Handmade with locally sourced, quality meat and melt-in-the-mouth pastry by Mrs King’s
“Some like it hot,” says Zoe of Mrs King’s Pork Pies—referring, we hasten to add, not to Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe, but to fans of the stall’s sausage rolls, which are handmade in Nottinghamshire. “Some like it cold,” she continues, soberly. Those who do take a dim view of the former group; they, in turn, “cannot understand the cold people”. In short, the temperature of sausage rolls is up there with sugar in tea as one of Britain’s many culinary fault lines.
There is one area of common ground, however: regardless of how hot it is, a sausage roll handmade with good ingredients is better than a manufactured one—free range pork, handmade into sausages, must be better than a paste bulked out with palm oil, yeast extract and ‘flavourings’, and the puff pastry found enveloping the sausages Mrs King’s and their artisanal ilk use is superior to anything you’ll find in supermarkets, both in texture and in taste.
“They’re handmade, and they’re really fresh. That’s all there is to it,” says Zoe. She shrugs when we pursue our point, determined to discover how mere pork and pastry could be so sumptuous. “The simplest things are often the most delicious. I’ve customers who have been having them for years then when they have children, they bring their toddlers along to eat them too. They go abroad, and when they come back it’s the first thing they eat,” Zoe grins. “There’s not really much else to say.”
Melts like a sigh
Maybe it’s herbs in the pork that’s captured their fan base? “No, it’s just salt, pepper, and high welfare pork from local farmers.” We wonder if the pastry, which puffs and melts like a sigh as you bite, has suet, or lard in the mixture—a secret of many grandmothers. “In fact, the pastry’s vegetarian. It’s all butter.”
For the carnivores in the team, this came as a mild surprise; for the vegetarians, it was a clarion call. Underneath it was still meat—but as Joe E Brown concluded when Jack Lemmon announced he was a man: nobody’s perfect.