Guy Warner: ‘Sausage’ roll of honour

The humble sausage roll

The humble sausage roll - Credit: Archant

Why we should have more respect for the humble sausage roll in 2018

David and Gill Graham of The Cotswold Farmer with one of their sows (c) Antony Thompson / TWM

David and Gill Graham of The Cotswold Farmer with one of their sows (c) Antony Thompson / TWM - Credit: © Thousand Word Media

As 2018 looms with its promise of new and exciting food trends – Indian street food, plant proteins and Japanese ‘Dude’ food apparently – there is one item that is up there on my New Year’s Honours list – the humble sausage roll. That’s because, while you may have been experimenting with turmeric, exhausting the world’s supply of juniper berries and trying avocado with everything in 2017, the sausage roll was making headlines too.

In June, an American retailer upset our very British sense of justice by ‘inventing’ the puff dog – a sausage encased in puff pastry, and what we, on this side of the pond, have known as a sausage roll for years. There followed a Twitter storm of indignation, but the sausage roll came back fighting and in August, one British supermarket introduced the ‘foot-long’ sausage roll in response to customer demands.

In the autumn, a certain well-known bakery chain caused outcry when it increased the price of its sausage roll by 5p, but that didn’t deter fans – with sales of 2.5 million sausage rolls a week, the sausage roll is still the store’s biggest earner.

The popularity of the sausage roll is something we see at Warner’s Budgens too – whether it’s a top notch, locally-made version or an own-brand, cheap and cheerful one, the sausage roll is, without a doubt, our best-selling ‘on the go’ item.

There are many reasons why the sausage roll is so appealing. The comforting combo of hot pastry and sausage, the convenience of a snack that you can grab on the go and all this without breaking the bank. Of course, sausage rolls vary greatly in quality and while this may be reflected in price, even those with a high meat content and proper buttery pastry are still affordable. Done well, with handmade pastry and top quality meat, they are a meal in their own right, a meal you can pick up at a variety of Cotswold-based outlets, whether that’s farm shops, farmers’ markets or direct from the butchers.

One of the best sausage rolls I’ve had is from The Cotswold Farmer. Made with their best-selling Farmhouse Gold sausages, and encased in handmade, buttery, flaky pastry these sausage rolls literally fly off the shelves at Warner’s Budgens.

At Gloucester Services, Cinderhill Farm sausage rolls have a huge following, and the popularity of their Forest Ridgeback wild boar sausage roll sees people braving the M5 on a busy Friday afternoon to get their fix. The home-made sausage rolls at the Jolly Nice farm shop near Stroud featured in a recent ‘Gloucestershire’s tastiest sausage rolls’ top ten thanks to the rolls’ tasty Gloucester old spot filling, fresh from pigs that cavort free-range on the family’s farm.

No matter what next year’s food trends are predicted to be, with great products like these on our doorstep, the popularity of the sausage roll will only increase. So, while the trend-setters try to make a meal of legumes and lentils in 2018, I’ll be happily exploring the Cotswolds’ growing sausage roll could say I’m rather on a roll – sorry, couldn’t resist!

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Where to find superior sausage rolls in the Cotswolds

The Cotswold Farmer: made using the legendary Farmhouse Gold sausages, the Cotswold Farmer’s sausage rolls are their number one selling deli item. The filling is made from quality cuts of meat including shoulder and belly pork, encased by hand-made flaky pastry. Available from Warner’s Budgens stores.

Cinderhill Farm: this idyllic farm near the Forest of Dean is run according to eco-friendly principles and follows the spirit of the Slow Food movement. The luxury sausage rolls include pork made from real meat joints from the farm’s British saddleback pigs as well as the celebrated wild boar sausage roll. Available from the M5 Gloucester Services.

Jolly Nice: located between Stroud and Cirencester, this former filling station is now a thriving farm shop, café and butcher’s, selling local and home-made produce, including the immense, home-made sausage rolls with their tasty Gloucester old spot filling. Available at the Jolly Nice farm shop, Frampton Mansell.

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.

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