Spring Lamb Masterclass with The Butchers at Darts Farm – by Lauren Heath


Last week we attended a Spring Lamb Masterclass hosted by The Butchers at Darts Farm. It is run by two brothers, Alastair and Philip David,  who are Master Butchers.

Having arrived about 5 to 10 mins early to find that actually we were just about the last ones there, and worried we had got the time wrong, we were greeted by friendly faces and offered a glass of wine. We quickly settled in our seats amongst a great turnout of almost 40 other guests, facing the butcher counter, and were immediately offered some lamb and mint sausages to taste. A good start.

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Alastair explained that they have bought from around 600 farms locally over time but that he chooses his meat at the weekly wholesale market rather than at an individual local farm as he can see the quality of the whole stock on offer. They purchase anywhere between 30 and 120 lambs a week, with the latter being around Easter time. He recently judged the spring lambs at Sedgemoor Easter Lamb Show & Sale, choosing the champion pair from PG & K Smith of Crossland Farm, Taunton and proceeded to bid hard and buy them.

After explaining the differences between the carcasses hanging up behind him, he chose one of these award winning lambs to use for the evening.

Over the course of an hour and 15 minutes, he cut the whole meat carcass up, explaining the various cuts and what you could do with them. Whilst doing this he also indicated the price of the piece he had cut which was really helpful. He made up an easy-carve leg of lamb, chump chop with the bone in, stuffed shoulders with various fillings and finished with a show-stopping crown of lamb. You could even purchase the meat he had prepared at the end.

We each had a leaflet with 3 recipes on, and a ‘know your lamb cuts?’ diagram with a matching list with space for writing ideas on which was really useful.

During the talk, more meat was passed round which was delicious but it wasn’t always clear what was on offer, as this was whilst Alastair was still talking about what was in hand, and not necessarily on the platter.

Unfortunately, due to the butchery table being level with the seating and the fact we were in the back row, we and a few others ended up standing for about an hour in order to see what Alastair was cutting on his block up at the front and this was a shame – perhaps they could rethink the layout for future events.

Overall, as an evening event that is just short of 2 hours, priced at £10 per person including a glass of wine and a few tasters, it is an affordable event and you can certainly pick up a few tips for future meals and entertaining ideas. Questions were welcomed and happily answered.

As well as serving you over the counter, they offer nationwide home delivery which we didn’t realise. As well as being on Twitter and Facebook, they have their own website http://www.thebutchersatdartsfarm.co.uk/

Further events an be found at http://www.dartsfarm.co.uk/events.html

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