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Emmett’s of Peasenhall
Truly stunning bacon, sliced as thick as you like it from an old hand-turned bacon slicer. Try their black bacon, cured in spices and molasses – sweet, tangy and lip-smackingly good. Their Christmas bacon features treacle, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg and star anise. There’s a full range of ribs, hams and pancetta, and a well-stocked deli and coffee shop to boot.
Peasenhall, Saxmundham, Suffolk, IP17 2HJ; 01728 660250, www.emmettsham.co.uk
Colin Woodall is an eighth-generation ham-curer and bacon-maker, and though he had to sell the business a few years ago due to ill health, he’s still very much involved in development. A new range of air-dried charcuterie based on old family recipes has just been launched. The “Royal” version, marinated in a Suffolk-style pickle for eight days, cold smoked, then air-dried for at least six months, is a thing of beauty.
This Lincolnshire farm offers a range of bacon cuts you just don’t see these days. As well as back and streaky there’s middle bacon, which is streaky and back still connected together, and collar bacon, which is cut from the shoulder and possesses more flavour due to the darker meat and beautiful marbling of fat. All their bacon is cold smoked for 17 hours over mature English oak chips.
Redhill Farm, Blyton Carr, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire DN21 3DT; 01427 628270, www.redhillfarm.com
Newlyns Farm Shop
One of the few bacon producers in the UK to do everything themselves. All their bacon comes from their own Berkshire pigs reared on the 500-acre family farm. It’s prepared by a team of in-house butchers, dry-cured with salt for a week, then smoked and sliced, to produce a classic dry-cured bacon. Upstairs is a cookery school, should you need inspiration for how to use it.
Lodge Farm, North Warnborough, Hook, Hampshire RG29 1HA; 01256 704128, www.newlyns-farmshop.co.uk
Winner of numerous awards and holder of a royal warrant to supply Prince Charles, Denhay’s bacon (back or streaky) comes either unsmoked or gently smoked over beech. It’s also available in a traditional Wiltshire cure, where the loins are submerged in a special brine for up to three days. The result is a subtle, slightly salty flavour and distinctively meaty texture.
Broadoak, Bridport, Dorset DT6 5NP; 01308 458963, www.denhay.co.uk
Andrew Webb is the author of ‘Food Britannia’ (Random House)