Have you ever wanted to know what goes in to creating the Pig hotels?
This book is at least part of the answer. The second book from Robin Hutson and the Pig team is part manual for what Hutson calls the millions of details that make up the Pig properties, and part love letter to the artisans and employees who make the magic happen.
The book charts a 500-mile journey from Harlyn Bay in Cornwall to the Pig at Bridge Place in Canterbury, taking in all the other Pig properties along the way. It dedicates a chapter to each county, featuring the artisans, characters, traditions and flavours in the region that feed into the Pig properties.
We start in the south west, where Hutson describes the history of Harlyn House and how he came to acquire the property that "is close to our hearts". The chapter also introduces Johnny Murt, a third-generation fisherman from Padstow, who supplies lobsters for the lobster harlyn, the recipe for which is also shared.
Pheasants are the focus in Devon, where we meet farmers Harry and Emily Boglione, who supply the Pig at Combe and share the group's desire to operate sustainably. The connection with the environment and local communities is a theme that runs throughout this weighty tome, which was self-published and used printers in Sussex and paper from Scotland to reduce its environmental impact.
There are plenty of recipes to inspire, featuring produce from showcased suppliers, such as Newton Farm pork chop from Somerset, wood pigeon and vegetables from Hampshire, and baked batter pudding with cherries and Kentish farm yogurt. But though the mouth-watering yet unfussy dishes are enticing, it's the characters forming the extended Pig family that make this book so interesting.
So if you are looking for a few of the million details that make up the tapestry of the hotel group, like who builds the outdoor huts or supplies the recycled sari lampshades, this book is a fascinating insight into the DNA of the Pig.
The Pig: 500 Miles of Food Friends and Local Legends by Robin Huston and the Pig team (HB, £30)
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