Guy Warner: Beef it up!
PUBLISHED: 16:20 19 February 2018
Where to find the best meat in the Cotswolds for your Sunday roast...
If you’re not lucky enough to be in sunnier climes at this time of year, there is comfort to be found in one of our home-grown traditions – the Sunday roast. While reports suggest that the tradition of the Sunday roast may be waning, I say it’s very much alive and kicking here in the Cotswolds. And the reason why – phenomenal meat.
It’s no coincidence that we have some outstanding beef producers nestled in our green valleys, where pasture-fed cattle roam freely in small, sociable herds. Traditional breeds such as Longhorn, Aberdeen Angus, South Devon and Hereford are a common sight on Cotswold farms, chosen for the natural marbling which gives a succulent flavour and tenderness to the meat. From the very first day a calf is born to the very last day that the meat is slowly dry-aged, our best beef producers show a deep respect for their animals and their journey. This is not mass produced beef, but good, honest farming, where the roles of farmer and butcher merge and where the end product is not simply an afterthought but a crucial stage in the life of the animal.
This is the kind of beef that makes headlines, that wins awards, that supplies top chefs and restaurants. Fortunately for us it’s not too hard to track down in the Cotswolds, whether that’s in local butcher and farm shops or on the menu at some of our favourite pubs and restaurants. Here’s where to begin:
Todenham Manor Farm: Irayne Paikin and her team specialise in top quality outdoor-reared beef at this picturesque farm in Todenham where Aberdeen Angus and South Devon cattle graze the pasture land. Dedicated to ethical farming practices, Irayne believes that meat is a precious resource and that the animals it comes from should be treated with respect throughout their lives. Award-winning Todenham Manor Farm beef is available at Warner’s Budgens stores and is on the menu at the fantastic Churchill Arms at Paxford, the Michelin-starred Wild Rabbit at Kingham and the award-winning George Townhouse at Shipston-on-Stour, to name but a few.
Cotswold Wagyu: long considered a delicacy in Japan, this premium beef can now be found in the UK thanks to the vision of Mike and Andrew Tucker who first brought the breed to their Cotswold Farm in 2010. Wagyu beef is prized for the high marbling content in its meat – this intensifies the flavour and gives it melt in the mouth tenderness but don’t be alarmed, this natural fat is actually high in healthy monounsaturated fats. You can try wagyu burgers and steaks at some of our top local restaurants including the award-winning Priory Inn at Tetbury and The Clarence Social in Cheltenham.
Martin’s Meats: Martin Gilder’s passion for truly great beef led him to set up his own butchery where he could oversee the whole process. Martin uses traditional breeds such as Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Longhorn, Britain’s oldest breed of cattle. Martin is one of only a handful of beef producers to age his beef in a Himalayan salt chamber which helps to draw out moisture and impregnates it with an incredible flavour. This multi award-winning meat is available across the Cotswolds, including Warner’s Budgens, and is served up at this year’s Cotswold Life Food & Drink Best Pub of 2017, the Plough at Ford, as well as Cotswold favourites, Blenheim Palace, Cowley Manor and No 5 Winchcombe.
Cotswold Beef: organic, 100% pasture-fed Hereford beef is what you find at Cathy and Ian Boyd’s Cotswold farm which they run with daughter Steph. The farm is only a handful of certified Pasture For Life farms, which means the cattle are not fed any grain at all; rather they rely on the flower and herb-rich meadows to provide their daily nutrients. This produces a premium-tasting meat that has less saturated fat than grain-fed cattle. Being organic, the cattle are never exposed to pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers. Cotswold Beef is available direct from the farm and has just been taken on as sole beef supplier to Gloucester Services.
Locally-owned company Warner’s Budgens have six stores in the area - Bidford-upon-Avon, Moreton-in-Marsh, Quedgeley, Tewkesbury and Winchcombe. Visit the website here.