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Black puddings are set for a makeover with chilli, gluten-free and even vegetarian versions

PUBLISHED: 15:04 02 February 2015 | UPDATED: 19:29 24 April 2016

Selection;  White Pudding with Apricots;  Traditional Irish White Pudding;  Chilli Black Pudding and Black and White Pudding Roulade

Selection; White Pudding with Apricots; Traditional Irish White Pudding; Chilli Black Pudding and Black and White Pudding Roulade

Archant

Black puddings are old favourites but they are set for a new beginning, as Paul Mackenzie reports

M.D. Andy Holt with some champion puddings M.D. Andy Holt with some champion puddings

They are among the most traditional items on the Lancashire menu but black puddings are not what they used to be. Andrew Holt, who has led the resurgence of the black pudding for more than two decades, is planning exciting new developments for 2015.

In the 21 years Andrew has run the Real Lancashire Black Pudding Company, his traditional Bury black pudding has remained true to its 19th century recipe but he has also introduced white, vegetarian and gluten free versions, as well as puddings flavoured with everything from festive spices to chilli. And a newly built facility at his factory in Haslingden will allow him to innovate even more.

‘We have always prided ourselves on being innovative, even though it’s a traditional product,’ he said. ‘We have built a little factory inside the factory. It means I can make small quantities of new flavours and take them to markets to see what response they get. It’s what I love to do, messing about with different things and experimenting and now I’ve got the space to do it in.

Real Lancashire Black Puddings at Haslingden Real Lancashire Black Puddings at Haslingden

‘The little factory area has a walk-in fridge, packing area and a little production area. It’s like going back to where we started in a way, but it’s not a step back. It’s something we need to do to enhance our reputation as being the best.

‘It means we can make products for farmers’ markets in small quantities and do work with chefs on creating bespoke products. I’d like to get chefs here and talk to them about what they want and see what we can develop together. The next time they are changing their menu we can look at creating a seasonal black pudding for them.

‘We have also made a little studio kitchen where we want to start filming and putting recipes on You Tube and other social media sites.

‘We want to involve other local food businesses too and could develop recipe ideas using both our products. We are trying to keep our image of being innovative and traditional.’

When he took over the business in the mid-1990s Andrew was told the market for black puddings was dwindling, his customers were elderly and demand would die out. But a series of new developments and a surge of interest in regional foods have contributed a revival of the dish and his company is now seeing ten per cent growth year on year and he is planning to take on five more staff by the end of this month.

‘I think we have contributed a hell of a lot to bringing black pudding back in vogue,’ Andrew said. ‘My first job after school was making sausages. There were three types of sausage we made: pork, beef and pork and beef, then we got quite exotic and added Lincolnshire and Cumberland but now if you go in any supermarket or good butcher’s shop there’s a massive range of sausages and some of them are really quite exotic. I’m hoping black pudding will go along the same lines.

‘It’s often on the menu in fancy restaurants now and we are constantly emphasising the versatility of it, it’s not just a snack or a breakfast, it’s an ingredient.’

But for all Andrew’s obvious passion for puddings, aren’t they still just a bit, well, icky? Not at all, said Andrew. ‘There is still a misconception that it’s full of junk – years ago butchers used up bits of stuff they had left over to make black puddings with, but we only make black puddings so we don’t have stuff left over. There’s nothing in there that most people don’t eat on a regular basis, apart from the blood but that’s a commodity that’s often wasted and it’s good for you.’

He is particularly fond of the chilli black pudding with scrambled eggs but for anyone new to black puddings he suggests adding it to a stew or pie. ‘Black pudding lasagne is good and it’s really good with fruit too ,’ he said. ‘Black pudding and apple sauce is lovely but it can be used in so many ways, the possibilities are endless.’

For more recipe ideas go online to reallancashireblackpuddings.co.uk

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