Have a butchers at this

I’ve commented before on how I worry about the effect supermarkets have on people’s eating habits. Cut price invariably means bland, water-injected or tasteless. And so, over time, people’s tastebuds become neutered and they accept this as the norm. It’s a crying shame, in my opinion, not only because it symbolises the reduction in acceptable quality but, more ominously, because it threatens the livelihoods of the butchers, bakers, fishmongers and greengrocers who fervently defend great quality and often local produce.

We had an absolute Friday Food classic this week. There is one of the best butchers I’ve ever come across near my daughter’s school called the Game Larder (http://www.localfoodadvisor.com/Producers/TheGameLarder-3897.aspx). Not only does it have passionate and knowledgeable staff, supported by Paul the owner, but has some of the most amazing meat you’ll find anywhere. They care about where meat comes from, ensuring it has the highest provenance, and how it is butchered. But, more than that, they also age the meat transforming it from the insipid bright red slabs of meat you find sweating on plastic trays in Tesco, to a deep and inviting crimson which introduces mouth-watering tenderness and depth of flavour.

Friday brought us two of their finest rib-eye steaks which had been dry-aged for at least 30 days. The marbling was almost renaissance-like which, combined with the ageing, injected fabulous texture and flavour into every bite. This truly is what steak should taste like. I often wonder what regular supermarket-goers would think if they did a blind taste test between this and the usual fodder that is pedalled their way each week.

You should seek out a good butcher and experience this for yourself, unless you’re fortunate enough to live near the Game Larder of course.

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