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I’ve been a fan of The Bear and Blacksmith in Chillington for a few years now. Ever since Malcolm took it over. So I was excited to sit down for a chat about his new venture; The Bear and Blacksmith Butchery in East Allington…
Well, we started off obviously with The Bear and Blacksmith pub in Chillington. Then we got the farm and started growing our own vegetables. After that we got a few sheep and started doing a few lambs for the pub and people were coming in and saying , “Oh my god, this lamb’s so good! We’ve never tasted anything like it! Can we buy some?!” So I was like; “Well… actually yeah, you can”. So we started off in a little unit - not very big at all, in South Allington. From there it kind of snowballed. We were making our own sausages and doing our own bacon. Then we bought our first bullock from a local farmer and we used all of that through the pub. It all went through the pub. People would come in, have an amazing steak and obviously want to buy some for cooking at home. It got to the point that the fridge just wasn’t big enough to cope with the demand. Graham Lethbridge in East Allington called me to say that his butchery was available. I went and had a look at it with Kristian and that was it; we said yes and moved in six weeks ago.
There’s two main avenues of service that we’e offering. One for the farmers; they can have their animals killed at Langs and then we will collect it from Langs, bring it back and cut and pack it for them so they can sell it to their own customers or they can keep it for themselves and put it in their freezer. It can be labelled or what have you - we’ll do whatever they want. We can make it all so easy for them.
The other side of the coin is what we’re offering the public. They can collect from either the butchery in East Allington, the pub in Chillington or they can give us a ring, tell us what they want and we will deliver it to their door. Deliveries will be Thursday or Friday and we’ll cover around a 12 mile radius. Saying that; if someone wants a big delivery outside that area we’re not gonna say no. I’m bringing back the traditional butchers. This is always how it used to be done; good quality meat from local farmers. We are hanging the meat longer and we’ve got Himalayan salt around the perimeter of the fridge inside to dry the air so it’s more of a dry aged meat. It’s old school butchery but it makes a difference and it works! We want to give everyone in the area the chance to buy and cook with what I get to use in my kitchen at The Bear and Blacksmith.
Kristian Press is the butcher. He’s a butcher through and through. Then there’s Lilly Tucker who was front of house at the pub before but she’s now managing the office up at the butchery and she’ll be delivering the meat too. If they get busy then I’ll be up their helping out and Louise is happy to flit between the two businesses if needed too. With regards to the local farms we use the Colleridge Farm in Chillington - their Hereford beef is absolutely phenomenal. We also use Jack Perry and Graham Lethbridge amongst others. We are using local farmers and supporting the local community.
The flavour. It’s almost overwhelming really. It’s totally different to the mass produced stuff that you’d buy in a supermarket. It sounds daft but the lamb that you buy usually is too fresh. To do it right it needs to be hung for a week to let it dry and mature a little bit. The taste is incomparable and it’s a lot more tender. That’s how it used to be. You can’t rush it! They’re also surprised at just what they can do with one of the cheaper cuts. People don’t think these days about using a neck of lamb or a shin of beef but it’s incredible what you can do with a shin when you know how to do it. I would rather sit down to a shin of beef than a fillet steak. My cheffing experience brings me a wealth of knowledge and I really want to pass this information on to my customers. You don’t need to go for the expensive cuts. These days people can’t afford it and they don’t need to. We do half a lamb for £70. You get a lot of meat for £70! We want to get that traditional feel back to butchery. Get people eating wholesome food and not charge them the earth for it.
I’d love to see some rosettes on the front door of the The Bear and Blacksmith pub. We’ve definitely earned those now. We’ve got the food to a standard where it’s really good food and we’re not robbing people. We’ve got a fantastic reputation for the pub and we will bring that to the butchery too. When I do something I do it well.
In 12 months time I’d like to have two butchers vans on the road and have everyone using us. I’d like for people to have ditched their supermarket meat and be thinking about where their food is actually coming from. It’s not just about taste - it’s also about the welfare of the animals. If I sit down to a lamb meal I know how that lamb has been treated during its lifetime and I know which field it grazed in. We give them a good quality of life until it’s time for them to go.
Lockdown will not affect The Bear and Blacksmith Butchery and for those isolating (and everybody else!) it’s the perfect way to source quality meat at affordable prices. This Christmas why not enjoy the very best of the local produce around?! Christmas orders noire now being taken. Choose from The Bear and Blacksmith Farm Lamb, Pork and Goose, Wholesome Park Farm Highland Beef and Coleridge Farm Poultry and Turkey, and Creedy Carver Duck & Chicken. You can have all of this ultra local produce delivered to you door for Christmas! Last orders 15th December 2020
Visit their listing on southhams.com for full contact details. Give Lilly a call today and get your first order in. You won’t regret it!
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