England | Black PuddingAlso known as: Blood Sausage, Blood Pudding, Blood Cake
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European monks are generally credited with bringing black pudding into England, firstly to Yorkshire and then over the Pennines to Lancashire. It was originally known as “Blutwurst” (Blood Sausage) which over the years has become Black pudding. It became popular across England from the middle ages.
It was also food fit for the nobility and the extravagant breakfast banquets held by King Henry VIII at Hampton Court notably included black pudding on the menu, perhaps because it was a favourite a King who was renowned for his love of food.” 1 – TEBS
The traditional English Black Pudding consists of oatmeal / pearl barley, onions, pork fat, pig’s blood, herbs and seasoning. It is the herbs, notably pennyroyal, that most characterised English black puddings; it is the inclusion of herbs that separates English Black pudding from European versions, particularly the far creamier French variety [Boudin Noir].
Black Pudding is generally grilled or fried to heat through. Depending on personal preference, cooking for 3 – 4 minutes on each side is sufficient allowing for a crisp exterior and a softer centre. Most [purchased] puddings are already cooked, having been boiled or steamed, so can be eaten cold.
It is most commonly associated as an integral part of a ‘Full English’ breakfast. Black pudding is the “new food” in English cooking with many high level chefs including black pudding in their dishes, with recipes created across the menu board; starters, salads, pasta dishes, casseroles, meat accompaniment and even desserts.
Black pudding is seen to be more popular in the north of the England rather than the south. Most notably Bury in Lancashire (where local butchers sought to demonstrate their history of manufacturing and selling the product) but also across the Pennines in Yorkshire. Historians believe the first ‘commercial’ Bury Black Pudding was made and sold at Casewell’s Pudding Shop on Union Street, Bury in 1810.
Also regarded as a traditional centre of black pudding making is Dudley in the Black Country.
The tradition of a ‘Full English’ breakfast has been ‘exported’ overseas courtesy of the British citizens and Expatriates who migrated to, especially, New Zealand and Canada, where black pudding has now become part of the local cuisine.
A quirky fact, but it is not all about the eating of black pudding. The town of Ramsbottom in Lancashire is home to internationally famous World Black Pudding Throwing Championships, a fun day for black pudding lovers, where not surprisingly black pudding is also on the menu. The tradition supposedly goes back to the battle at Stubbins in Lancashire between the House of Lancaster and the House of York in 1455. Local legend has it that the troops ran out of ammunition and so resorted to throwing food at each other – black puddings from Lancashire and Yorkshire puddings from Yorkshire.
There are a large number of English Producers of black pudding however many of them are artisan, farmers or local butchers. It is therefore only consumers in the local region that have the opportunity to sample their puddings. Whilst many black puddings are produced based on a traditional recipe, each producer has their own unique twist in terms on the ingredient combination especially with regard the herbs and [spice] seasoning.
There are a handful of National brands, with the general consumer readily finding these available on the supermarket shelves.
Meet the Producers
We are running a series of feature articles with Q&A which now include the following producers:
To be researched