Borough Market, Southwark, London, United Kingdom
While searching for a small sweet treat to round off a lunch of two sausage rolls, plus a beef and stilton pie which I found at another stall in London’s Borough Market, I happened across the stall belonging to Ginger Pig. This was a butcher, selling all manner of cuts of pork and pork products such as sausages, black puddings, and pork pies. But besides this meat designed to take home and cook or eat later, they also had sitting on the counter a tray containing a glowing golden treasure: four large, plump, delicious looking sausage rolls.
Drawn inevitably to this promise of culinary wonder, I saw that they had a warming oven behind the counter, and several enormous sausage rolls therein. A sign proclaimed that they came in two varieties: pork, and pork and stilton! Unfortunately, I was almost full already, and was thrown into a horrible quandary: to sample one of these delectable looking rolls, or to skip them and seek a thin slice of cake or tart. Because these rolls were not merely plump, they were truly fat. Big and chunky. Compared to the previous rolls from Northfield Farm and Boston Sausage, which cost £1.50 and £1 respectively, these cost £4 each – but they looked worth it, they were so big.
After some deliberation, I discarded any thought of a dessert and resolved to try one of these monster sausage rolls. I flirted briefly with the idea of the pork and stilton, but decided the fairest test would be the standard pork roll. I ordered one from the man and he handed it to me wrapped in a sheet of greaseproof paper. I retired to a nearby pillar support which provided enough of a flat surface to sit on, joining a lunch crowd of others enjoying meals from the various market stalls.
The roll was no less impressive sitting in my hand, its massive size dominating the local vicinity, not only in appearance but also gravitationally. It almost sucked in light. It’s possibly the heftiest sausage roll I have ever lifted. The pastry was thick and pressed together along both sides of the roll, almost like a pastie. It was a deep, rich golden brown colour, baked well and glazed with egg wash, with some minor evidence of crunchy little burnt bits on the ends.
Biting into the massive roll is an overwhelming experience. The meat is hot and juicy, coarsely minced and very solidly pressed together. Not only is it huge and heavy, it’s also dense. And it’s delicious. The pork mince has tiny flecks of black pepper throughout, as well as a generous sprinkle of fresh green herbs. It’s spicy and beautifully seasoned. The pastry is pleasingly flaky and crisp on the outside, but its thickness means the inner layers are a little stodgy. But this is a fairly minor quibble. My biggest problem is that my stomach is too full by the time I get halfway through it to continue, and that it’s still so good that I want to keep going… but ultimately I can’t finish it. If you get one of these babies, make sure you don’t have two other sausage rolls beforehand.
Traditional pork sausage roll: 9/10