2:57pm Monday 17th March 2008
There was a time, in the 1970s, when every child's packed lunch, or every picnic basket thrown into the back of a car, would contain at least one scotch egg. They were a staple food for everyone, from hungry children to adults looking for a hearty lunch.
And then, for some unknown reason, they went out of fashion.
There is, however, one local company that is trying its best to put scotch eggs back in the nation's lunchboxes - and you can find them at your local farmers' market.
The Handmade Scotch Egg Company was started by Penny & Neil Chambers and launched at the Teme Valley Farmers' market back in 2003. At the time they offered just six varieties of scotch egg - a figure that has now risen to 30.
The pair say that these are not simply scotch eggs, but lovingly prepared meals in their own right - made with eggs from free-to-roam happy chickens and pigs - each one put together by hand and presented in perfect condition.
Penny and Neil buy local free-range ingredients direct from farmers and producers and are committed to building an ethically sound business. They hope - eventually - to reinstate the humble scotch egg as Britain's favourite snack food.
These are not, though, the sort of scotch eggs you will remember from your childhood - Penny and Neil have produced an inspired range of new scotch eggs to suit every palate.
Why not try the Colonel - free-range British saddleback pork with Shropshire Lad beer mustard from the deli on the square in Ludlow, finished with fresh cress. Or the Pip Squeak, delicious pork - a hybrid Gloucester Old Spot and Tamworth Pig - with organic sesame and pumpkin seeds marinated in molasses. These are just two of many options - including several vegetarian or wheat-free ones.
The company has been so successful it was invited by Heart of England Fine Foods to spend three days at London's chic Borough Market last week. Penny said: "It's a fantastic opportunity to take our product to the London marketplace."
If you can't be persuaded by the regular scotch eggs, Penny and Neil also offer trays of wee ones' - top-quality quail's eggs wrapped in a similarly diverse range of delicious ingredients as their larger cousins.
For more information about the Handmade Scotch Egg Company, see www.handmadescotcheggs.co.uk More information about farmers' markets is at www.wfmg.co.uk.
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