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Mar 30, 2013 03:06 PM

In this weekend's FT: "Five of the best: British butchers"

They are:

Aubrey Allen, Leamington Spa
Elite Meat, Harrogate
Crombies of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
C. Lidgate, London
M. Newitt & Sons, Thame

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  1. I'm surprised not to see Mettrick's, of Glossop Derbyshire, on that list.

    Their meat is all local. They collect it from the farms, slaughter the animals themselves and, of course, then butcher it.

    There can't be many places in the country that offer that level of commitment to quality. For folks not in the immediate area of the shop, they sell online

    8 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      I saw another list yesterday (in the Telegraph I think) that purported to show how much value a good local foodie scene can add to the value of your property.

      What struck me was it was more likely that the good food scenes had more to do with the affluence in the area rather affluence following food. So a desirable town with high property prices will mean the residents can afford to eat out and shop at farmers markets, so producers follow the money not the other way around.

      This list strikes me as much the same. They are only "known" and reported on because they are in the affluent areas rather than the great butchers in the back and beyond or less salubrious areas.

      1. re: PhilD

        I'm not disputing your theory, Phil (or trying to brag), but I live in a very affluent area and the food scene here is abysmal. I've never been able to figure that out, but we have to travel quite a distance to find what I would call good dining.

        There are some farmers markets but they are scarce, too. We went to a new one the other day that's opened at Denbie's Vineyard (Dorking). It had some good produce at not bad prices, plus the usual jams, breads, meats etc. But... there really wasn't that much on offer - probably too early in the season.

        1. re: PhilD

          I'd generally echo June's comment. Perhaps the biggest foody locality in Greater Manchester is the south Manchester suburb of Chorlton. Very good food shopping including the butcher that always gets mentioned by foodies in the metro area (Frost's). It is not a wealthy area - semis and Victorian terraces house the likes of teachers and social workers. I think that once there's a food culture starting to grow, it becomes easier for new shops to open and establish.

          By contrast, the north Cheshire village of Alderley Edge is an exceptionally wealthy area (I read some time ago it has the UK's largest concentration of Ferraris). Until recently, there were two butchers - one a fairly traditional business, the other very much up market, with high quality meats, etc. It's now closed and the cheaper place is doing excellent business. And, yes, I'm surprised it was that one that survived.

          1. re: Harters

            I talked to DH about this topic whilst we were out trying to take a walk today at Box HIll... so crowded with bikers and people that we headed elsewhere.

            His thought was that perhaps where we live in just too close to London and that accounts for the lack of better eating choices. I really wonder.

            1. re: zuriga1

              I was going to say you are probably suffering the London effect where most of the punters probably work "in the smoke" so eat after work close to the office.

            2. re: Harters

              John - I agree its not a perfect correlation and maybe is less strong in the areas near big cities where people commute into town. I wonder if the big cities have trendy foodie populations that stimulate the Brixtons, Shoreditches, and Chorlton's of this world. Whilst the cute country towns have the monied weekend food supplement readership filling the Cath Kidson bags and pushing up prices.

              I used to live in Bath and the food scene there was average at best. Some good things to buy but (for the affluence of the city) the restaurant scene was woeful. If I had adopted your 60 minute rule we would have stopped trying new places after 3 months....!

            3. re: PhilD

              Belgravia has the nicest Waitrose in the UK if that means anything (it doesn't).

            4. re: Harters

              I suppose that's what they refer to their lists as "Five of the Best," as opposed to The Five Best.

              I suspect the FT panders to places where their readers would most likely find themselves, as opposed to what is truly the best of the best. Their fish and chips list included locations in London, which to my understanding are not among the best in the country.

              All that said, I find it hard to believe a better butcher than Allen's in Mayfair exists anywhere in the UK. Exorbitant pricing, but seriously good meat in a beautiful locale. I've always loved the Ginger Pig as well, and am amazed that they raise, slaughter and sell all of their own meat -- its not a concept you'll find many other places in the world.