire
Stirlingshire
Western Isles
Wales:
Anglesey
Mid Wales
North Wales
South Wales
West Wales
Ireland
Northern Ireland:
Belfast
County Antrim
County Armagh
County Down
County Fermanagh
County Londonderry
County Tyrone
Offshore:
Guernsey
Jersey
Isle of Man
Isle of Wight
Isles of Scilly
Orkneys
Shetland Isles