Have a go at… a butchery demo
On a dark February night, came the inviting glow of a Farm shop, late one Thursday evening. An intimate gathering had assembled, awaiting a spectacular display of tutorials, talents and a chance to tantalise taste buds.
My ‘have a go’ this week took me to Welbeck Farm Shop, to enjoy a two-hour butchery demonstration with resident butcher Paul Birchall.
I took my place on a row of comfy foldaway chairs, set within the shop itself, and sat notepad in hand, enjoying the subtle hum of the refrigerators (stocked full of delicious local produce) as I awaited the demo. (I would advise taking a jumper, as the Farm Shop was a little chilly afterhours).
In front of the audience lay an impressive side of beef ready for butchering, and as the clock struck seven – the demonstration began.
Paul showed clear passion and knowledge throughout – creating a delightful mix of scientific fact and butchery terminology (with a few personal memoirs thrown in) to keep us all entertained, and informed.
The audience was openly encouraged to ask questions at any point – and the intimacy of the evening gave the tutorial an informal, friendly tone.
It was great to learn that quality of produce is at the heart of all they do at Welbeck Farm Shop – and the meat is handled with utmost care and skill.
My favourite part of the night was definitely Paul’s ad hoc recipe hints and tips throughout the demo – including a delicious ‘store cupboard friendly’ barbecue glaze for ribs. (Head to the Farm shop and he might just share it with you too)
About halfway into the demo, we were treated to a glass of wine (or sparkling elderflower), a hearty helping of freshly made stew (with bread) as well as the chance to peruse the shop after hours at our leisure (which felt a treat within itself).
Watching the butcher using techniques such as French trimming and stringing was a great chance to see the skills and long-established techniques used in butchery.
One of the greatest lessons to come from the evening was the large choice of cuts which can come from one animal, and that sometimes the cheaper cuts make for the tastier meals.
Two hours soon passed – and with a notebook full of hints and tips, and a satisfied appetite, I headed away full of ideas for how to use what I had learnt at home.
I’d definitely recommend future Farm Shop demonstrations – particularly for the foodies amongst us – but also for those looking for something other than another night of sofa surfing as it makes for a nice evening out too.
Butchery demos are currently enjoying their moment in the spotlight – with write ups in the press suggesting that demos such as these are overtaking more traditional food classes favoured by the domestically inclined.
Tickets for the demo were priced at a reasonable £7 which included the two hour demonstration, a large glug of wine – and a tasty morsel.
Look out for upcoming demo days, the next one being an Easter baking demo with Shelly Preston (owner of the delightful Boutique Aromatique, which can be found in the foyer) on 29 March – I have my seat booked already!
“Fat is the secret ingredient to taste” – Paul Birchall
Look out for my next blog as I enjoy an Ice age Adventure..