There's nothing like the smell of frying bacon to get you salivating. In fact, that was my downfall when I was a vegetarian in my late teens - I just couldn't resist the smell of bacon sizzling in the pan on a Sunday morning and threw away my principles for a bite of bacon sandwich ! I must admit though, I can never really tell much difference between the brands, so I just tend to buy whatever's on special offer at the supermarket.
When I was given the chance to try out some Denhay bacon, I was keen to see what I'd think because I have heard some seriously good things about this bacon. In fact, it has won so many awards that their website needs several pages to list them all, but the one that leaps out at me the most is Taste of Excellence awards “For Outstanding Taste” for their Dry Cured Bacon.
So, what's got everyone so excited ? Well, the taste obviously - it's deliciously meaty, unlike most bacon which just tastes salty. The dry cure bacon gets really lovely and crispy, and you don't get the white scummy residue that you often get when frying bacon, because no water is added. Presumably for the same reason, it doesn't shrink in the pan as much as other bacons I've tried. It's also much less greasy and fatty - if you lay it on a piece of kitchen paper to absorb the grease after cooking, you'll be amazed at how little there is, compared to other brands.
But it's not just the taste, texture and lack of fat that sets Denhay bacon apart from the rest. It's also their pig-friendliness. Yes, OK, it seems a bit hardhearted to name a bacon "Spoiltpig" but if you think about battery chickens compared to free-range hens, it's the same idea. The spoiltpig website explains : "Spoiltpig bacon has been produced from animals reared on farms approved under the Freedom Food scheme, which assesses conditions for farm animals in accordance with welfare standards devised and monitored by the RSPCA. Spoiltpig pigs are outdoor reared. That means they spend over half their life outdoors with free access to a wholesome, nutritious diet. They spend the rest of their lives in straw barns where they are provided with clean, dry and comfortable bedding. Spoiltpig customers can therefore be assured that the bacon they are buying is of the highest standards with consistent quality and taste, as well as the humane levels of animal welfare." The pigs' higher quality of life obviously translates into a higher quality of bacon, added to the fact that you can eat it with a clear(ish!) conscience.
Talking about their unique techniques including curing with sea salt, Denhay proudly say : "It involves attention to detail, something that we are prepared to give. We feel that our passion for producing something really special has created a bacon 'tasting like bacon used to taste'." Well, they're certainly right there. Both in a simple bacon sandwich, or used as an ingredient in a more complex dish (we made quiche lorraine, which is basically just a posh name for what my mum used to call egg and bacon flan !), you really can taste the superior quality in terms of taste and texture of the Denham bacon.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £2.69
for more information : http://www.denhay.co.uk/pork.html
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