” When I started nearly all the game was sold with its feathers or fur on and the house wife would then hang it and prepare it them self. Now the public want the game fully prepared so they are be able to open the packet of meat and cook it.” Chris Sole: Blackmore Game
August the 13th 2018 marked the start of this year’s Glorious 12th – confusing right? I know what you’re thinking, surely the Glorious 12th starts on the 12th, and you would be correct in this logic. However shooting grouse and many other game birds on a Sunday is actually illegal and as such, if the 12th falls on a Sunday, then the Glorious 12th commences rather unceremoniously on the Monday.
The Glorious 12th (or 13th in our case) marks the start of Britain’s 121-day grouse shooting season and as game starts to surface across our menus it’s time to get our A-game on and find out more. With seasonal fresh British produce at the heart of our menu’s, we decided to take our plucky Chefs to the heart of Hampshire to discover where our game is sourced, and how best to work with it.
Chris Sole has worked in the with game industry since he was 14 with over 37 years of experience, and really is top of his game when it comes to knowledge and expertise.
‘Grouse this year will really expensive due to the Beast from the East’ he informs us ‘it killed off the heathers and then hot dry summer stopped it growing – grouse will be in high demand’.
It’s good to know and fortunately grouse isn’t the only game bird available, with partridge and duck starting on the 1st of September followed by pheasant at the start of October.
To catch the game season while it’s at its peak you need to be quick of the mark and there are lots of benefits to eating game over the traditional cuts of Lamb, Pork or Beef. Aside from knowing you are eating it whilst it’s at the height of season, game is free range, low in cholesterol and high in protein. For meat-eaters, game is billed as one of the healthiest meats on the market.
Our day at the farm consisted of clay pigeon shooting in the morning followed a butchery masterclass in the afternoon. The clay pigeon shooting is harder than it looks, even with the added guidance of the experts at hand, grouse can fly up to 70mph and this demonstrates the level of expertise involved in bringing the ingredients from the farm to the kitchen. Our butchery masterclass is simply a cut above, supplying our chefs with the chance to spend the afternoon with an industry expert. The whole day is wonderful experience in learning about both provenance and produce.
In celebration of the game season being upon us our highly anticipated game and wine events are returning for the third year. It’s a great opportunity to learn all about our locally sourced game, through a hands on experience with industry experts and preparing your very own game. The evening concludes with mouth-watering dinner prepared by our chefs complete with wine pairing. To find out how you can take part in these exclusive events keep your eyes peeled for more information.