Last week, Tom Parker Bowles waxed lyrical about bacon in general — and the joys of the perfect bacon sandwich in particular. But where to get your bacon? Here he picks out some of his favourite sources.
This is my everyday, go-to bacon, dry cured, smoked and streaky, made from outdoor-reared pigs. It’s cut thin, gently smoked over beechwood and crisps up beautifully. You can also taste the quality of the pig. I like the smoked back bacon, too, which has a wonderfully meaty chew.
01404 548262; www.denhay.co.uk
Sandridge Farmhouse Bacon, Wiltshire
The purist’s bacon, cured in the traditional Wiltshire way, which means a wet cure, in a brine bath, for 72 hours, followed by two weeks’ maturation. Smoking (in the case of the Golden Rind) takes place over beech and oak wood. The smoke is never overwhelming, meaning the sweet flavour of the pigs really shines through, and the Wiltshire cure is less salty than the traditional dry cure.
01380 850304; www.sandridgefarmhousebacon.co.uk
Traditionally dry cured, using pork from a local Gloucestershire organic herd, Daylesford bacon has great alabaster ribbons of fat running through the rashers, thanks to a special cross between Large White and Duroc pigs. Smoking over applewood enhances the sweetness of the meat and you can really taste the quality of the pig. It crisps up well, too.
01608 731670; www.daylesford.com
HG Walter, London W14
This is a rather subtle, but unmistakably piggy, variety of traditional dry-cured bacon, with a whisper of smoke and a real sweetness to the rasher. The bacon is made from native-breed pigs and smoked over a mix of apple and beech wood.
020 7385 6466; www.hgwalter.com
Ramsay of Carluke, Lanarkshire
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Ramsay of Carluke has been around for 164 years, so has had a bit of time to perfect its bacon-making art. I love the Ayrshire cure (skin off, bone out, wet cured), proper old-fashioned bacon made from outdoor-reared, free-range pigs, smoked over apple and beechwood chips. It also crisps up wonderfully.
01555 772277; www.ramsayofcarluke.co.uk
The Meat Merchant, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland
Using top-quality local pork, The Meat Merchant dry cures its bacon and cold smokes it over a mixture of oak and cherry wood, for a subtle, sweet-smoke tang. You can also buy sugar-pit cured bacon racks, which are unbelievably good.
028–9261 9790; www.themeatmerchant.com
Dingley Dell, Suffolk
Using happy, outdoor-bred Red Duroc pigs from its own Suffolk farm, Dingley Dell bacon is available in both dry-cured and Wiltshire-cured versions, smoked and unsmoked. Proper, old-fashioned bacon.
01728 748097; www.dingleydell.com