A few weeks ago we noticed one of the many ‘farmy-shop’ signs you pass along the A-Roads of Great Britain, this time on the A40. Usually I exclaim some sort of ‘ooh’ and then pull a muscle in my neck trying to crane a look, as the husband pretends not to hear me and puts his foot down. Anyway, on this occasion he slammed into a handbrake-style turn and skidded off onto a little country lane, taking us to the ‘Upton Smokery’.
I think my obsession with smoked food is a remnant of my cigarette loving past. It’s the nearest thing to a Marlboro Light I can indulge in nowadays…that’s how rock and roll I am.
Anyway the Upton Smokery is a brilliant, money-sapping speciality deli kind of place where they smoke anything smokable on site. All the meats, all the fish, all the cheese, all the…garlic…you get the picture. They also stock really well selected wines, oils, vinegars (and so on) that you’d never usually buy but do because you get carried away with the poshness of it all.
But THE most exciting thing for me about the ‘Upton Smokery’ is that they also sell signal crayfish.
These are the aggressive little buggers, native to North America, that were imported from Sweden in the 1970’s to supply the Scandinavian food market. They then went on to disease-up our native crayfish, wreak havoc on riverbanks and stuff their faces with our fish and their eggs. They are seriously bad news and the best way forward is to catch, boil and eat as many of them as possible (with mayonnaise).
Upton Smokery do the catching and boiling bit and then sell them for £10 a kilo, which is the amount shown in the picture. They are delicious and ethically awesome.