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Fortnum & Mason - Breakfast Banger

sausage of the week By: Fortnum & Mason

A long, long time ago Fortnum & Mason was the place for the gentry to send the butler shopping. As well as the hampers they sold all the food a well heeled Lady or Gentleman could desire. Things changed and they descended into over priced biscuit and tea caddy purgatory.

Things have recently changed and Fortnums now has 2 floors devoted to food. The ground floor still sells over priced biscuits, tea, coffee, and chocolates. But down below in the basement is a new food hall. This is a very expensive, high quality food. There is a cheese counter (offering tastings of new season Vacherin when I visited before Christmas), a fish counter, a cooked meat counter (several tempting chorizo) and a fresh meat counter. This has an artful display of superb cuts backed by special fridges containing black, dry aged beef ribs. Probably 3 or 4 weeks old and costing as much as small car.

They also sell olive oil, jams, fruit and veg, wine etc. The food is a mixture of own brands (I''''m sure the own brand Cumberland Sauce is made by Tracklements) and quality brands. Unless you are super rich its the type of place where you go to gawp and perhaps buy a few things (a jar of jam cost 7).

The fresh meat counter was typically artful, instead of a vulgar pile of sausages we have a careful arrangement of a half dozen or so. I purchased a pound of the Breakfast Bangers for an expensive 9 per kilo (well this is Piccadilly). They also offered 2 or 3 other flavours and bacon.

All was well until I asked the assistant about the sausages. Surely with all this top quality food they would be pleased to discuss where it came from, the meat used, the provenance etc? The assistant was fresh out of model school and didnt know much. He asked the ''''Meat Buyer'''' (a stylish lady who did not look like your typical meat butcher). By now there was 2 or 3 other customers waiting to be served and waiting to hear about my sausages. The assistant scurried back and told me that...he was not able to tell me anything. Nothing, not a sausage - no provenance, no history, no pride.

I really wanted to hate the sausages after that. Back home I asked my man servant to lightly fry my sausages. They cooked superbly - no spitting, no fat leakage, no splitting. 5 beautiful sausages awaited our damnation. Inside the meat was chopped, not minced, it was arrayed in parallel lines inside the sausage and could be pulled apart into strands. There was a fair amount of pepper and a couple of splodges where the spices had not been properly mixed with the meat (tsk tsk).

The taste was sublime, one of the best bangers I have ever tried. It was the perfect combination of a 100% meat continental sausage and a British banger. Each micro strand of meat was packed with flavour, a real ''''Sunday lunch'''' taste and a good pepper kick. Next time I find myself in London I will try every sausage they sell.

The score? It could have been 10 but sadly the lack of information (why?) means only a 9 on our scoring system. Come on Fortnums - with a product this good why are you so shy?

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