22 October 1999

Saucy pork lifts top pub prize

ROAST pork with apple sauce is a classic combination and a tasty twist on this theme has scooped the Pork Pub Dish of the Year Award and £1000 for Peter and Denise McCarters pub, the Ratcatchers Inn.

The pork served at the Ratcatchers Inn has to be good and it has to be British for this rural pub at Eastgate, Cawston, Norfolk is in the heart of one of Britains prime pig producing areas.

"We have up to five pork dishes a week on the menu," says Peter McCarter, who buys all the pork from a local butcher – Mayhew Clark. He can offer full traceability, an important consideration when local farmers come in and say: "I hope this is British, Boy."

For the competition the inns head chef Robert Tuttle wrapped pork fillets with dry cured bacon before roasting and served them with a cider and honey sauce and a piquant warm apple compote. This wonderfully tasty dish tickled celebrity chef Tony Tobins taste buds and he judged the dish "a great combination of sweet and sour flavours". Mr Tobin, who always buys British pork escallopes for the dishes served in his 11 Italian restaurants, said that until his involvement with the competition, which was sponsored by the Cotswold Pig Development Company, he, like many others in the catering industry, was unaware of the current pressures that pig producers were suffering.

"An increasing number of meals are being eaten out in pubs and our aim is to encourage more of them to serve British pork, " said Reg Joseph, Cotswolds director of home market operations. And that is cheering news for producers and diners alike.